Nature Conservation in the Belarusian Marshland: The Pripiat National Park as Timber Source and Hunting Paradise

Thomas M. Bohn, Aliaksandr Dalhouski


Between the western tripoint where Poland, Belarus and Ukraine meet and the eastern tripoint of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, are the forests and swamps of Polesia that extend along the lowlands of the Pripiat River. Since the tsarist era, experts have referred to this landscape as the “Herodotus Sea” (more Gerodota). Indeed, despite the deforestation car¬ried out during the Breshnev-era, the area is still today flooded by meltwater every spring, creating an unparalleled spectacle of nature. Recently, the Belarusian media, disregarding the radioactive contamination caused by Chernobyl, has begun marketing this landscape in brochures and magazines as a “Belarusian Amazon” and the “green lung of Europe.” Although the river flows in an east-west direction near to the Ukrainian border, has its source in the northwestern tip of Ukraine and flows into the Dnieper River south of the Ukrainian town of Chornobyl’, around three quarters of the 725 kilometers course of the Pripiat is in Belarus.