Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bialowieza primeval forest

What is a forest?

A forest is not always a tropical rainforest. In Europe and Canada, there are remnants of so-called boreal forests where it can be very cold.

Forests are forests that old man was left alone. They are complex and fragile ecosystems. Logging threatens their existence worldwide.

Bialowieza National Park

One of the last great ancient forests of the European lowlands, the Bialowieza National Park in eastern Poland and western Belarus. On the Polish side, the forest is 10,000 ha, the Belarusian side 77 000 ha. Together, the two areas 87 607 ha. It is Europe's largest forest, but a human activity which is least affected. In 1932 the reserve status Bialowieza National Park. For Poland, the Bialowieski Narodowy. In 1947, this nature reserve by UNESCO recognized as one of the four Polish Biosphere Reserves.

Bialowieza National Park entrance

Hunting Area of ​​Polish kings

The Bialowieza primeval forest has been little affected since the Polish kings and Russian zaren here had their hunting grounds. Most trees were preserved, but wolves and Wisents (European bison) were exterminated.

Personal impression

I visited the Bialowieza primeval beginning in June 2005. As the winter in Poland what longer than in the Netherlands, was the leaf of deciduous trees such as linden and hornbeam are spring green. In this forest grow amazingly thick and tall trees (up to 50 m). The oldest oaks are over 400 years old. Bielowieza is a mixed forest with linden, elm, oak, ash, willow, hornbeam, rowan, spruce and fir. There is a 300 years old lime tree in winter 46 m high with a diameter at breast height of 1.70 m.

A shrub willow that we only know is a mighty tree 30 m high. Under her bark contains a substance we know as aspirin. Everywhere in the wood of dead trees, the typesetter artistic patterns drawn. Woodpeckers have pine cones in the crevices of oak bark to quietly clipped the seeds out to pick. Trees that are old or sick are allowed to bring their bare branches remain among the living trees, after a while to fall or break off. The trees are snapped like natural sculptures among the forest plants that cover the ground. Storm or heavy snow are the cause of uprooted trees and broken branches. It is not 'cleared'. It takes 70 years before a fallen oak tree in the soil is gone. Will serve as housing and food for forest animals and plants. Colourful fungi growing on the bark, but the rare bosklaverzuring, ferns and mosses. Young ash trees growing on decaying logs of choice.

I photographed the inside of a dead oak tree trunk hollowed out by so many bosinsecten was that only the outer layer of the bark was left.

Significance of ancient forests for culture, art and history

Ancient forests are the place to frightening tales, legends in which heroes play an important role for fairy tales, robbers, witches and wolf children. According to tradition, the Jagiellonian oak 600 years old. She was named after King Jagiello who hunted in the 15th century on aurochs, bison, bears and tarpanpaarden. These wild horses he caught for his cavalry. Under an oak tree would have saved his tent to prepare for battles. He has his time in Poland flourished charged. This ancient forest giant in 1974 during an autumn storm crashed. He had a hollow trunk. Jagiellonian Oak

Animals in the jungle

The fauna of this unspoilt forest is particularly rich and includes approximately 12,000 species, most of which belong to the invertebrates. Many species are protected. Nesting in the Park about 120 species of birds, 7 species from the family of reptiles and 11 amphibians.

Symbol of the primeval forest, the bison, which I unfortunately did not see, because he was in the deeper part of the forest retreat commits. The wild bison were already extinct in 1919 and were reintroduced in 1929. The free-living herd currently includes in the Polish part of the forest about 250 animals.

54 mammal species live in Bielawieza: wolves, lynx, beavers, moose and bison.


Scientific research

Bielowieza is a known scientific center. Here, representatives of the Polish Academy of Sciences, University of Warsaw and the forestry research institute with bosdeskundigen from around the world. They have specialized in studies of natural forest ecosystems. tree fungus

Visit to the jungle

The forest can only be accessed with a guide. You walk along a path of 4 km length. It is not permitted to deviate from this path. Everything here protected and can not be trampled by human feet.

From May we recommend against the swarms of mosquitoes in the forest protection.

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