Reclamation work on the adjacent territories to Belovezhskaya Pushcha, 2008-2009

Violations: Articles 26 and 27 of Belarus' Specially Protected Wilderness Territories and Sites Act; the water stream conditions in the area; the environmental balance within the protected forest.

Events, facts, documents and evidence: Drying land improvement is the factor, perhaps, causing the biggest damage to the natural ecosystems and to biodiversity of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Lowering the level of subsoil waters after the large-scale land improvement in 1950's to 1970's is considered the main reason from which forests of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, first of all its spruce stands suffer and perish. Tens of publications (1, 2, 3, 4) describe this point, and the necessity of overcoming the consequences of land improvement and restoration of the hydrological situation changed.

Unfortunately, except for words, almost nothing as practical steps is done for this purpose. Moreover, reclamation works are conducted until now in the buffer zone of the national park to maintain the drainage system, to keep it in a good working condition and to deepen the drainage cannels. It is doing despite the fact that the territory of the national park was enlarged in 2004 almost twice as much, so the control over the buffer zone should be strengthened.

The photos below show that reclamation works on clearing and deepening the drainage cannels are conducted on low-lying lands (the former bogs and wetlands) near the southern outskirt of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Moreover, new lateral cannels for the better drainage of agricultural lands are dug. The lands are in use of the agriculture enterprise "Open-Joint-Stock Company "Kamenetskaya Pushcha".

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(Reclamation works; March 27, 2009)