NEWS ARCHIVE: December 2001

December 27, 2001 «Byelorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta» (The Byelorussian business newspaper) Newspaper #1088 Unique Pushcha

The most perspective activity of the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» is ecological tourism and hunt development. The revenue during current year is about 250 thousands of DM. About 60 thousands of tourists have visited the park. 10 of them are foreigners.

Today is very important to develop tourism infrastructure and good service industry, the director-general of the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» Nickolai Bambiza said. Now we are managing new tourist routs, reconstruction of zoo enclosures and the museum of nature.

At the beginning of December the park personnel visited the Polish part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Their aim was to adopt experience in tourism organization. As the result a variety of arrangements according to joint-cooperation in ecology, sciences and training of staff for Belovezhskaya Pushcha was designed. In particular, training of guide team will be carried out by assistance of Polish specialists.

Besides, Foreign Ministries of Poland and Belarus are studying possibilities connected with simplified tourist board crossing. It is known that Belovezhskaya Pushcha is divided into two parts — Polish and Belarusian. But there are some difficulties because Poland is entering NATO.

«Today within the framework of United Nations Educational and United Nations Development Programs the staff of Belovezhskaya Pushcha is studying two international projects of ecology education and tourism infrastructure development. The Park's management hopes that there will be possibility to get grants which let to work over the most important issues. Maybe it would be possible to create an International Ecology Education Center», the management of the Park said.

By the way today the Park includes 11 forestry administrative units and its territory is about 96 thousands of hectares. Here are guest houses and a restaurant. In the nearest future new ecological paths will be worked up and constructed.

Belovezhskaya Pushcha is divided into four zones. The first one is the Wilderness Protection Zone (18% of the whole territory, it is 17 thousands of hectares). Only scientific researches are conducted there. The second one is the Regulated Nature Zone. Here are some managing are carried out connected with safety of diversity of the Park. There is also the Regulated Recreational Use Area consisted of two sectors which are situated at north and south parts of the Park. Forests belonged to the collective farm property in the past cover this area. Recreation area is about 3.5 thousands of hectares. Administrative buildings are here as well as needs of employees of the Park are serviced.

Tourists visiting the Pushcha might be surprised by spots of dead trees, particularly spruce ones. This is the result of spruce bark beetle invasion. This is because the next numerous multiplication of the beetle in the Pushcha is the fact nowadays. Great deals of beetles are eating layer between the bark and wood substance and are coursing the lost of a tree. The invasion is supposed to be active again in spring. In the strictly protected zone the nature is fighting against the beetles' invasion herself. But in other zones special traps are hanging to localize and to prevent hot spots. Moreover, so called special trees-traps are set in these zones. Unfortunately, partial extraction of timber is necessary. By the way, sanitary cuttings are about 50 thousands of cubic meters. This year about 47 thousands of cubic meters were cut down.

Forest mortality by the natural way in the Park is over 200 thousands of cubic meters per year and wood increment is over 320 thousands of cubic meters. Today an average age of trees in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha is 110 years and some of the trees live over 250 years.

Svetlana SABILO