Belarus names two new Ramsar sites

Belarus names two new Ramsar sites

6 September 2001
Belarus

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The Bureau is very pleased to report that the Government of Belarus has designated two more wetlands for the Ramsar List, effective 10 August 2001. Mid-Pripyat State Landscape Zakaznik (90,447 ha, 52°09’N 027°00’E), a State Landscape reserve, comprises a 120-km stretch of the Pripyat river floodplain dominated by alluvial, mainly oak forests, meadows, and lowland mires, used chiefly for haymaking, pasturing, and fishing. The area is a key waterbird nesting and stopover site, meeting both the 20,000 birds and 1% waterbird criteria for international importance (among others), and the river is crucial to the hydrological regime of the Polesie Lowland region and its groundwater and to the health of the Dnieper. Frequent flooding and lack of roads have contributed to a relatively low degree of development and correspondingly large numbers of undisturbed species of flora (725 species recorded) and fauna (36 mammals, 182 birds, 6 reptiles, 10 amphibians, and 37 fish). As one of the earliest settled regions of Belarus, archaeological sites abound, and traditional crafts and folklore have retained much more of their character than elsewhere in Belarus. Recent climate change effects, especially a decrease in winter precipitation, and possible pressure for anti-flooding engineering works may present threats, and water quality has been declining in recent years. Largely state-owned.

Olmany Mires Zakaznik (94,219 ha, 52°44’N 027°16’E), a National Landscape reserve, is one of Europe’s largest natural complexes of bogs and transitional mires, the site is particularly important for nesting and migrating waterbirds and a key nesting site for the globally threatened Spotted Eagle Aquilla clanga. The mires play a crucial role in the hydrological regime of the Pripyat river; sparse population and limited accessibility have contributed to the site’s functional integrity and its large numbers of flora and fauna species present. The reserve is situated on the nation’s largest military aviation training area, but military activities, largely localized, are said not to have caused any degradation of natural communities and by limiting civil development activities have actually helped to preserve the site’s natural characteristics. Berry and mushroom collection and recreational fishing are permitted in coordination with military schedules.