ARCHIVE NEWS: MAY 2013

May 30, 2013 Website "Naviny.by" Agriculture Ministry: reclamation in Belarus could not negatively affect the environment like it did in Western countries

Belarusian irrigators because of environmental reasons refused to restore drainage systems on 80,000 hectares of previously reclaimed lands BelaPAN reports.

"We defined that these lands are impractical to recover as they have ecological value," the Director of the Department of Land Reclamation and Water Resources at Ministry of Agriculture Anatoly Bulynia said at a press conference in Minsk on May 30.

He cited the Belovezhskaya Pushcha as an example. There were plans to reconstruct drainage systems there. But it had to abandon those plans after the examination with the participation of representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Belarus and Polish specialists.

According to Bulynia, before starting the repair and reconstruction of drainage systems on reclaimed lands located in the catchment areas of major rivers, studies of environmental impact of legacy systems upon the neighborhood and the environment of the region as a whole. "Actions are designed only after this, taking into account the necessary amendments to be made to avoid negative consequences," the director of the Department of Land Reclamation said.

At the same time, in his opinion, "the reclamation in Belarus could negatively affect the environment like it did in Western countries, where the drainage conducted in full 30 years ago." "In the Netherlands, 27% of agricultural lands are located below sea level. These are areas won from the sea, where desalinization was carried out and there are now used for agriculture, " said Bulynia.
May 30, 2013 Website "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"" Belovezhskaya Pushcha became part of the Pan Parks' system

The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" has become a partner of the PAN Parks European Network and awarded a "Wilderness Diploma" for ensuring the guaranteed protection of 57,000 hectares of primeval wilderness. The purpose of Pan Parks is the networking of 1 million hectares of pristine areas in Europe by 2015.

Pan Parks is the European Organization for the conservation of wildlife and for the increasing understanding of its significance. It includes natural habitats and ecosystems, which conservation is the most important for the future.

Wildlife of Europe remained on a very limited territory and is close to extinction. Pan Parks Foundation seeks to unite the efforts of individual European territories that they can be capable of keeping the pieces of wild nature without human influence. Pan Parks builds partnerships with protected areas and includes them in the Pan-European movement of wildlife conservation in Europe.

Under the terms of Pan Parks, only those protected areas, which protect at least 10,000 hectares of pristine wilderness, develop ecological education for tourists and preserve the pristine nature at large stream of visitors, can become its partners. Belovezhskaya Pushcha is the first and still only especially protected territory of the Republic of Belarus included in this international network.

May 30, 2013 Website "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"" A Scientific and Technical Council meeting

On May 17, the regular meeting of the Scientific and Technical Council took place in the National Park "Belovezhskaya push". Eminent scientists from different research institutions of the country came to evaluate the work of researchers from Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

The meeting heard and approved the annual reports of the scientific department's staff on the researches of 2012, as well as information on the implementation of measures to improve the effectiveness of the environmental institution and to provide preservation of unique natural ecosystems. Plans of biotechnology, hunting management and forest management activities for 2013 year were discussed. In addition, reports of other organizations which performed researches in the National Park as part of ongoing government programs were reviewed.

The issues of the technical work on the establishment of "Research and Breeding Center for Study, Conservation and Sustainable Use of Bison Populations" and "The Program of Organization of a Permanent Base and Development of Forest Seed Farming on the Basis of Genetics and Plant-breeding in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" for 2014-2025 years " were of particular interest and lively discussed.

The research programs for 2013 were adopted.

It was proposed to hold an International Conference in Belovezhskaya Pushcha in 2014, with the participation of experts from United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden and other countries to summarize the experience of research and to develop joint recommendations on the preservation of cuckoo. It is planned to catch and tag Belarusian birds to learn about their migration and wintering places for our cuckoo.
May 28, 2013 Website "BelTA" Belovezhskaya Pushcha becomes a part of the European network of PAN Parks

The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" has become a partner of the European Network PAN Parks and awarded a "Wilderness Diploma". This was told to a BelTA reporter by the Deputy Director for Science of the National Park Vasili Arnolbik.

PAN Parks (Protected Areas Network Parks) is the European non-governmental organization dedicated to the protection of the most valuable objects of wildlife by creating a network of parks involved in the development of sustainable tourism. It plans to merge into a single system by 2015 to 1 million hectares of pristine natural habitats and ecosystems in Europe. Belovezhskaya Pushcha is the first and only especially protected territory of Belarus, included in this international network.

