The International Plant Protection Organisation highly appreciated efforts by Belarusian ecologists
For more than two years already Belarusian scientists have been participating in the implementation of an international ecological project “Key Botanic Territories”. Successful experience of Belarusian specialists is recommended for adoption in other countries-members of the project. The organisation also decided to allocate additional funding for Belarusian researchers.

The project “Key Botanic Territories” was launched in Western Europe in 1996. In Eastern Europe the project began in Belarus in February 2003. At present it is implemented in Great Britain, Greece, Czechia, Sweden, Estonia, Slovenia, and Turkey. The project is meant to create a European econetwork as the basis of a new-generation, more effective system of natural reserves.

In Belarus the project is implemented by the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Ministry and the Experimental Botany Institute with financial support of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fish Breeding of Holland.

During the project scientists examined 10 Belarusian objects and included them into the European network of key botanic territories. In particular, such territories as natural reserve “Blue Lakes” (Minsk Region), which includes 12 lakes with specific blue water, a hydrological reserve Yelnya (Vitebsk Region) — one of the largest European swamps, Gorodok heights (Vitebsk Region) with its unique system of moraine-lake-hill landscapes, lakes, and swamps, national park Belovezhskaya Puscha (Brest Region), where fragments of once wide-spread deciduous forests of the plains with relic plants are preserved, national park Pripyatski (Gomel Region), where one can find every type of forest and swamps characteristic for Polesse, entered the list. The list also includes such Belarusian objects as Berezino biosphere reserve (Vitebsk Region), where around 800 species of plants, 250 species of moss and 250 species of lichen grow, Polesse state radiological reserve (Gomel Region).

The key botanic territories were distinguished using criteria developed and adopted by the Planta Europa Organisation. Three main characteristics were taken into account during the examination. For example, botanists paid attention to the flora, which is rare in Belarus and Europe, took into account the specific character of ecosystems: forests with rare plant combinations, swamps, lake and small river systems. Overall variety and abundance of species was the third criterion.

by Irina Borisenko
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