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Detailed plan activities

3.1. To analyze modern landscape uses and review landscape expectations
3.1.1. To collect data on landscape uses of the representative part of the Neman basin
To analyze actual uses of the Baltic Landscape Neman area the following information about natural resources, social and economic situation and laws and regulations on natural resources management were used:
- planning and cartographic data – review topographic map presenting the boundaries of farming land uses at a scale of 1 to 200000, geographical atlas of Grodno region, topographic, geomorphological, soil and geobotanical maps of Korelichi and Novogrudok districts, national atlas of the Republic of Belarus;
- environmental survey data – forest inventory plans of Novogrudok forestry enterprise at a scale of 1 to 25000; data on cutting in the area, land information system of Korelichi and Novogrudok districts, plans of water protection zones and riparian areas, soil maps data, justification for establishing or reorganizing of nature conservation areas, cadastral evaluation of farming lands, plan of comprehensive territorial management of Novogrudok and Korelichi districts; plans of rational distribution of nature conservation areas;
- planning documents, laws and regulations – National program of social and economic development of the republic of Belarus for 2011-2015 (to be implemented in Novogrudok and Korelichi districts); measures to promote agro- and ecotourism in the Republic of Belarus; regulations on the assignment of forests to protections groups and categories, change of forest groups and categories and allocation of conservation forests; requirements to national environmental network support and criteria of environmental network areas; National program of tourism development for 2011-2015; National program of forestry development for 2011-2015; Nation program “Peat” for 2008-2010 (extending to 2020).

