from the Property Management Department of the President of the Republic of Belarus on the letter of the editorial team of the newspaper "World of Animals"

October 31, 2005
No 22-12/105-281

On the situation in the forests
of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"

The Property Management Department of the President of the Republic of Belarus, having considered the appeal of the Institution "The Newspaper Editorial Office "World of Animals" on activity of the State Nature Protection Institution (SNPI) "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", informs the following.

The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" faced serious and scale problems last years. Mass outbreak of bark beetles in 2001-2003 years and two hurricanes in 2002 have put large ecological and economic damage both to woods of Belovezhskaya Pushcha and the country. With the purposes to overcome consequences of these negative natural phenomena a range of organizational, technical, scientific and forest-management measures is carried out, taking into consideration the established reserved status, scientific recommendations and practical experience of realization of sanitary-improving measures. Equally with the landing trap-trees, use of pheromones and other ways, the paramount importance was given to localize the bark beetle centers and prevent their distribution to colonize healthy spruce trees by good-time felling of newly-populated trees that become a source of vermin to further spread.

As to annihilation of wood residuals, only those are burnt which are dangerous to the growing tree stands. So, wood residuals of coniferous species remained in the centers of wood vermin multiplication often become their food source and multiplication place. This can result deterioration of the sanitary conditions within old-aged tree stands of Pushcha and their premature disintegration. Apart from this, the annihilation of wood residuals in the centers forest dying is necessary to prevent wood fire occurrence.

As a whole, the carried out measures have allowed to considerably improve the sanitary condition of the forests of the National Park. The specified measures were conducted only in the Nature Regulated and Recreational Use Zones. In the Wilderness Protection Zone that locates the most valuable ecosystems, the only forest protection and scientific researches are conducted.

All sanitary-improving measures in the territory of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" including the selective and clear sanitary cuttings, and dead wood clearing are conducted in accordance with the Sanitary rules in woods of national parks of the Republic of Belarus that were developed by the Interdepartmental Centre of Problems of National Parks and Reserves of the Belarusian State University and authorized in prescribed manner. The plans and outcomes of realization of sanitary-improving measures within the area of Belovezhskaya Pushcha are regularly examined at the sessions of the Scientific and Technical Council of the State Nature Protection Institution "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", members of which are the leading scientists and experts of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection, national institutions of higher education universities, and representatives of the Bialowieza National Park (the Republic of Poland).

Since 2004 the scheduled overhaul of the tourist complex which consists of a Museum of nature, enclosures for wild animal, hotels and restaurant is conducted in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". Repair of a hotel and the restaurant has now been completed and works to reconstruct the Museum of nature and enclosures are in the progress.

In 1960-s some artificial reservoirs were created in Belovezhskaya Pushcha in order to preserve fish and water-marsh living bird fauna. To maintain good ecological conditions for these objects, appropriate hydraulic engineering measures are periodically conducted (once per ten to fifteen years). These measures are carried out on grounds of developed projects have out-departmental and ecological examinations in prescribed manner. Apart from this, conducting hydro-melioration works is coordinated with the State Inspection of Animal and Plant Protection at the President of the Republic of Belarus.

Placing new asphalt-covered roads in the territory of Belovezhskaya Pushcha is not conducted while reconstruction of existing tourist routes is only carried out according to developed projects which are sent to get appropriate examinations. To maintain roads in the proper conditions is necessary for civilized service of the tourists coming to the National Park. The similar practice is distributed in many European national parks including the Polish part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

According to the order of the President of the Republic of Belarus No 95rp issued on May 7, 2004, over forty thousand hectares of the lands were joined to the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" in 2004. According to the decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus No 460 "On the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" issued on September 27, 2004, the Regulation on the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" was ratified and description of the borders, area and structure of lands of the National Park was made, among them are the Wilderness Protection, Nature Regulated and Buffer zones. Moreover the area of the strict reserved zone has increased twice and reached thirty thousand hectares. For comparison, the area of the Bialowieza National Park (the Republic of Poland) makes about ten thousand hectares.

A scheduled forest inventory is now carried out in the woods of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". In 2006 - 2007, it is planned to develop a Project that will deal with the territorial structure and a Management Plan of this National Park. Furthermore preparation of appropriate documents for UNESCO concerning enlargement of the World Heritage Site, which area makes fife thousand hectares is in the progress.

Activity of the SNPI "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" is open in getting access for the public, with involvement of the leading forest scientists including foreign ones, practical experts dealing with the wood sector, representatives of the relevant ministries, departments and organizations, and the general public to discus critical topics arisen. The National Park's work results were studied by many international experts including representatives of UNESCO, International Union of Conservation of Nature, World Bank of Reconstruction and Development. All of them have given a positive appreciation of both the level of conservation of natural complexes of Belovezhskaya Pushcha and the management and protection efficiency of this ground.

Unfortunately, appeals of various public organizations and citizens as regards nature protection activity in Belovezhskaya Pushcha often have a unilateral negative orientation. There is an impression that the authors of these appeals are not always aware of the situation which has been usual in the National Park or they are initially inciting to negatively report about the activity of the SNPI "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha".

We hope that this kind of information will allow better understanding the real ecological situation that has been usual in the National Park. The Park does all possible for one's development, overcoming over consequences of natural calamities in accordance with the actual nature protection legislation, sanitary rules and in view of international practice.

The Manager of the Property Management Department of the President of the Republic of Belarus
A.N. Kulichkov

Executed by Molozhavskiy

(Published in the website of the newspaper "World of Animals", November 2005)

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