Kill of rare and protected plants at the administrative and tourist center of the National Park, 2002 - 2009

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; violation of the environmental balance within the protected area, and damaging the biological diversity.

Events, facts, documents and evidences: It was shown on the page "Wild forest landscaping and transformation into analogy of a city park in the administrative and tourist center of the national park, 2006 - 2009" that the today's administration of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" has destroyed some half savage sites of the forest. Thereby the harm to Belovezhskaya Pushcha was done in these places, the local tradition of the careful attitude to the wild nature was stopped and the new practice of the primitive forestry management was imposed.

In addition to trees and shrubs, rare and protected plants listed in a Belarus Red Data Book have suffered very much in the area of the administrative and tourist center. This was already described on the page "Making forest look "good" or disappearance of rare plants, 2004". A few decades ago, botanists of the scientific department of Belovezhskaya Pushcha introduced many species of rare plants to this area, and tourists had an opportunity to discover them. The rare plants gradually grew in their numbers. They became very abundant and even created plot of lands full of flowers somewhere. It is these places that suffered most seriously from the attack to make the area "more attractive" by the managers of the national park who love urban landscapes like city forest parks and who are not pleasant of the wild nature.

The photos below show the beginning of the killing process of rare and protected plants in 2004. The site which is immediately close to the hotel number 3 has suffered most strongly. In 2004 the administration of the national park has decided to make this area like-urban.

The first photo shows a light-blue shield with the record of Russian and Latin names of a plant (tree). There used to be a lot of similar shields within the administrative and tourist centre helping tourists to get acquainted with flora of Belovezhskaya Pushcha on their own. In 2002, this plot of land, then untouched by man, had numerous rare plants growing on it. By 2004, shrubs and young trees were cut down here, and rare plants were mowed. On top of it, leaves were raked out from the plot making land empty like a waste ground. The second picture demonstrates half-bared land after grasses were mowed on it. The third photo shows the plot of land of wild nature which is "decorated" with a bed of ornamental flowers. The fourth picture shows the plot of land of wild nature "decorated" with juniper, which is alien to the area of Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

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(Destruction of the half natural site near the hotel number 3; June 6, 2004)
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(The Aegopodium grass growing,
July 10, 2004)

A month later, the mowed plot of land had a pitiable look (the left photo). Only the Aegopodium grass began to grow well again. Rare plant species will disappear from the plot in a few years because the practice as "neatly" as like this will be continued.

The photos below shows other small plot of land that has not been trimmed by the administration of the park in order to create the urban view. One can clearly see in the pictures that the plot of land is abundant with the rare plant of Geranium, which is listed in the Red Data Book of Belarus, and forms the dense community here. Tourists can still admire this perfect plant. However, this plot will also be destroyed in a short time.

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(Rare plants of Geranium, June 6, 2004)

In 2005 the practice of destruction of half natural sites has been continued, moreover it has gathered a new power. The photos below show that these plots are intensively being mown clean and the results of it are very negative and tragic from the ecological point of view.

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(Continuation of making the plots of the half natural forest look "good"; July 11, 2005)

After the intensive mowing clean and raking leaves like described above the most of rare plants was killed and only some ones got intact near trunks of trees. They will be killed later.
The first picture below shows an alone blossoming campanula species, the second one shows plants of Geranium (dark red).

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(A still growing Campanula (1) and Geranium (2); July 11, 2005)

By 2005, the most of shields with the names of plants have been removed because the plants have been annihilated or the shields hindered to mow these plants. The shields have been saved here and there for a certain time. Some of them have been relocated in new places to avoid their hindrance for mowing. Sometimes such replacement looked funny and ridiculous as the names on the shields did not match the plant. For example, the photo below shows a shield with the name of a tree "Oak English" (Quercus robur) but being set up near a birch tree. By the way, this is evident and one more obvious proof of the level of the ecological education and the attitude to nature protection by those managers and employees who were involved in this action.

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(The wrong shield; July 11, 2005)

By 2009, this plot as being earlier half natural was finally destroyed - a part of the grassy vegetation has become degraded while the other part got under intensive mowing clean, and a special lawn grass has being sown and leaves have completely being raked. The photos below show the plot of a pitiable and degraded look for today which 8 years ago was full of luxuriant forest grasses, shrubs and young trees, and rare plants listed in the Red Data Book.

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(Plot parts degraded (1) and with the lawn grass (2);
August 9, 2009)
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(Plot parts degraded (1) and with the lawn grass (2);
August 9, 2009)

These photos show the finally destroyed half natural plot close to the hotel number 3.

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(The destroyed half natural plot close to the hotel number 3;
1 March 8, 2008; 2 November 8, 2008; 3 April 4, 2009;
4, 5 and 6 November 14, 2009)
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(The destroyed half natural plot close to the hotel number 3; April 4, 2009)

So, the photos and description obviously show and are a perfect illustration (indicator) of the true attitude by the actual administration to the rare and endangered species of the herbaceous flora of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. This is because the people who honestly and carefully treat rare and endangered species of living beings could never do it in the way like the actual managers did it. As we see the economic activity is beyond all other things while responsibility for nature conservation and the ecological education are obviously no matter of honour in this case.

What is the upshot? The upshot is that the local tradition of the careful attitude to the wild nature and to the rare, protected species of plants is stopped in the administrative and tourist center and the new practice of the primitive forestry management on creation of urban landscapes like city forest parks is imposed.

The photos below show primitive mono-floristic lawns with the special grass which nowadays are created around buildings of the tourist center and are already the standard for this area.

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(Monotonous lawns with the special grass; September 27, 2009)