Violations: Articles 26 and 27 of Belarus' Specially Protected Wilderness Territories and Sites Act, Article 55 and 63 of the Forest Code of the Republic of Belarus; the environmental balance within the protected forest, and damaging the biological diversity.
Events, facts, documents and evidence: On February 27, 2002, a strong tornado scudded Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Within a few minutes 60,000 cubic meters of wood were destroyed as numerous trees broke or fell down, covering an area of 180 hectares. A line of forest four kilometers long and 200 to 400 meters wide was thrown down to earth within the forestry area of Korolevo-Mostovskoe. Two hundred year old pines were broken as if they were matches. One hundred old and huge spruces were torn upward from their roots. Many trees were thrown down in a way that looked like someone would have laid them out, forming lines of fallen trees and creating blockages that are impossibly passed by. Single pines escaped only here and there. Photos of the suffered site and its description in detail are accessible from the page "Hurricanes in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, February and July, 2002".
|(The forest destroyed by hurricane; квартал 708, 2002)|
After granting all necessary permissions, sanitary clear cutting of the killed forest on an area of 167 hectares was done in 2002. In addition, in autumn and winter of 2002, the administration of the national park has conducted clear cutting of the living, perfect, old-aged, spruce and pine forest on the windfall's border without permission and in conditions of secrecy and absence of the proper control (as it was to expand the border of the area of wind-fallen trees), as well as felling of numerous, very powerful pine trees of the age of 100 to 200 years withstood the storm's pressure. The purpose of that illegal cutting down was to harvest the commercial timber of the best quality.
|(Illegal clear cutting down of the living forest, compartment 708, December 21, 2002)|
Then, in 2003, works on grubbing up the stumps, clearing away and making the area flat were done. The stumps were moved to make big and long ground banks created in this way some sort of "Bambiza barrows" (Bambiza is the second name of the national park's director who managed these works) at the core of Belovezhskaya Pushcha for our descendants. Then deep furrows by tractors have been conducted and seedlings of pine and oak trees have been planted in strait lines. Thus, forestry managers have finally destroyed the big area (167 ha) of the Bialowieza Primeval Forest in the view of the wilderness protection science and our descendants can see the true wild primeval forest typical for the shape of Belovezhskaya Pushcha there not earlier than in 300 Ц 500 years! And that is only if no more economic activities will be provided within this area in the future.
|(The area grubbed out and prepared for plantations, compartment 708, 2003)|
Pay attention that bulldozers and stubbing machines could not cope with stumps of many huge and powerful pine trees of the age of 150 - 200 years with a very strong root system which were illegally cut down. Although being able to withstand the pressure of the terrible storm, they were killed from hands of woodcutters.
|(Stumps, compartment 708, May 31, 2003)|
A few years later the assessment of ecological changes and efficiency of the artificial afforistation was made at the area suffered from the hurricane.
The shots below show the area with pine plantations fenced by a netting to protect them from penetration wild ungulates which consume them. The growth and development of the trees are quite satisfactory.
|(Pine plantations, August 12, 2006)|
|(Pine plantations; compartment 807, April 22, 2007)|
|(Pine plantations; compartment 807, November 30, 2008)|
The good natural regeneration of birch, aspen and pine is going here and there. The biggest area of pine plantations was under a special forestry service in order to remove a part of young birch and other tree species which choked up the growing young pines.
|(The natural birch regeneration;
compartment 807, November 30, 2008)
These shots show the stumps of the top-broken and survived after the hurricane huge pine trees which later were illegally cut down by woodcutters and which the bulldozers and stubbing machines could not pull out during the preparation works for the plantation-making.
|(Stumps of huge pine trees; compartment 807; November 30, 2008)|
That is the view of stump and ground barrows (so-called "Bambiza barrows" at the core of the relic forest) made by the bulldozers during the preparation works for the plantation-making. They are covered by birch trees.
|(The stump and ground barrows; compartment 807, November 30, 2008)|
By now the fence and the netting which isolated and protected the big area of tree plantations are broken and are torn in many places. However, wild ungulates, most probably, already cannot cause the serious damage to the pine plantation because of many trees and their relative height.
|(The good netting around the pine plantation; compartment 807, November 30, 2008)|
|(The broken netting around the pine plantation; compartment 807, November 30, 2008)|
|(The broken fence alongside the pine plantation; compartment 807, November 30, 2008)|
Fire wood left in the forest and rotten are also met here and there as a symbol of the big-scaled mismanagement and the economy unsatisfactorily ruled in those times.
|(Left fire wood; compartment 807, November 30, 2008)|
An alone trunk of a broken tree reminds to us about the natural, relic and protected forest which once grew here, then suffered from the strong hurricane and finally destroyed by human.
|(An alone trunk of a broken tree; compartment 807, November 30, 2008)|