This biosphere reserve is a representative example of the southern European taiga zone, located some 100 km north-east of Minsk on the edge of the watersheds between the Black and Baltic Sea. Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve is a patchwork of boreal coniferous and broad-leafed forests, lakes, water-courses, marshlands, flood plains and represents one of the largest undrained peat bogs in Eastern Europe (11,000 hectares). Its wolves, bears and bison populations as well as the rich bird life attract many scientists.

Designation date: 1978
Administrative authorities:
Vitebsk region
Surface area:
131,700 ha
Core area:
27,200 ha
Buffer zone:
58,000 ha
Transition area:
46,500 ha

Human Activities

Main directions of human activities in the reserve are:

  • protection of the territory;
  • scientific research of forest dynamics, ornitofauna, ground fauna, rare species;
  • ecological education and information on the base of the Natural Museum, small Zoo and The House of Ecological Education;
  • ecological and educational tourism on the base of ecological pathes;
  • forest management on a non-intensive basis to supply local inhabitants with firewood;
  • agricultural activity in a limited scale.

Ecological Characteristics

The Berezinsky is situated in the temperate boreal nemoral zone. Geographical coordinates: latitude: 54°28'-54°50' North, longitude: 28°03'-28°29' East. Altitude: 155-227 m above sea level.

It is situated on the flat watershed of the Baltic and Black Seas, in low valley in the basin of the Berezina River. Landscape is a mosaic of coniferous and deciduous forests, lakes, peatlands (60 %), rivers, floodplain and small arable fields. Climate is temperate continental, humid, precipitation total: 690 mm/year. Average annual air temperature is 5.2 °C.

The Berezina is the main river in the reserve, flowing through its territory for over 110 km. There are 7 small lakes with the total area being about 2000 hectares in the reserve. The flora comprises more then 2000 species with 804 species of vascular plants (42 rare for Belarus).

The fauna includes 56 species of mammals (Ursus arctos, Canis lupus, Alces alces) and 230 species of birds. Major types of ecosystems are present: forests, mires, water bodies, and meadows. Forests are the main type of plant communities.

They cover 83.3% of the territory and comprise 4 formation groups: boreal coniferous forests of pine and spruce (56%); broad-leafed forests of oak, lime, and ash (1 %); deciduous mire forests of pubescent birch and black alder (34%); deciduous secondary forests of white birch, aspen, and gray alder (9%).The main ecological value is the richness of plant communities and fauna in a comparatively limited area, their primary natural state.  

Protection Classifications

The highest level of protection-natural reserve.

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                                                                                           Last updated : May 2012

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