DU Wiki > Ă„mnen - Subjects > Tourism studies > KG3012 > Seminar 1 Cultural and natural World Heritage sites > Belarus by Hladkikh Olga > Belovezhskaya Pushcha
Table of contentsNo headers
In ancient times the territory of northern and eastern Europe was covered by forest. Throughout the history the forest was cut and destroyed. Over the last few centuries the forest used to be a hunting place for Russian, Polish and Lithuanian kings. During the wars and other human activities the forest was devastated and a lot of animals were killed. Belovezhskaya pushcha is a remaining part of that forest, which has been preserved till now and is considered a natural treasure of Europe. In 1992 it was announced a World Heritage site by UNESCO .
Belovezhskaya Pushcha is divided into two parts, Belarusian and Polish. The total area of the forest is over 2 thousand km2, with 1530 km2 located in Belarus. However, the strictly protected zone is only around 103 km2 with 50 km2 in Belarus. On the Belarusian side the protected zone is officially called The National Park Belovezhskaya Pushcha .
The forest is a lowland plain located between the Baltic and Black Seas. It contains peat bogs, as well as river and stream valleys. It is drained by 2 rivers, crossing the forest area in the north and the south. The average temperature in January is -5°C, and in June +18°C .
Belovezhskaya Pushcha is the last largest mixed foliage and pine forest in lowland Europe. It consists 90% of trees, the rest of the area is occupied by meadows, agricultural land, water, and bogs. It is claimed that in Belovezhskaya Pushcha has around 1000 trees that are 300-600 years old, as well as 38 nationally threatened plant species .
The fauna of Belovezhskaya Pushcha is represented by 68 mammal, 250 bird, 13 amphibian, 7 reptile, 26 fish species, and around 8,500 insect species. Many of them are listed in the Red Book of Belarus. The most well-known representative of the fauna is the European Bison. There are approximately 315 species on the Belarusian side at the moment. Other animals living in the forests are wolf Canis lupus, lynx Felis lynx, otter Lutra lutra and European beaver Castor fiber. There are large populations of red deer, roe deer, and wild boar. There are also around 300 elks Alces alces. The birds living in the forest are black and white stork, golden eagle, greater spotted eagle, white-tailed eagle, great snipe, corncrake, eagle owl, great grey owl, Eurasian curlew, and 9 species of woodpecker .
The National Park receives over 80 thousand visitors per year. The tourist facilities are quite developed and are offered at affordable prices. There are the Nature Museum, the Father Frost House (Eastern European Santa Claus), hotels, restaurants and cafes. Various excursions are offered throughout the year, including walking and cycling tours in summer .
It’s worth mentioning the attractive prices. The accommodation prices range from 10 to 100 Euros per person per night; renting a bicycle or roller blades costs about 1 Euro per hour; a 4-hour cycling tour costs around 1 Euro as well, and the service of a tour guide is just half a euro per hour . Therefore, Belarus offers a unique chance of enjoying the pristine nature at a very low cost.
The National Park Belovezhskaya Pushcha is managed by the General Director, 4 Deputy Directors for science & research, tourism, economy and trade, the General Forest Warden, and the Chief Bookkeeper.
· Until 1991 40 tons of pesticide and over 30,000 tons of fertilizer were used annually by large state farms within or close to the buffer zone, which caused misbalance in the natural condition of the forest.
· Drainage and land reclamation projects that began in the 1960s, with construction of roads and canals in the reserve, threatened important species in the forest, such as the Norway spruce, which is highly sensitive to changes in the ground water.
· Disease amongst the bison and invasion of the forest by alien plant species should be controlled and prevented.
· Illegal hunting by high officials among others should be restrained.
Large-scale government-sponsored commercial logging is the greatest danger to the forest. Under the economic pressures, inflation and lack of funds the government introduced a forest management regime, which increased commercial and agro-industrial use of the forest. This large-scale commercial logging was done without coordination with the Academic Council of the Park. The new Park management is said to have victimized and alienated the local people for their opposition to its policy .
, ,  http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/150478/
Powered by MindTouch Core