NEWS ARCHIVE: SEPTEMBER 2004

September 30, 2004 "Respublika" (The Republic) Newspaper, No 184 Unique natural property

Press-service of the President of the Republic of Belarus

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has signed Decree No 460 ratifying the Statutory Regulation on the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" which aims at preservation of Belarus' unique natural property.

The document defines the structure and measures of protection and use of the territory of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", defines the borders, area and structure of lands of the National Park, in particular of its Wilderness Protection Zone, Regulated nature Zone and Buffer Zone.

The measures provide for keeping the area's model and unique natural complexes, biological and landscape diversity in natural conditions. They also provide for restoration of disturbed ecosystems with special ecological, historical, cultural and aesthetic value.

The ratified normative legal documents form the basis for conducting effective conservation in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" and using the park for scientific, educational, sanitary and other public purposes.
September 28, 2004 "Belorusskaya Niva" (The Belarusian Field) Newspaper Potato cakes are tasty for Danes in stove hut without chimney

A group of thirty Danes have recently come to see the out-of-the-way village of Rozhkovka of the Kamenetz district located in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. A stove hut without chimney was of special interest to them. Its owner offered an unusual menu to the visitors: Belarusian potato pancakes with fat sebum, home-made sour cream, cheese and butter, some smoke-dried meat by the ancient recipes. And for the dessert he served fresh milk with bee honey in combs, birch juice, jam from curative berries. A rural bath was also there... The Danish tourists liked both the cuisine and "informal" dialogue with the local inhabitants.

Vladimir ALGERCHIK
September 18, 2004 "Minski Kuryer" (The Minsk Courier) Newspaper, No 426 Belovezhskaya Pushcha

Experts consider Belovezhskaya Pushcha a natural miracle. This 870 square kilometers ancient wood in western Belarus has retained its primeval character for over five hundred years. It used to be a part of boundless woods which once covered most of plains and uplands of Eastern Europe. But man broke the integrity of this European primeval forest like taiga by ruthlessly and randomly cutting down the woods for the sake of arable land, new settlements and various industrial structures. As a result, the huge wood areas that once existed have been sharply reduced.

Belovezhskaya Pushcha is only a small part of the primeval forest which used to cover this terrain. The Bialowieza National Park lies in the midst of it on land of over 53 square kilometers. One has to give due to Russian tsars and Polish kings, who used the forest as a hunting ground in the past and unconsciously helped save it in a natural state. Nowadays the national and international importance of Belovezhskaya Pushcha is broadly recognized. The National Park is protected by the state and is also the Biosphere Reserve and the World Heritage Site. The ancient woods of the park are remarkable for their greatly diversified flora, counting at least 26 species of trees. Pine, spruce, ash, hornbeam, alder, oak, birch, lime and asp trees are most commonly found. There are also grey-lopar willows and silver firs mixed growing with rocky oaks, native species from Western Europe. However, yew-trees which can be met all over Europe somehow did not take their roots here.

More than 700 species of flower-plants are registered in Belovezhskaya Pushcha while mosses and lichens are simply innumerable. The wood is at least 500 years old and some areas of it have never been cut or artificially planted. There are many natural glades around peat bogs, fen mires and meadows in Pushcha. Its diverse landscape contributes to a variety of the area's wildlife. It is here where large animals, including the brown bear, wolf, lynx, elk, wild bore, otter and beaver, find one of the last refuges in Europe. The extremely rare now bison populates the forest. If the reserved places are saved, these animals will also survive.

Belovezhskaya Pushcha is a home for a large number of various birds: more than 160 species of nesting birds are registered here - woodpeckers, fly-catchers, nutcrackers, snipes, as well as aquatic warblers live in bogs and fen mires. There are many predatory birds too, among them some species of eagles, the Montagu's harrier and nine species of owls.

The international importance of this virgin forest is obvious; therefore all steps are undertaken to ensure protection of both the forest and its diverse wildlife. Everything is being done so that future generations could also see how Europe looked five thousand years ago.

The other day the Polish party suggested expanding their tourist routes in Belovezhskaya Pushcha by allowing visits to the Belarusian part of the reserve. This question was discussed at the recent meeting of representatives of the administration of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" (Belarus) and the Bialowieza National Park (Poland). It is clear that the Polish party will derive the most of the benefit from the agreement since its reserved part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha makes up about five thousand hectares. But we should also profit from substantial growth of the tourists' flow: over 60 thousand tourists visited the Belarusian part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha last year while more than 100 thousands came to the Polish one. Foreign visitors are particularly interested in visiting the governmental residence "Viskuly", which became famous all over the world after dismantling of the Soviet Union, and also the Grandfather Frost's residence.
September 17, 2004 "Sovetskaya Byelorussia" (The Soviet Byelorussia) Newspaper, No 176 Flora under supervision

The fact...

Belarus is the second country in Europe after Great Britain to have accepted the national program on preservation of biological diversity of plants and communities.

... and the comment

"We are witnessing how many plants are quickly vanishing," academician Victor Parfenov, head of the Department of Flora and Herbarium of the Institute of Experimental Botany of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus and one of the authors of the program, told me. "We have lost more than 40 species for the last hundred years. Some species do not grow in our country anymore... Our program has been created on the basis of the Global European Strategy for plants' preservation taking into consideration national features and traditions. Its main aim is to stop the process of vanishing of unique plant species and natural complexes."

One more interesting news is Belarus is the first CIS country which successfully started realization of one of the main projects of the Strategy - Key Botanical Territories of Europe. Ten of our most valuable reserves, such as Berezinski and Belovezhskaya Pushcha, have been already included in the European network of major botanical sites. But there are still a lot of places in the country where unique plants grow. By 2010 we plan to secure all of them with special regime and so to take them under the state protection.

Marina ANISKOVETS
September 13, 2004 Interfax.by INDIGA helps Belovezhskaya Pushcha

The music group INDIGA, after the recent production of the album «Dni» which has been partially written by a Polish studio (the album record was a victory prize of the festival «Basovischŕ 2003» - editor's note), not only enjoys positive responses of «sharks» of the Belarusian musical journalism but also combines pleasant with useful.

Rusya, leader of the group, has returned after the end of vacation from relatives in Austria literally any day now. The group has masterly present a concert together with the group «Í.Đ.Ě» nearly the day of the soloist's arrival. Rusya, student of the linguistic faculty of the Belarusian State University, also helps to create English version of the website about Belovezhskaya Pushcha by own initiative.

The problem is that the future of Belovezhskaya Pushcha is in danger today, Rusya says. There has been intensive profit activity started in the unique wilderness complex using economical and management methods that threaten to destroy this unique virgin forest. After I got known that the authors of the website need the help of translators to create English website version I wrote a letter them and offered my assistance. Certainly it is huge work but I sincerely hope that I also contributed to rescue our natural reserve, - the INDIGA's leader admitted.