Under the terms of the PAN Parks organization, only those protected areas which protect at least 10,000 hectares of pristine wilderness could become its partner. Belovezhskaya Pushcha became a part of this system by providing a guaranteed protection of 57,000 hectares of untouched natural environment, simultaneously servicing a high flow of visitors and developing the environmental education. "The certificate, which we have recently received, does not give us any additional bonuses. It only emphasizes the importance of Pushcha for the conservation of European wildlife heritage", Vasily Arnolbik said.

In addition, as the Deputy Director General informed, a new nomination dossier for the Pushcha as a World Heritage Site was compiled in cooperation with Polish colleagues According to this document, the World Heritage area on the Polish and Belarusian side is expanded to 140.000 hectares, including 80,000 hectares from the Belarusian part of the forest and 60,000 hectares from the Polish one (to date it is only 5.4% of the territory of both national parks). In addition to the forest, it will include old-growth trees and unique wetland ecosystems. Two new criteria appeared in the dossier for re-nomination - the value of Pushcha for conservation of flora and fauna and the importance of the territory from the standpoint of the natural evolution of wildlife. "The new criteria will further stress the value of Belovezhskaya Pushcha and enhance its status in the international community", Vasily Arnolbik summed.

In June, the National Park will meet an expert mission of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which will inspect both parts of the forest (the Belarusian and Polish) for compliance with the new criteria. It is expected that a decision on the new nomination dossier will be made in mid-2014.

At present, the area of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" covers 150,000 hectares. For the best protection and rational use, its territory is divided into four functional zones: 38% is a strictly protected area (wilderness protection zone) with the most stringent levels of protection, 26.1% is a controlled use zone, 30.7% is an economic activity zone and 5.2% is a recreation area designed to tourism.

By the UNESCO's decision in 1992, the most preserved section of the old-aged forests of the National Park was inscribed onto a List of World Heritage Sites. A year later, Belovezhskaya Pushcha acquired the status of a biosphere reserve. At the end of 1997, the Council of Europe awarded it a Diploma as a benchmark of environmental institutions on the continent, which extended until 2017.

By Svetlana Vechorko
May 28, 2013 Website "Capital TV" Video: Two new cycle routes to design for the new season in Belovezhskaya Pushcha


Photo: Bicycle path
The cycling tourism is developing in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Especially for the new season, the Park's staff has developed two new routes - "White Grove" and "Tihovolya." Besides these, there are already 5 favorite tourist cycle routes. Every visitor will be able to pick up a walk he likes - they differ in both the sights and the length of the path. If novice cyclists will have to overcome nearly 2,000 feet, the professionals get a 16-kilometer trail.

The bicycle season of 2013 started much later this year. Snow in the protected forest melted only at the beginning of May. However, almost 3.5 thousand cyclists already visited the Park, as reported in the news program "24 Hours" on STV.

(The video can be viewed at the original website's address http://www.ctv.by/novosti-bresta-i-brestskoy-oblasti/dva-novyh-marshruta-razrabotany-k-novomu-velosezonu-v)
May 28, 2013 Website "VeloGrodno - Grodno Cycling Community" About developing the bicycle tourisms in Belovezhskaya Pushcha


Bicycle routes, Belovezhskaya Pushcha
The bicycle tourism is becoming more and more popular among visitors to Belovezhskaya Pushcha, as the BelTA reporter learned from Head of Tourism Department of the National Park Oksana Bogaleysha. Despite a late start of the bicycle tourism season this year (snow in the protected forest disappeared only at the beginning of May), the last month of spring got a success, according to the source. So, almost 3,400 cyclists visited Pushcha to date. That is significantly higher than for the same date last year - then there were 2,200 people.

Especially a lot of cyclists were recorded during the May holidays. Moreover, in addition to the tourists who made use of the bicycle hire, many visitors used private vehicles. These tours were organized for members by the Travel Club "Rokada" from Moscow, by the Environmental Bicycle Club "Veles" from Vladimir, by Tourist Club "Fresh Wind" from Kobrin and others.

