Destruction of wild nature along a tourist route close to the administrative and tourist center of the national park, 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 earlier on the pages "Clear cuttings and dead wood cleaning along tourist routes, 2005 - 2009" and "Ecological paths and "eco-tourism" in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, 2005 2009" that, instead of the perfect primeval and relic forest and instead of the wild and strictly preserved nature, the tourists see cutting areas and stumps over the distance of the most part of the car routes and partly at the foot routes. It turns out that the tourists do not see the truly primordial Belovezhskaya Pushcha and the wild primeval forest for the most part of the routes but only hear about them from the guides like about some theory. Such state of affairs, certainly, is not in compliance with the ecological education as one of the basic tasks for the national park. Moreover, it often compromises the nature protection activity of the national park and misleads the outsiders by giving them the wrong knowledge about the strategy of nature conservation and the management of especially protected natural areas.

As a part of preparations for celebration of the 600th anniversary of nature protection in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, employees of the national park made (very intensively) the destruction of the wild nature not only in the administrative and tourist center and close to the approach roods but also along road sections which serve tourist routes around the tourist center. The photos below show and describe what was made at the section of the tourist route adjacent to the administrative and tourist center and going to the right from it.


The ecological path near the tourist center of the national park

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(The general view of the ecological path; compartment 843, September 19, 2009)
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(A birch tree with a bison head at the ecological path; compartment 843, September 19, 2009)
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(A very old oak tree at the ecological path; compartment 843, September 19, 2009)
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(A mark on a tree designating the ecological route; compartment 843, September 19, 2009)
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(A mark on a tree designating the bicycle ecological route; compartment 843, September 19, 2009)
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(A shield with the name of the forest area set at the route;
September 27, 2009)

If to walk away from the road (from the tourist route) deep into the forest just for a few meters, one can discover and see a wonderful world of living beings which use the Bialowieza Primeval Forest as a home! Fantastic shapes will be open to the tourist's eyes! For example, the photos below show a diversity of mushrooms close to this tourist route.

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(Agarics; September 19, 2009)
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(Agarics; September 27, 2009)
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(Orange-cap boletus and brown cap boletus; September 24, 2009)
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(Other species of fungi; September 19, 2009)
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(Other species of fungi; September 25, 2009)

It is obvious the economic activity, in particular cutting operations and wood harvesting, negatively influences upon this biodiversity and natural magic.

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(The tourist route starts from here; September 27, 2009)

Bushes and most of young trees were cut down right at the beginning of the tourist route. Only those trees which get a straight line very similar to a standard for roadside tree planting were left.

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(Bushes and trees as being felled; September 27, 2009)
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(Bushes and trees in a straight line as being left; September 27, 2009)

Even stumps of big, dead and felled trees were stubbed up and moved deeper in the forest.

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(Stumps as being stubbed up; September 27, 2009)

Other stumps, old ones which are not visible from the road were left.

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(Old stumps as being left; September 27, 2009)

The ground in the places of activity on stumps' removing was leveled (photo 1 and 2) and covered with hay here and there (photo 3 and 4).

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(The ground as being leveled and covered with hay; September 27, 2009)

The most of dead trees, even ones of the small size, were cut down along the next section of the tourist route.

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(Felled trees; September 27, 2009)

When dragging logs out of the forest that to deliver then to a timber mill, many young trees and bushes were broken.

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(Young trees and bushes as being broken; September 27, 2009)

Conclusion. Preservation of wild nature and its demonstration for tourists is the main what is covered by basic activities of the park administrations in national parks of Europe and North America. Tourists face and begin to get acquainted with wild nature at once as they enter the territory of administrative and tourist centers. A dead tree or a lying rotten log in the core of the tourist center is considered now as normal. Moreover, it is even a pride of the park's employees.

Alas, the situation in Belovezhskaya Pushcha is getting on in a different way. Wild nature is still considered here by the management as something "alien", "hostile", "opposite" "bad" for a human being. Therefore big efforts and funds are spent for its destruction for making look "good" like in an urban area and for "putting it to rights". The example on this page is the best confirmation of it. As we see, wild nature is ruthlessly destroyed by the current management of the national park not only in area of the administrative and tourist centere but intensively is "cleaned" in other parts within the territory of Belovezhskaya Pushcha (except for the strictly protected zone), including many tourist routes. This can testify only to one thing to a low level of the ecological education by the current managers of the national park and their incompetence in the modern management of especially protected natural territories. And the fact that little changes happened in this field after the criticism of many years by ecologists says also about serious inability of the today's managers and "experts" of the national park quickly to react upon the challenges of present time and to bring their outlook and activity into line with modern international norms and advanced standards of management in protected territories.