Maps and schemes

Map of Specially Protected Natural Territories (SPNT) of Belarus

Map of Specially Protected Natural Territories in Belarus
Map of Specially Protected
Natural Territories in Belarus
1. Berezinski Biosphere Reserve, located 120 kms north of the Byelorussian capital Minsk
2. Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park, located 340 kms west of Minsk
3. Braslav Lakes National Park, located 250 kms north of Minsk
4. Narochanski National Park, located 150 kms north of Minsk
5. Pripyatski National Park, located 260 kms south of Minsk

According to the national classification currently four National Parks and one Biosphere Reserve are recognized in Belarus. They cover a total area of over 400,000 hectares, which makes up about 2 % of the territory of the Republic. The Braslav Lakes National Park (69,000 ha) and the Narochanski National Park (94,000 ha) were created in recent years; in 1995 and 1999 respectively. In prior to that these areas served economic and agricultural goals. The other National Parks - Belovezhskaya Pushcha and Pripyatski - have a long history as protected areas and are covered by types of protection other than Specially Protected Natural Territory (SPNT), e.g. as State Reserve and State Protected Game Ground. However, more recently the territories under protection have been enlarged considerably and their functions have been extended.

On January 1, 2001 one Biosphere Reserve, four National Parks, ninety four Reserves of nationwide importance, and 458 Reserves of local importance were located in the Republic of Belarus. The total surface of natural territories under legal and primary protection added to 1,579,000 hectares or 7.6 % of the country's surface. These numbers show a tendency of steady, progressive growth. While in 1995 the area of Specially Protected Natural Territories in Belarus covered 794,000 hectares or 3.8 % of the country, in 2000 its surface reached 1,508,000 hectares, cover 7.3 % of the land. According to a scheme of the perspective development of Specially Protected Natural Territories enlargement of legally protected natural areas is planned to cover a surface of 1,766,000 thousand ha in 2005 or 8.5 % of the territory of the Republic of Belarus.

Localization and size of Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park

Scheme of Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park
Scheme of
Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park

Belovezhskaya Pushcha makes up one of the largest lowland forest in the Middle of Europe; the more when the Polish part of the forest is taken into account. The Belarussian part extents an area covered by forests from east to west for 8 to 34 kms, while from the north to the south this distance is 51 kms. Until recently the National Park covered an area of 87,600 hectares of afforested lands (77,800 ha or 88.8 %) and open lands (9,800 ha or 11.2 %). Currently the surface of Belovezhskaya Pushcha covers an area of over 120,000 hectares. A number of valuable objects with specific ecological values were added to the National Park, amongst which the bog area Dikoye and the Shereshevskoye forestry department etc.

The Administrative Centre of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park is situated in the village of Kamenyuki, at 20 kms north of the District center Kamenetz and 60 km north of the Regional centre of Brest.

The territory of Belovezhskaya Pushcha has been divided into four functional zones in which the level of protection varies.

Zoning scheme of Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park

Zoning scheme of Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park since 2004
Zoning scheme of the
Belovezhskaya Pushcha National
Park (since 2004)

Wilderness Protection Zone (Core zone) - 30,000 ha or 18.3% (15,677 ha or 16.3% before 2004) of the territory. This Zone strictly protect all areas covered by intact and wild natural communities. The Wilderness Protection Zone serves as a reserve of genetic resources of plants and animals (a gene pool) and as an entirely natural area. As such this zone functions an important reference to full natural circumstances and fully natural growth. The area is managed in order to create conditions for natural development of complexes of the forest and vegetation and its components. This Zone primarily exists of indigenous old-growth coniferous and deciduous forests. No activities other than scientific research are allowed to be practised within this Zone. As such commercial and economic projects may not be executed here.

Regulated Nature Zone - 52,780 ha or 32.3% (65,175 ha or 67.8% before 2004). This Zone serves as an object for study, for preservation and as an area in which restoration of ecosystems that are characteristic for Belovezhskaya Pushcha as well as utilization for reproduction and rational use of natural resources. All activities within this Zone should provide optimal conditions for sustainable development of natural complexes, implementating scientifically-orientated arrangements on nature conservation as well. Ecotourism is allowed under control of official guides of the National Park.