Especially for the new season, the Park's staff developed two new bicycle routes for visitors - "White Grove" and "Tihovolya." They have a considerable length. But this fact allows fully experiencing the beauty of traveling by bike and seeing the sights of flora and fauna of the oldest forests in Europe. In addition to new ones, there are already 5 favorite for tourist cycle routes - "Protected Oak Forest", "Lakeside Ring", "Tsar's meadow", "Forest Mystery" and "Animal Crossing". Their length ranges from 2 to 16 km.

In addition to cycling ones, the employees of the tourism department are developing new car and pedestrian routes. So, on the eve of the Victory Day, the National Park has opened a new tourist route "Memory", which covers the objects associated with the events of the First and Second World Wars. In the near future the visitors will be offered with a new pedestrian route "Pushcha's Robinsons", with an overnight stay.

Since the beginning of this year, the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" was attended by over 120 thousand tourists.

BelTA
May 24, 2013 "Belorusskaya Lesnaya Gazeta" (The Belarusian Forest Newspaper) newspaper A forest plant-breeding inventory to conduct in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

The plant-breeding and genetic assessment of major tree species - Scots pine, English oak and spruce is conducted by the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" in conjunction with the Institute of Forest at the National Academy of Sciences. The project is carried out as part of the Program for Conservation of the Genetic Potential of Forests.

"Belovezhskaya Pushcha is a remnant of the primeval forest, which once stretched from the Baltic Sea to Bug River and from Oder River to Dnieper River. That forest grew up without human intervention that means it was the hardest natural selection. Therefore it is necessary to keep the gene pool of the Pushcha forests and use seeds with the most valuable properties for creation of high productive man-made forests," the leading researcher of the Laboratory of Forest Selection and Seed Production at the Institute of Forest of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, PhD of Agricultural Alexander Sidor says. "Some work on selection and genetic evaluation of forests and trees has done."

As a result of the plant-breeding inventory of forests, more than 150 best trees of pine and oak and 5 best stands on an area of 83.5 hectares have been selected. The database "Breeding Fund of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"" has been created and updated. Genotypes of all selected best trees and stands have been identified. Seed and vegetative grafts from best trees of Scots pine have been harvested. A test plantation on an area of 2.0 hectares has been created. There are grafting seedlings with isolated root system to create the seed plantation of Scots pine.
May 24, 2013 Website "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"" Visit of French experts

A group of French environmental experts visited Belovezhskaya Pushcha in the period from 8 to 12 May 2013. The visit was initiated by the Regional Park "Northern Vosges", which is in the province of Alsace near Strasbourg. They exchanged views on major activities of the two protected natural areas. The issues of sustainable forest management, scientific researches and environmental education were discussed. A significant progress of the National Park in the optimization of the protection of the natural complex due to the implementation of the project on a new functional zoning in accordance with the Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus No 59 dated 02.09.2012 "On some issues of the development of protected areas" was emphasized.

During a field trip French colleagues visited scientific plots for permanent forest monitoring, where they learned about studies of successions in the forests. In addition, they participated in special trips to nature for observing bison and birds of prey, including the most interesting owl species - great gray owl. A mutually beneficial areas of cooperation for the implementation of European standards and practices within the concept of biosphere reserves were proposed.
May 18, 2013 Website "TUT.BY" Bison from Belovezhskaya Pushcha will live in Verhnedvinsky district


Photo by mos.gov.pl
According to the contract with the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", 10 bison should move to the northern region of the country. Eight animals have already arrived at a new place - the Hunting Ground "Krasny Bor" (Red Coniferous Forest), including both males and females. Bison were placed in a zoo enclose measuring 80 hectares to be adapted to unusual conditions. Gamekeepers will take care of animals and will feed them on oats and hay. Two years later, settlers will release "free bread."br>
However, as noted in the Hunting Ground, bison have lived in the northern part of the country once upon a time. This is also confirmed by the Academy of Sciences of Belarus, as the company "Interservice" has asked this before purchasing animals. Just having the scientific justification and approval, they decided to reintroduce the once existing micro-population. However, time will witness about Belovezha bison will like or not in the new place.

It should be noted that theHunting Ground "Krasny Bor" is located in Verkhnedvinsky and Rossonsky districts and covers an area of 58,600 hectares. It is popular with visitors not only from Belarus, but also from near and far abroad. Now villages adjacent to the Ground, that were the victims of urbanization, reborn their life and construct tourism infrastructure. Representatives of the Hunting Ground are hoping that this will further attract tourists to the beautiful Dvina land.
May 17, 2013 Website "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"" Memory

The new tourist route "Memory" was opened on the eve of the Victory Day in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha".