3.1.2. To analyze current landscape uses in the representative part of the Neman basin

Based on the topological and topographical soil identification as a criterion of spatial location of landscapes and geosystems with unique soil and vegetation structures, a landscape map of Baltic Landscape Neman geosystems was made.
Morphological and functional-genetic approaches were combined by the review and analysis of soil and vegetation cover as soil combinations (geosystems). The analysis of regularly repeated soil structures (according to criteria shown in Table 1) made it possible to solve the problem of combining typological, regional and functional (systematic) landscape approaches.
To improve spatial positioning, class-layers of hydrographic characteristics and population centres were added to the database together with remote sensing data. Digital indicator of soil combination was used to mark a unit of geospatial and statistical analysis.
Planning and cartographic data on natural factors together with geological, hydrogeological and geomorphological data and information about soil and geobotanical conditions and landscape served as a source material for the study. The data of local land information systems of Novogrudok and Korelichi districts as one of the subsystems of the country’s land resources were added to the geodata base as information about the current land use in the Neman basin.
The results of the study made it possible to elaborate the legend and composition of general cartographic data presenting the boundaries of geosystems with the characteristics of their actual ecological state and anthropogenic (primarily thermal and chemical) impact resistance allowing for dangerous geomorphological processes.
Taxonomic differentiation and location of vegetation cover types were used as an additional indicator of engineering-geological conditions when assessing geomorphological and environmental risks of geosystems activity and structural arrangement of the ecosystems.
According to the landscape map of the geosystems distribution in the Neman basin there are 36 geosystems, each of them containing data on their area, relief, geomorphological characteristics, parent rock lithology, soil types and their proportion in soil combinations. The report gives data on integrated characteristics of the geosystems most typical to Novogrudok and Korelichi districts.
Landscapes (geosystems) are divided into alluvial (inundated) and interfluvial (noninundated). Special attention is paid to the interfluvial landscapes which are characterized by relative topographic elevations with water runoff (watersheds) and topographic lows accumulating the water running off the watersheds (depressions). In the study area watersheds are the most common geosystems (75%); depressions and alluvial lands make up 25%.
According to their geomorphological characteristics, watersheds are divided into “broken” (no continuous divide) watersheds – young moraine ridges and elevations; “arching” watersheds (rolling plains) – flattened moraines and large glaciofluvial aggradations; “flat” watersheds – undulating glaciofluvial, glacial lake and glacioalluvial plains. As to their elevation, there are “high” and “low” watersheds, shallow depressions (with prevailing mineral soils) and deep depressions (mostly peaty).
Depressions are topographic lows of a valley- or lake-type (compact) shape characterized by prevailing waterlogged or boggy soils.
According to their granulometric and lithological composition parent rocks are grouped as follows: light moraine loams, moraine loams with irregular sandy loam, sand-underlain loams, glaciofluvial sands and peat. Pollution resistance of geosystems is described. Environmental risks are defined by the ability of natural systems to resist anthropogenic impact, they can be described by geosystem resistance indicators. These are determined by two factors: 1 – the kind of runoff, i.e. its self-cleaning ability; 2 – nonexchangeable cation adsorption (cation exchange capacity). The table also contains representative types, i.e. edificators. They perform main habitat-forming functions of a biogeocenosis. The cenoses having different edificators differ in the intensity of their habitat-forming functions as well as in their resistance to external impacts. Within the study area such edificators are spruce, pine, birch and oak. Often several wood species have habitat-forming functions and the main edificators can be changed as a result of succession.
All geosystems are divided into five resistance groups. Group I (resistant) making up 60% of the area with 11 geosystems contains mainly high broken and high arching watersheds. It can be derived from the Table that high arching watersheds with binomial aquacluded rocks (N9) make up 63% of the geosystem, high broken watersheds with the same composition make up 16.4% (N2) while high arching watersheds with binomial rocks without aquaclude make up 9% (N8).
Group II (resistant above-average) with 14.2% of the area comprises 15 geosystems. These are mostly low broken (N5, 11%), high arching (N6, 11.1%) and low arching watersheds (21.5%) with soft binomial rocks without aquaclude. This group also includes central alluvial lands with soft (N34, 18.7%) and cohesive alluvium (N35, 9.1%). Other geosystems have only very minor area here.
Group III (medium-resistant) comprises 6 geosystems with 10.4% of the area. The depressions are shallow valley-type (N22, 10.9%), with soft binomial rocks without aquaclude (N23, 22.8%) and lake-type (N26, 17.4%) with soft binomial rocks without aquaclude. Central soft alluvium lands (N34, 18.7%) are also medium-resistant.
Group IV (resistant below-average) comprises 14 landscape types with 10.7% of the area. Not infrequently these are watersheds: high flat with soft binomial rocks without aquaclude (N16, 9.4%), low flat with transition and high peat (N21, 14.9%). But mostly such geosystems represent deep lake-type depressions with transition peat (N28, 41.2%). There are central medium-level alluvial lands with bottom peat (N36, 8.6%) as well.
Group V comprises nonresistant geosystems with their share in the area being low (4.3%). They are represented by 8 landscapes with only two landscapes making up 85%. One of them is characterized by deep lake-type depressions with transition peat (N28, 42.9%), the other being central medium-level alluvial land with bottom peat (N36, 43.8%).
Table 2 also illustrates the land structure of Baltic Landscape Neman where farmlands cover 141173 ha (53%); 65% of these lands belonging to resistance group I. Forested lands occupy 94898 ha (35%); 54% of these lands belonging to resistance group I. Water bodies have 8170 ha (3%); 26% of them belonging to resistance group III, slightly less than 25% to resistance group I. Built-in areas, roads and communication networks cover 17621 ha (7%) with predominant 70% belonging to resistance group I. Disturbed, unused and other lands cover 5552 ha (2%) with 52% of these lands belonging to resistance group I.
To sum up the above information we can say that farming uses involve mainly nonresistant geosystems (63% of group V) with only 5% of the total area. Geosystems of group IV are least used for farming (39%) with maximum forested landscapes (52%) whereas group V has the minimum share of forests (26%). Group III is the most supplied with water with rivers and lakes making up 7% of its area, the least water-supplied if group I (1%). Group I has the largest percentage of buildings, roads and communication networks (8%), group V has the smallest share (2%), i.e. 52% of buildings, roads and communication networks are in group I, only 65 of them are in group V.
The collected data served as a basis for a map of the Baltic Landscape Neman current uses. It shows not only different land types but also the allocation of land users taking into account the legal regime of lands. It analyses the data on landscape modern uses both within administrative units (village councils, district councils) and within nature systems, i.e. soil combinations (geosystems) with regard to prospective land management based on soil and resource potential and economic environment.

