Importance and value of small rivers
The programme of restoration of hydrological territories of the park is under way in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha
By Sergey Smirnov
The restoration and stabilisation of the water regime of reclaimed forest ecosystems is being carried out under the Small Streams — Great Influence international project that is being financed by the Coca-Cola Corporation.
The project is directed at the preservation of stocks of moisture in the Pushcha forests by working on the small and seasonal waterways — the streams and small rivers. “In one sense, this project is an innovative one for the Belovezhskaya Pushcha, as it is the first time when it has paid attention to the small waterways, which at first sight seem insignificant, but are, in fact, of great importance from the point of view of their influence on the ecological regime,” said the Director of APB-BirdLife Belarus public organisaton, Victor Fenchuk.
Since the 1960s, a number of swamplands around the Belovezhskaya Pushcha area were drained and transformed into agricultural land. As a result of the economic activities during the present time, the level of ground waters in different parts of Pushcha decreased by 0.2-1.5 metres. Climate change and this deficiency of water have led to the considerable weakening of forest plantings.
The stabilisation of water project, in natural areas of Plyanta, Borushichi and Teplukhi starts now in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Water-retaining constructions will be erected. These will, mostly be in the form of simple dams, made manually using local materials like stones, trunks of fallen trees and soil. Engineering projects will be only developed if needed. The construction work outlined by the project is planned to be carried out during this year.