Tourists from the Company "Tourist House" had the honor of being the first of its visitors. During the excursion, they learned about the events of the First and Second World Wars which have left their mark on the Pushcha's land. They inspected sites associated with the tragic events in the war years. They also visited a sector of the former narrow-gauge railway which was built by prisoners of war during World War II, as well as the monument to heroes-gunners, who stopped a fascist attack for three days on one of the Pushcha's roads in the beginning of World War II. They visited the monument to died scouts from the Kovpak's guerrilla group and the memorial "Falling Crosses" at the site of the execution of civilians, as well as other facilities.


May 17, 2013 Website "Wild Nature" Dehelmintization of feeding sites of wild animals began

The GPU National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" started dehelmintization of feeding sites of wild animals. This event is planned to improve the health of young animals and wildlife populations in general.

To date, 80% of feeding sites have already been made against helminthes.

In general, the epizootic situation in the National Park is favorable, according to www.npbp.brest.by/.

Recovery of wildlife populations is being promoted by predators first of all that unmistakable "cull" the weak and sick animals and, therefore, prevent the spread of contagious diseases. Helminth infections - ascariasis, echinococcosis, fascioliasis and so on are often recorded among rodents and predators.

Ungulates also have helminth infections. Helminthiasis, especially in the mass infection, lead to a severe disease and loss of mostly young animals, as well as to decrease of weight, nutritional status and the trophy quality of horns in adults. According to general statistics, up to 40% of roe deer are being affected by worm infections with dangerous intensity. This is why systematic cleaning and disinfection of feeding grounds are so important .
May 16, 2013 Website "EeroRadio" Polish scientists want to protect their bison from Belarusian bison

Polish scientists are afraid that the Belarusian bison will mingle with Polish ones and destroy their unique genetic line. In the past, there were two types of bison in Europe - lowland (or Bialowieza) and Caucasian, which lives in the Caucasus. Once the second line as a kind became extinct in nature, some animals could only be found in the artificial zoological environment. When bison were specially revived in the "wild" conditions, the species was divided into two genetic lines - lowland and lowland-Caucasian as purely Caucasian bison rebirth failed. To this day all bison are entered in a special Book of Ancestry in accordance with the division into the line.

To date large herds of lowland bison naturally live in Poland and Belarus - four herds in each country, more than 100 animals in the herd. Bison from Belovezhskaya Pushcha does not belong to the same population. Moreover, according to recent genetic research, Belarusian bison have an admixture of genes of Caucasian bison. Therefore, they should be entered in the genealogy in a different way - as the lowland Caucasian, not the pure lowland, Polish scientists believe. Polish bison are currently the only representatives of the pure lowland line in the world, Wyborcza writes.

Genetic studies of bison on both sides of the Belarusian-Polish border were carried out over several years. They were implemented by scientists from the Mammal Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Bialowieza, in cooperation with the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha".

To date, a fence that separates the Polish and Belarusian parts prevents bison to move freely throughout the forest. The fence was built in 1981. Thus, the Polish bison do not communicate with the Belarusian ones, the newspaper notes. However, the fence is gradually destroyed and the two genetic lines can mingle. That's a threat to the lowland bison.

Joining the two lines can have both positive and negative effects. - An increase of "high genetic shift" of the bison population in the Bialowieza Forest is among the benefits. But cases of inbreeding depression for the lowland Caucasian bison are among the issues that are most concerned by scientists. Inbreeding depression means to reduce the overall viability of the animals because of mating within the same genus It becomes apparent, for example, in the form of a weak immune system and the difficulties of adaptation to the new conditions.

Polish scientists want to start a discussion and to work out a common position on whether or not specifically isolate Polish bison from Belarusian ones, because lowland bison as a kind formally cease to exist in the wild if the case of the integration of the lines .