3.1.3. To review expectations for landscape uses by interviewing stakeholders and analyzing current trends.
Trends of economic use of the Baltic landscape Neman area were analyzed. The landscape expectations were reviewed according to the following uses:
- farming;
- forestry;
- recreational;
- nature conservation.
Local population was interviewed during discussion meetings in Novogrudok where prospective landscape uses based on the elaborated coordinating map were discussed.
The current trends analysis and detailed large-scale study were carried out regarding forestry use of the Baltic Landscape. All cutting types and sanitary-protective forest inventory activities were analyzed in the geoinformation environment in all forest station of Novogrudok forestry enterprise of Novogrudok and Korelichi districts: Berezovskoye, Vselyubskoye, Eremichskoye, Izvenskoye, Korelichskoye, Lovtsovskoye, Lyubchanskoye, Mirskoye, Nalibokskoye, Novogrudskoye, Svityazyanskoye, Shchorsovskoye. More than 6.9 thousand sites in the geodata base were inventoried taking into account the geosystems distribution.
All cutting types as well as forest regeneration and other activities were divided into four groups according to their target function: forestry functions (main and accessory), forest protective functions, forest regenerative and sanitary functions (main and accessory).
To match a cutting type or forest regenerative activity to the natural resistance of the Baltic landscape area, geospatial analysis approach with regard to geosystems distribution was used.
The most optimum balance of forest inventory activities appears in the most resistant geosystems where main and accessory forestry activities (final cuttings, regeneration and restocking cuttings and other activities) are supplemented with considerable forest protective, forest regenerative and sanitary activities, principally the following:
- forest plantations on unforested areas;
- assistance to natural regeneration;
- continuous and partial replanting of low-value forest stands;
- additional plantation of forest stands;
- final and selective sanitary cuttings.
All the target functions of the forest inventory activities have approximately equal share in the geosystems of resistance groups II and III: about 7-9% is made up by forestry main functions, 61-62% by forestry accessory functions and 11-13% (16-21%) by forest protective, forest regenerative and sanitary main (accessory) functions. Of some concern in this case is a too large percentage (more than 62% or about 2.0 thousand ha) of forestry accessory activities in the group of medium-resistant geosystems. This is mostly typical to low arching watersheds with soft parent rocks without aquaclude.
Special emphasis should be placed on the downsides of forest protective, forest regenerative and sanitary activities in nonresistant and highly nonresistant geosystem groups. In group IV we can observe forestry accessory activities on 680 ha out of 1034 ha that cause an imbalance between forest exploitation and forest regeneration whereas in group V these lands occupy over 2.0 ha. Highly nonresistant geosystems experience fewer forestry activities only compared to groups I and II of resistant geosystems.
At the same time we can observe a violent contrast between main forestry activities (final cuttings with the subsequent natural reafforestation) and main forest protective, forest regenerative and sanitary activities making up 15.7% and 7.4% respectively whereas respective max. 5.0% and min. 35% are to be kept to minimize environmental risks. These least resistant geosystems are located in the north-eastern and north-western parts of the Baltic Landscape Neman and primarily comprise transitional and upland bogs, waterlogged parts of the Neman central floodplain, high flat watersheds with soft parent rocks without aquaclude characterized by slow water runoff and low cation exchange capacity.
The results of the analysis of land use and forestry inventory data, social and economic situation and current land use trends in the study area make it possible to develop the following landscape expectations:
- no imbalance between forestry and forest protective (incl. forest regenerative, sanitary) activities, in particular, in the areas with low anthropogenic load resistance;
- more diversified pattern structure of farming land use, no large areas under intensive cultivation, especially in Korelichi district;
- partial land use transformation in low-resistant and minimum-resistant geosystems (introduction of natural frame activities, e.g. bog reformation);
- use of landscape-adaptive farming system based on the qualitative agroecological assessment of soils;
- reduced intensity of land cultivation, meadow formation and afforestation of conservation zones of water bodies, primarily of the Neman river;
- management and equal distribution of recreational load in leisure and recreational areas not to disturb natural ecosystems and biological and landscape diversity;
Introduced outputs: a map of landscape resistance to be used by PP 3.
3.2. To study and review landscape uses in other Baltic States.
3.2.1. To organize a study tour of Baltic landscapes
During project implementation two study tours were made: BL Helge River (Sweden, 4.02.2013, two WP coordinators) and BL Warta (Poland, 2.10.2013, two WP coordinators, three experts and a translator). It proved very useful to get familiar with other partners’ experience in identifying and solving problems in the field.
3.2.2. To take part in international project workshops on balancing different landscape values and interests
Distant (online) participation in international thematic project meetings on balancing different values and interests in landscapes through websites of other BLs (Bergslagen and Helge River in Sweden, Illomantsi in Finland, Mazury and Warta in Poland).
Introduced outcomes: partners’ experience to be adopted for identifying and solving landscape problems.

