Hazel shrub chopped down, new wicker fencing built in the national park's tourist center, 2009

Violations: Violation of the environmental balance within the protected area and damaging the biological diversity.

Events, facts, documents and evidences: The management of Belovezhskaya Pushcha decided to install a wicker fence along some of the footpaths and buildings in the administrative and tourist center as it prepared to celebrate the nature protection's 600th anniversary in 2009. This could be seen as the managers' own idea, as the national park had never anything like it before. Boxwood and other kinds of hedge had grown along the alleys and approach roads before, framing the footpaths and harmoniously blending into the environment to create a peculiar ecosystem half man-made, half natural, which had minimal impact on the wild forest. That landscape structure satisfied everyone, as it served its purpose, preventing humans from trampling on the forest ground, and looking environment-friendly and esthetically pleasing as the reserve management science and fundamental rules of nature protection require.

Things changed drastically when the wicker fence was built: the shrub was replaced with a fence that stood in sharp contrast to the surrounding forest and was less than suitable in environmental terms. What was the reason? According to the Belovezhskaya Pushcha employees, it was done "to make it look nicer" and to better protect the forest from tourism-related damage! Given that, it still does not fully explain why the surrounding forest was cut down to a semblance of an urban park something Pushcha had never seen. It just does not seem logical. The actual answer is quite simple, though: the idea was to impress both the senior managers and the visitors by building something new and yet unseen in Pushcha. It is not worth mentioning the local tradition of landscape architecture, destroyed together with the new fence. No one found it particularly disturbing that both the hedge had to be removed to make way for the fence, and some hazel shrub in the forest had to be used for the construction.

The bottom line
1. The traditional landscape structure of the surrounding protected forest and the area within the administrative and tourist center were modified to resemble an urban park.
2. The new wicker fence stands in contrast to the surrounding forest, looking foreign and unnatural within the existing ecosystem.
3. A lot of hazel wood was cut in the protected forest to build the wicker fence, which damaged Belovezhskaya Pushcha yet again.


These pictures show the approach roads and footpaths hedged with shrub before there was any fencing. The further shots were made in the same area after the hedge had been chopped down.

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(The area during the repair works being yet with shrub; 1, 2 and 3 June 6, 2004; 4 July 1, 2006)
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(The area after the repair works being already without shrub; 1 August 10, 2008; 2 and 3 March 1, 2009; 4 and 5 August 9, 2009)

These photos show the beginning of construction of the wicker fence (1, 2 and 3 it's near the hotel number 4; 4 it's along the approach road; 5 and 6 it's near the building of the new administrative and ecological center with the museum of nature).

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(The beginning of construction of the wicker fence;
1, 2, 3 and 4 September 15, 2009; 5 and 6 September 27, 2009)

Below the fence is seen as being constructed (1 and 2 - near the building of the new administrative and ecological center with the museum of nature; 3, 4, 5 and 6 near the hotel number 4).

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(The wicker fence as being constructed; September 27, 2009)

The photos below show the fence in different sites of the administrative and tourist center which is already complete.

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(The cafe "Pines" without the wicker fence and with it;
1 September 27, 2009; 2 January 2, 2010)
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(The wicker fence along the approach road;
1 April 4, 2010; 2, 3, 4 and 5 September 27, 2009)
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(The wicker fence along the separate forest plot near the hotel number 4;
1, 2, 3 and 4 September 27, 2009; 5 September 20, 2009; 6 and 7 November 14, 2009)
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(The wicker fence behind the restaurant; September 27, 2009)
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(The wicker fence along the central footpath going to the hotel number 4;
1 and 2 November 14, 2009; 3 and 4 January 2, 2010; 5 April 4, 2010)
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(The wicker fence along the lateral footpath going to the hotel number 4;
1, 2, 3 and 4 September 27, 2009; 5 November 14, 2009; 6 and 7 April 4, 2010)
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(The wicker fence along the hotel number 4;
1 November 14, 2009; 2, 3 and 4 January 2, 2010)
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(The wicker fence along the places of rest near the hotel number 4;
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 September 27, 2009; 7 and 8 January 2, 2010)
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(The wicker fence along the building of the administrative and ecological center;
November 14, 2009)