Preserving pristine nature

Belarus encompasses huge wetland areas, crucial for a myriad of globally threatened species; and vast tracts of continuous old-growth forests that harbor significant populations of megafauna. In the south of the country, extending into neighboring Poland, Ukraine, and Russia, lies Europe’s largest remaining inland wetland wilderness: Polesia. The Pripyat, one of the last major rivers on the continent not straightened, diverted, or otherwise modified, flows through the heart of this area. Its water-covered landscapes, especially in spring, turn Polesia into a European Amazon, providing crucial feeding and breeding grounds for millions of migratory birds.

Vast tracts of contiguous old-growth forests have also survived in Belarus when so much of Europe’s forests have been lost. In the west of the country, bordering Poland lies one of the last great lowland virgin and old-growth forests on the continent: Bialowieza Forest. Large herds of bison roam here, and the forest is scattered with impressive veteran oak trees. Part of Bialowieza Forest has remained intact, while other parts have been heavily exploited, areas which now require restoration in order for their ecological integrity to return.

Our focus areas in Belarus

  • Developing protected areas
  • Administrative support to local NGOs and protected areas
  • Ecosystem restoration
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem monitoring
  • Community work and sustainable livelihoods
  • Public outreach
A European Goldfinch in Belarus. © Daniel Rosengren
Camera trap images are checked in the Bialowieza Forest, Belarus. © Daniel Rosengren
A team heads out from the Turov Bird Ringing Station to collect data along the Pripyat River in Polesia. © Daniel Rosengren
Polesia is a key site for migrating birds; Ruffs congregate in enormous numbers along the Pripyat River each year. © Daniel Rosengren
Bialowieza Forest harbors the world’s largest population of wild European Bison. © Daniel Rosengren
The Bialowieza Forest is famous for its giant old oak trees. © Daniel Rosengren
A Ruff is being measured and ringed so that their numbers can be monitored before it is released back into the wild. © Daniel Rosengren
An aerial view of the Pripyat River and its surrounding floodplain meadows, wetlands, and oxbow lakes in Polesia. © Daniel Rosengren
Red deer are common in the Bialowieza Forest, Belarus. © Daniel Rosengren
Many tourists come to observe nature in the Bialowieza Forest. © Daniel Rosengren
A free-flowing river in the Bialowieza Forest, restoring natural flow to straightened rivers is a project priority. © Daniel Rosengren
Sunrise over the Pripyat River floodplain in Polesia. © Daniel Rosengren

Project updates

  • 03/23/2021Project update

    Polesia’s vast Almany Mires Reserve expanded, securing more habitat for threatened species

    03/23/2021Project update

    Polesia’s vast Almany Mires Reserve expanded, securing more habitat for threatened species

    Almany harbours a rich diversity of species. Large predators like Eurasian lynx and wolf roam in search of prey, which also thrive in the area; The Almany Mires Nature Reserve now spans over 104,000 hectares.

  • 03/16/2021Project update

    Learnings from Ukraine’s Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

    03/16/2021Project update

    Learnings from Ukraine’s Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

    Two FZS researchers are using camera traps to examine wildlife within FZS projects in Europe that have different levels of human impact. Their findings aim to benefit decision-makers, assist with expanding protected areas, and measure the health of wildlife populations elsewhere.

  • 12/24/2020FZS in the media

    Chernobyl fears resurface as river dredging begins in exclusion zone (The Guardian)

    12/24/2020FZS in the media

    Chernobyl fears resurface as river dredging begins in exclusion zone (The Guardian)

    In July 2020, the dredging of the Pripyat began. This is part of constructing the 2,000km long E40 waterway linking the Baltic and Black seas, passing through Poland, Belarus and Ukraine. This goes against recommendations from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the Chernobyl exclusion zone should remain undisturbed.

Projects in Belarus

Milestones

Almany Mires Reserve in Belarus is expanded by 10,000 hectares.

2021

Salomienka River restoration completed.

2019

Start of ELP-funded project Polesia– Wilderness Without Borders.

2019

Dzikaje Mire restoration completed.

2019

Campaign work against the E40 waterway as part of the international Save Polesia coalition started.

2018

Restoration of Dziki Nikar completed.

2016

FZS initiates transboundary cooperation for the protection of Polesia, including in Belarus.

2012

West Polesie Transboundary Biosphere Reserve, Belarus/Poland/Ukraine, is designated.

2012

Extension of the Bialowieza National Park to Belarus, with the creation of Bielaviežskaja Pušča National Park.

1991

Bialowieza Forest is declared a cross-border UNESCO World Heritage Site.

1979

Contact

Zoologische Gesellschaft Frankfurt von 1858 e.V.
Bernhard-Grzimek-Allee 1
60316 Frankfurt

Telephone: +49 (0)69 - 94 34 46 0
Fax: +49 (0)69 - 43 93 48
E-Mail

You will find our office in the Zoogesellschaftshaus (4th floor).
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