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: 2010 was the final year in the 10-year management of Nikolai Bambiza as General Director of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". He became world famous because of his scandalous policies and practices of blindfold and illiterate environmental management. These anti-scientific, nature-destroying and often illegal activities caused immense damage to the unique biodiversity of the wild Bialowieza Primeval Forest and considerably worsened environmental image of Belarus. One year prior to his dismissal from the position of the National Park's General Director and switch to a lower-level position in the BelAgroPromBank, the final act of vandalism towards Belovezhskaya Pushcha was put into practice. A big portion of the elite relic forest was cut for the purposes of construction of a new nursery garden. We shall note that this happened shortly after a pompous celebration of the 600 years of nature protection in Belovezhskaya Pushcha (October 3, 2009). This event had been widely advertised as allegedly a 600-years of the wilderness protected status of Belovezhskaya Pushcha (argumentation of falseness of such statements can be read here) and carried out under the guise of the greatest environmental "achievements" of the National Park's administration lead by Nikolai Bambiza and supervised by the Presidential Department of Affairs.
Below the basic information on the start of the new nursery garden construction is provided.
The idea of maintenance of a large specialized nursery garden in Belovezhskaya Pushcha for planting stock cultivation and selling abroad has been discussed for a long time. The first attempt to establish it was made in 2004. Then, a small nursery garden of about 2 ha was established. It was located on one of the most splendid parts of Belovezhskaya Pushcha – on the site of the former bison nursery, an area which is covered with gorgeous olden oak-woods and where a significant number of rare herbaceous plants inscribed into a Red Data Book grow. But these endeavors were not sufficient and it was decided to build another, larger nursery garden of 7.5 ha. In this site modern technologies will be used to grow wild planting stock mainly for export purposes.
The idea is generally good and does not contain any elements aimed at destruction of nature. However, unfortunately in case of Belovezhskaya Pushcha everything was turned upside down. Maintenance of the new nursery garden was accompanied by conscious and deliberate destruction of the elite olden protected forest. Its age was at least 150 years while some trees were 200 years or even older. The National Park's administration explains these clear-cuts by many factors. The most significant of them are the need to have pure forest soil and maintain a microclimate for the forest wall. Additionally, it is emphasized that the implementation of this project was allegedly backed by scientists.
It is necessary to admit that such the claim does not withstand any criticism from the scientific point of view just by the virtue of the fact that currently Belovezhskaya Pushcha has hundreds of hectares of the forest areas entirely destroyed by a horrible hurricane in 2002. This area was cleared among others with bulldozers. In 2003 artificial afforestation was conducted in the area. Today, there are 7-9 years old pines growing arrow there, and on this site one can find a location for the future nursery garden that complies with all the factors described above.
Instead, however, an olden live pine and spruce forest stand was destroyed. Please note that a young artificially created plantation was preserved, and the elite old primeval forest was destroyed! The reason of such vandalism is obvious – someone needed high-quality timber and an occasion to snip it occurred here! As to the scientists who argued for it, concerted and put signatures under this crime against protected nature of Belovezhskaya Pushcha... It is not a secret that we have currently dozens of so-called "scientists", persons of low morality, weathercocks and corrupted in many ways. Those persons can easily sign such projects just to obtain additional sops either as money or as personal benefits and privileges. If everything written above is not true, another conclusion becomes obvious – complete incompetence, irresponsibility and neglect of those who developed, affirmed and implemented this project toward the Belovezhskaya Pushcha’s fate!
The pictures below are presented as the photo-evidences of one more crime against protected nature of the Bialowieza primeval forest.
These pictures show an olden relic primeval forest that had grown on the site of the new nursery garden. This forest was not perfectly preserved as it was infringed and exhausted by periodically conducted clear-cuts.
|(The forest of Belovezhskaya Pushcha around the nursery garden, compartment 827, October 30, 2010)|
Those beautiful ship pines were destroyed in the area of 7.5 hectares.
|(Ship pines around the nursery garden, compartment 827, October 30, 2010)|
These photos show a general view on the former forest fallen to prepare a site for the future nursery garden. The photos were taken from different perspectives around the perimeter of the nursery garden.
|(A general view of the cut area, compartment 827, October 30, 2010)|
|(Line pattern for sectors at the nursery, compartment 827, October 30, 2010)|
Here a metal-concrete fence around the nursery garden is shown (still under construction or already assembled).
|(A fence around the nursery, compartment 827, October 30, 2010)|
The following photos document the start of construction of the future nursery garden.
|(Construction works, compartment 827, October 30, 2010)|
Fence around the cleared forest strip width of several meters. A several-meter-wide zone around the fence was cleared.
|(Cleared forest strip, compartment 827, October 30, 2010)|
Wood remains of the trees destroyed alive are fallen about the fenced territory.
|(Wood remains, compartment 827, October 30, 2010)|
Reclamation of forest soil took place on some sites around the nursery garden.
|(Reclamation of forest soil, compartment 827, October 30, 2010)|
A stump pulling was conducted on the site after tree felling. The stumps were taken and unloaded at another part of the forest, located a few kilometers from the nursery garden.
|(The drive to the site with stumps delivered, compartment 805, October 30, 2010)|
|(A general view of the site with stumps, compartment 805, October 30, 2010)|
|(A general view of stumps, compartment 805, October 30, 2010)|
Conclusion. Thus, as the presented photo-evidences prove, despite recent celebrations of the 600th anniversary of the so-called "wildlife reserve status" in Belovezhskaya Pushcha and pompous statements about its alleged protectopm for the sake of our descendants that are cheerfully heard from the representatives of all levels of the Belarusian state machine (including top-level officials), the real situation is different. In fact, most of the Bialowieza primeval forest is still being mercilessly destroyed by the merchants from the National Park's administration and other come-and-go people. All of them are either low-professionals or have no relations to nature protection and conservation.
The only measure to date, which can stop this terrible administrative mess and managerial laity as well as provide at least a minimum guarantee of protection for Belovezhskaya Pushcha, is an urgent change of the nature protection regime of the national park and granting the strictly protected core zone status to all the historical part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha.