Biodiversity

 

Biodiversity means the variety of forms of life considered at three levels: of ecosystems, species and genes.

Biodiversity in Białowieża Forest stems from its location on the borderline of different climate and geographic zones – northern (boreal) and southern, as well as, continental and oceanic ones. What can be mentioned among the boreal aspects is for example spruce bog forest. Typical northern species are great grey owl, Tengmalm’s owl, nutcracker, three-toed woodpecker. In the plant world these are, for instance, cloudberry and oligotrophic plant communities like in Michnówka Reserve. For many species, however, the forest marks the north-eastern edge of their range. Such is the case of sessile oak (Lipiny Reserve) and fir (Cisówka Reserve on the Belarusian side), and among bird species – of firecrest and short-toed treecreeper, and for the vicinity of the forest – of barn owl and bee-eaters.

Another factor contributing to the diversity of the forest is the fact that the whole spectrum of forest stands has been preserved here. They range from the fertile to barren ones and from dry to boggy ones.

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Differentiation of trees’ age is also crucial – from the youngest to the oldest, even over 500-year-old as in the case of oaks. Moreover, all phases of forest’s development can be observed here: the juvenile, mature, senile ones and the phase of dead wood necessary for plenty of fungi, insect and bird species. Notably, the amount of dead wood is very high.

What is significant, the forest constitutes a large, coherent piece of woodland. Therefore, it creates good conditions for species occurring only in such habitats and disappearing from transformed landscape. The forest is a refuge for bison, lynx, wolf, deer as well as capercaillie and golden eagle.

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It should also be mentioned that in the forest some unique ecotypes of pine, spruce and oak have developed. Some features of these trees are nowhere else to be encountered. What is more, in the forest some primeval behaviours of animals can be observed, for example, swifts and stock doves nesting in tree hollows, the same about bats, too.

Undoubtedly, only slight pollution of the region contributes to the good condition of nature. Due to it many lichens are recorded here, among them those very sensitive to pollution and less and less common like Usnea or Lobaria pulmonaria.

Finally, the vicinity of Siemianówka Lake and of open fields and meadows makes biodiversity even greater, creating good conditions for many species, such as lesser spotted eagle that hunts in the meadows.

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Fast facts about the forest:

– vascular plants – over 1000 species, among them 19 species of ferns, 6 of clubmosses, 7 of horsetails, 54 of liverworts, over 200 of moss, 26 of trees, 55 of shrub, 14 of dwarf-shrub;

– fungi – about 3500 species;

– lichens – about 1600 species (among them those most sensitive to pollution)

– animals – over 12000 species 95% of which are represented by invertebrates (many species still to be classified), over 30 species of fish, 12 of amphibians, 7 of reptiles, about 250 of birds (about 170 breeding species), 58 mammal species.


Europejski Fundusz Rolny na rzecz Rozwoju Obszarów Wiejskich. Europa inwestująca w obszary wiejskie. Projekt współfinansowany ze środków Unii Europejskiej w ramach osi 4 Leader. Program Rozwoju Obszarów Wiejskich na lata 2007-2013. Projekt zrealizowany przez Stowarzyszenie Metamorphosis. Instytucja zarządzająca Programem Rozwoju Obszarów Wiejskich na lata 2007-13 Minister Rolnictwa i Rozwoju Wsi