From the Introduction ... 'The vast territories of the Russian FF [forest fund] are characterized by a tremendous diversity of climate, soil, vegetation, and strength and peculiarities of anthropogenic impacts. The FF stretches through 11 time zones in the longitudinal direction, with the forests growing in ten vegetational zones and subzones -- from forest-tundra zone in the north to the semideserts in the south (Kurnaev 1973). The distribution of the FF, forest land, and forest area categories within these zones is summarized in Table 8.1. At least four major gradients drive the distribution, structure, and productivity of Russian forest: temperature, precipitation, aridity, and land use. The major part (about 80%) of the forest area category is situated in the taiga zone, and about 95% of Russian forests are boreal forests.' © 2000 Springer-Verlag New York, Inc.