Making forest look "good" or disappearance of rare plants, 2004

Infringements: Clauses 25, 26 and 27 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus «About Special Protected Natural Territories and Objects» are violated; Clause 55 of «Forest Codes» of the Republic of Belarus is violated; Clause 62 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus «About Environment Protection» is violated; infliction of damage to biological diversity.

Events, facts, documents and evidences: The page "Tourist complex and the destruction of ancient traditions of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, 2001 - 2003 focused on how the administration of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" approaches the reconstruction of the administrative centre, hotels and the restaurant, destroying along the way architecture and landscape design of the adjacent area that should be considered a cultural heritage of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Moreover, alien plant species that strongly change a natural shape of the tourist centre are being introduced to Belovezhskaya Pushcha. In the spring of 2003, for example, thuya and some species of juniper - trees foreign to the region - have been planted along the central road leading from the check point at the entrance to the former administrative office of the National Park.

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(The administration of the National Park
with planted thuyas and junipers:
1 - October 19, 2003; 2 - December 5, 2004; 3 - June 6, 2004)

A wild primary wood of Belovezhskaya Pushcha used to open up in front of tourists who would start their tour of the National Park at its main entrance in the village of Kamenyuki. The wood was/is the main thing to leave impressions of Belovezhskaya Pushcha Primeval Forest for the people. In few years' time, when the thuyas grow large, tourists will see the same decorative plantings as can be found in large numbers in all cities and towns all over the country instead to face the Belovezhskaya Pushcha's wood. As a result, the unique and original shape of the reserved wild forest of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, which the tourists can now immediately see as they enter the National Park, will be lost.

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(December 5, 2004)

However, since they were planted two years ago, the majority of decorative junipers have been lost because they were not looked after properly. Perhaps the nature of Belovezhskaya Pushcha could simply not accept this alien species. Few "orphans" survived as the left picture shows.

The efforts to tidy up the primary wood round the tourist centre and so transform it into something reminding more of recreational urban areas rather than reserved nature carried on in 2004.

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(June 6, 2004)

In 2002 - 2003 hotels of the National Park located in the area of the tourist centre have been renovated to qualify to European standards. At the same time traditional local fretwork and ornaments has been lost. However, the exterior of the hotels looks quite nice. One of the hotels of the National Park can be seen in this picture.

In 2004 the administration of the National Park decided to make the adjacent to the hotel area more "attractive". 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 managers of Belovezhskaya Pushcha - lovers of urban landscape.

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. Later shrubs and young trees were cut down here, and rare plants were mowed. On top of it, leaves were raked out from the plot of land in spring of 2004. The second picture demonstrates half-bared land after grasses were mowed on it. The third picture shows the plot of land of wild nature which is "decorated" with a bed of thin 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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(June 6, 2004)
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(July 10, 2004)

A month later, the mowed plot of land had a pitiable look. Only the Aegopodium grass began to grow well again. It is obvious that in a few years rare plant species can disappear from the plot of land if it is trimmed as "neatly" as now.

These pictures show a 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 the Republic of Belarus, and forms the dense community here. Tourists can still admire this perfect plant.

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(June 6, 2004)

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(June 6, 2004)

The next plot of land located between the hotel and the former office building of the Park, which is currently renovated into a hotel (see the page of the Photo-fact "Liquidation of the office building and eviction of the scientific department from the laboratories"), was also cleared in the spring: bushes and young trees were cut down, and leaves were raked out. As a result, a natural shape of the plot looks now like neither forest nor park. It must be these ugly plots of bare land in the middle of the forest of Belovezhskaya Pushcha that are considered most "beautiful" by the National Park.

Despite continuing renovation of the former administrative office building and numerous building waste scattered as a result, the area of wild forest that surrounds the building was also cleared and "trimmed" in the spring of 2004 (see the news "Leaves and . wilderness removed from Pushcha").

The pictures show the heaps of leaves raked by research workers in the National Park.

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(March 2004)

Probably, the managers of the National Park understood the mere absurdity of their order. Therefore a lot of heaps of leaves were left in the forest to decompose and bewilder ecologically-minded tourists.

The pictures show that numerous heaps of leaves were left in the forest.

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(June 6, 2004)

In the autumn of 2004, the administration of the National Park broke all records of ecological absurdity, low culture and illiteracy by ordering to rake leaves from the "trimmed" wood area of the Park's tourist centre as soon as trees there shed their leaves. As a result, tourists were left to see nothing but bare land. The pictures show a view of the cleaned area around hotel No 3.

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(The Park's tourist centre, December 5, 2004)

Moreover, close to the central road and tourist paths where tourists usually walk, heaps of leaves were burned. This was done regardless of the fact, which is known by every ecologically-minded person, that burning leaves is very harmful to soil and humus layer. It goes without saying that such scorched plots of land simply became unattractive to tourist. If the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" became an example of ecological absurdity and illiteracy that is demonstrated all over the world today, ecological education of tourists coming to the National Park is out of question.

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The pictures show an awful aesthetic and ecological view that could be seen in the main Belarusian reserve in the autumn - winter of 2004.

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(The Park's tourist centre, December 5, 2004)

In pictures - black stains of the scorched ground and tourists (1), horses harnessed into carriage (2), the car of Nickolai Bambiza, director of the National Park, is parked beside the hotel (3).

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(The Park's tourist centre, December 26, 2004)

Further: National Park shows its anti-ecological ways to tourists, 2004