- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
170

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
170
be so very much more difficult for this Siberian larch
to support the snow than it is for our spruce. It is
true that it often has large branches up near the top,
but, on the other hand, it sheds its needles in winter.
The Siberian spruce must also be more hardy
than ours, since it can grow here in such conditions.*
And then there is the Siberian cedar (pinus cembra),
which yields an extremely valuable wood for all kinds
of furniture and modelling work, as it does not warp
like most other woods, even fir and spruce. Besides
this, cedar-cones contain the edible cedar-nuts, which
are a source of income to many people in Siberia ; oil
is prepared from them. This tree can grow tall and
thick and luxuriant, with its long, bushy green needles,
even here on this frozen soil.
Here we can see how it is that the Siberian trees
drift to sea in such quantities. There are plenty of
them overhanging the river-bank. The flood water
undermines the bank, which slips into the river ; the
trees lose their hold with their spreading roots and fall.
Then the flood takes them next spring and carries them
out to sea, where they drift with the ice and are, perhaps,
finally east ashore somewhere on the coasts of the
Arctic Ocean, or drift right over to Greenland and
provide the Eskimo with the wood they require for
their boats and implements.
We saw many of the Yenisei-Ostiaks’ birch-bark
tents along the banks, especially on the low west side,
where I could count as many as eleven tents along the
river at one time ; they had come there to fish. I had
been wishing to see as much as possible of this mysterious
* Since my return our director of forests, Mr. Saxlund, has told
me that he particularly wishes to make experiments with the Siberian
spruce in Norway, as he thinks it must offer great advantages, even
more than the Siberian larch.

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