Regulated Recreational Use Area - 6,140 ha or 3.8% (10,732 ha or 11.1% before 2004). The purpose of this area is to encourage tourism and recreation, to implement measures focusing on the aspects of culture, leisure and health-recovery and on study of the impact of recreational pressure upon ecosystems. Nature conservation and economic activities should be aimed at the preservation and, to a certain extent, reconditioning of forest landscapes and water bodies for recreational and educational purposes. Admittance is either free or guided.

Economic Activity Zone - 74,580 ha or 45.6% (4,614 ha or 4.8% before 2004). This area is designated for locating and operating administrative, productive and recreational staff and facilities, to host and serve tourists, for residential purposes and to serve the economic activities of the local population. There are no restrictions on access for citizens or tourists.

* The area of each zone (and their cover in percent) as on January 1, 2000.

Zoning scheme of Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park before 2004
Zoning scheme of
Belovezhskaya Pushcha National
Park (before 2004)

In addition, a Support (or Buffer) Zone is established encircling the Pushcha, of some 90,000 ha (before 2004). These lands are in the possession of private and collective users, but a number of limitations on economic activity are imposed. This Zone is designated to mitigate against possible damage caused to nature complexes and sites of the National Park by economic activities on adjacent lands. A substantial increase in the total area of the National Park by the addition of ecologically valuable and important lands has been the most significant factor in the recent years. Primarily, this has added the hydrological sanctuary Dikoye Bog (a swampy area of European importance of 7.539 ha) and the Shershevskoye Forestry administration, Pruzhany District (13.3 ha). The latter area is the base of the Shershevskoye Forestry and Game Ground of a trophy specialization.

Belovezhskaya Pushcha as a transboundary reserve

The Belovezhskaya Pushcha is
the transboundary reserve

The Belovezhskaya Pushcha is a transboundary reserve. The forest is situated at the border of the Republic of Poland. This frontier divided Belovezhskaya Pushcha into two parts has been set after World War II; until that time the forest was located entirely within Poland. Nowadays the Belarussian part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park covers over 120,000 hectares, including the forestry administration of Shershevskoye and Game Grounds.

The Polish part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha (pronounced Puszcza Bialowieska in Polish) equals 62,500 hectares. However, a minor part of the forest is sufficiently protected as a natural territory. Bialowieza National Park covers 10,501.95 hectares of which 4747 hectares are under strict protection.

Since 1992 this strictly protected area of the park and a part of the Belarussian State National Park Belovezhskaya Pushcha, covering 4,500 hectares, have been recognized as a Polish-Belarussian cross-border World Heritage Site. Since 1994 the forests of Bialowieza other than the National Park have been granted the status of Promotional Forest Complex "Bialowieza Forest". Within forests of this type the Polish State Forestry Department adopts sustainable forest management. It implies that management points at the preservation of natural biodiversity of the forests natural ecosystems. 20 nature reserves, that cover 3,430 hectares, have been erected so far. Two of them are under strict protection; a forest area near Siemianoka and, to a certain extent, Michnowka. About 1,200 trees within Bialowieza Forest are protected as nature monuments.

Zoning of Bialowieza National Park (Poland)

Zoning of Bialowieza National Park (Poland)
Zoning of Bialowieza National Park

The oldest national Park in Poland started in 1921 and got protected as a natural reserve. It meets all requirements made in criteria for areas protected according to category II (National Park) of the IUCN standards. Bialowieza National Park was granted the status of World Biosphere Reserve in 1977 and World Heritage Site in 1979. A buffer zone of 3,224 hectares surrounds the National Park. This zone exists entirely of forested areas that are under supervision of the superintendence of Bialowieza and Browsk. Other buffer zones have been located around the villages of Bialowieza, Pogorzelce and Masiewo. Potential threats could reach the National Park from these places.

In 1997 Bialowieza National Park has been distinguished with the honorable European Diploma for the outstanding management of its "vegetation", which is of primeval origin.

Since 1994 the forests of Bialowieza other than the National Park have been granted the status of Promotional Forest Complex "Bialowieza Forest".

More about the Belovezhskaya Pushcha

[History] [Geographical location and general information] [Climate, hydrology, geology and geomorphology] [Soils] [Flora and vegetation] [Fauna] [National Park's structure] [Protection] [Science and research] [Cultural monuments and tourism] [Belarusian Grandfather Frost's Residence] [Economic activity] [Maps and schemes]