To date, the Belarusian part of the Bialowieza Forest has about 360 bison, and Polish one has 500.
May 08, 2013 Website "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"" For preservation of the genetic potential

The quality of planting stock is very important for reforestation in protected areas. Therefore, the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" in cooperation with the Institute of Forest of the National Academy of Sciences evaluates a gene pool of the basic tree species - pine, English oak and spruce, as part of the Program for Conservation of the Genetic Potential of Forest Stands. The best stands and trees of these species have already been selected. Their genetic assessment has been made. Planting stock (seeds and vegetative grafts) has been harvested to create the permanent forest-seed base. This spring the test pine trees have been planted on the area of 2.5 ha. There are plans for the future to create the first seed plantation of this tree species on the area of 4.5 ha. This will help more effectively keep the gene pool of the Pushcha's forests and use seedlings with the most valuable properties to get improved forest stands.
May 07, 2013 "Vecherniy Brest" (The Evening Brest) newspaper Watch over Cuckoo through a satellite

The study of Cuckoo is expected to begin in Belovezhskaya Pushcha in the next year. Last week, the management of the National Park has discussed the possibility of such studies with the management of NGO "Belarus Birds' Life" and the representative of the British Royal Society of the Protection of Birds Norbert Schafer.

According to the member of the Board of the NGO Nikolai Cherkas, European scientists are also interested in such studies. Number of cuckoo dramatically reduced in Europe. Today, according to ornithologists, only 7 thousand breeding pairs of birds arrives from Africa to the British Isles during the warm season. For comparison: over 50,000 cuckoos nest in Belarus.

Scientists are puzzling over the cause of this phenomenon for years. Some believe that global climate change is the reason, because the British birds are now laying eggs earlier than the cuckoo fly, depriving them of the opportunity to put their eggs. According to another version, the problem is to reduce the number of caterpillars that cuckoo feed.

Perhaps the observations over Belarusian cuckoos would help clarify the situation. It is assumed that some birds are equipped with very small sensors, less than 5 grams of weight, which will transmit the information on the location of the birds. This will set the points of their migration and wintering areas. Anyone can watch birds online on the website specially created for this task.

By Elena Tribuleva
May 03, 2013 Website "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"" Exhibition winners

A specialized Exhibition "Brest Land of Tourism" in the frame of the 15th International Trade Fair "Brest. Commonwealth 2013" was held in Brest frm 24 to 26 April of 2013. The Exhibition became the center of demonstration of tourism opportunities in the region.

The Exhibition showcased the leading regional tour operators, sanatoria and health resorts, memorials and museums, hotels and resorts, country estates, national reserves, hunting grounds, sports and recreation centers, as well as the national cuisine.

The stand of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" presented the abundance of advertising brochures, postcards, maps and other printed information. Visitors could learn here about the sights of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. They also could get qualified explanations on matters of interest and obtain a booklet with a list of services and detailed information about the National Park.

Our National Park was among the most prestigious tourist sites of the Brest region. It won the award for "Best Tourist Interest" and was awarded a diploma.


May 03, 2013 "Narodnaya Gazeta" (The People's Newspaper) newspaper Bison go north

I've heard that bison from Belovezhskaya Pushcha will be settled in our Vitebsk region. Where exactly will these animals be placed and whether can people see them? Are there any plans in the future to hunt for bison?
By Eugeny Lisivskiy, Novopolotsk


A new micropopulation of bison will really be in the Vitebsk region. Head of the Hunting Ground "InterService" Stepan Gabrusenok told to the reporter of the "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" that ten bison have been purchased in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". Five of them have already been delivered to the territory of the Verkhnedvinsk district. Other animals will come to a new place of residence before the end of this year. A spacious enclosure has been equipped for bison, where they will be kept for one year and then will be released into the wild. If lucky, visitors can see bison in the Hunting Ground. Hunting of these rare animals is not planned because this species is listed as endangered.

Such bison micropopulations already exist within the territories of the Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve, the Osipovichy experimental forestry and the Nalibokskaya Pushcha Nature Protection Sanctuary. Bison can also be seen in the Pripyatskiy National Park , the Agricultural Farm "Ozery" of the Grodno region and in the Polesskiy Radiation-Ecological Reserve. Settling bison in new areas is important to increase the stability of the general population and at the same time reduce the negative impact upon the Belovezhskaya Pushcha ecosystem, where the science-based number of the animals of this species has already exceeded the optimum for the National Park, as scientists say. There are now 4.5 thousand bison in the world. The largest population (1.1 thousand) lives in Poland, the second largest one (over 1,080) is on the territory of Belarus.

Alena Yasko