3.3. To work out recommendations on long-term landscape use of the representative part of the Neman basin
3.3.1. To analyze capacity of the landscape in the representative part of the Neman basin with due regard to stakeholders’ interests and current trends
Analysis of forest exploitation. Forest is one the most important nature resources of the Republic of Belarus. For the last 60 years the forest cover of the country has almost doubled and is continuously growing. The forest fund of Belarus comprises over 9.4 mln ha, its forest cover being 39%. The standing crop is estimated to be 1.6 bln m3. There is 0.86 ha of forested lands per capita.
As a result of planned management of wood cutting volumes, especially final cuttings (for harvesting wood) the total stand volume has increased 1.6 times, the ripewood volume making up 202 mln m3. In 1989 the old growth share was as little as 2.3%, now it approaches 11%.
Human economic activities and intensive use of nature resources, including forest exploitation, have caused considerable degradation of forests (increased mortality, accumulation of dead wood, recurrent mass drying of spruce and ash stands, etc.). Subsequently, these factors lead to a considerable inefficiency of forest growing as prescheduled cuttings are required. Therefore forests of Belarus are regularly monitored to identify extremely disturbed forest ecosystems and to solve the resulting problems of forest management in the affected areas.
It should be noted that all forests of the republic are state-owned and subjected to centralized management and exploitation. By implementing principles of sustainable forest management and exploitation, the forestry sector not only ensures annual height increment but also contributes to sustainable social and economic development of the country and its economic, energetic, environmental and food security.
Traditional wood consumers (construction industry, furniture-manufacturing, pulp-and-paper industry, wood chemical industry) have been supplemented with bioenergetics and bioplastics production. By 2030 the roundwood needs are forecasted to grow by 40% in view of the forthcoming economic growth in the developing countries and increase of per-capita income.
The changing consumers and consumption volumes of wood products call for the intensified forest growing to provide a stable raw materials base to cover the needs of forest complex and bioenergetics.
Further capacity building of the forest industry, development and increased efficiency of reforestation, forest protection, rational utilization of forest resources is required using the technological advances and taking into account modern trends of the world economy development. In this connection, a vital task is to analyze the current forest exploitation in the representative part of the Neman basin and to elaborate proposals on its optimization with due attention to international experience.
Forest exploitation is a factor that regulates forest fund and enables optimal age structure in the given forest-growing and economic conditions.
For the analyzed period Novogrudok forestry enterprise has harvested 330.1 thousand m3 of commercial wood, including 117.5 thousand m3 by final cutting (35.6%), 144.0 m3 by intermediate cutting (43.6%) and 68.6 m3 by other cutting types (20.8%).
As to final cutting types, currently clear cutting prevails with 72.7%, gradual and selective cuttings make up 27.7% of the total harvested volume of commercial wood.
This ratio of final cutting types is easy to explain; the volumes of partial cutting can be increased only marginally as they require forest stands with matchable silvicultural and taxation characteristics.
As there are not many sites to allocate gradual and selective cutting activities in the area of Novogrudok forestry enterprise, the volumes can vary within 25-30% of the total harvested wood.
Intermediate cuttings comprise 78.1% of wood harvested by improvement thinning, 21.3% by selective sanitary cutting, only 0.6% by regeneration, restocking and conversion cuttings. Therefore, more thorough selection of sites should be recommended in forests of group I to increase the volume of regeneration cuts.
Other cutting types comprise almost half of clear sanitary cutting, the other half is debris harvesting to maintain forests in a due sanitary condition.

3.3.2. To develop proposals for the sustainable forest management in BL Neman
Proposals to optimize forest exploitation (stakeholders: Novogrudok forestry enterprise, RUE “Belgosles”):
- to increase the area of the forest sites with completed activities to assist natural reafforestation under the forest canopy;
- to gradually increase the share of final cuttings with understory of young regeneration;
- to consider the taxator’s instructions on reafforestation of a given forest site as recommended only. Final decision is to be taken by the supervisory staff of a forest station;
- to financially encourage the foresters for cuttings being made with understory of young regeneration, partial cuttings. The undertaken analysis of the forestry enterprise documentation (incl. Nonconformance Reports about final cuttings with understory of young regeneration) shows that the foresters are not interested in such cuttings and activities to assist natural reafforestation;
- to register and take control of new forest sites with rare or endangered flora and fauna (previously not registered with the forestry enterprise documentation and forest management records) during fieldwork. This can be done by the forestry enterprise staff in cooperation with specialists of nature conservation and research institutions;
- to register and take control of new forest sites with increased habitat diversity and other high nature-value forests in the forest fund of the enterprise during fieldwork (as presently registered nature conservation aspects are mostly static). This can be done by the forestry enterprise staff in cooperation with specialists of nature conservation and research institutions;
- to select and register representative forest sites in accordance with the forest certification requirements in the taxator’s record card (or taxator’s portative PC) during field work (at present the record of representative sites is not kept during fieldwork, there are no codes for such sites);
- to grant key habitats the status of designated areas in the simplified environmental network system which may already contain existing designated areas, new forest sites registered during fieldwork by the forestry enterprise staff in cooperation with specialists of nature conservation and research institutions.

Proposals to improve coupe demarcation and taxation methods:
- to increase the accuracy of standing forest inventory of valuable species and stands;
- to modify methods of stand volume inventory;
- to use more sampling inventory methods for coupe demarcation and taxation; to create a system of continuous taxation quality control;
- to develop and introduce a GPS and GIS system to mark the boundaries of coupes and other forested areas, forest transportation and forest mapping;
- to introduce the IT systems to forestry enterprises and associations (GIS should be used to mark current changes);
- to develop an industry-specific IT system to control the forest cut;
- to separate supervisory and forest exploitation functions at all hierarchical levels: a forest site, forest station, forestry enterprise, forestry association, the Ministry of Forestry;
- to create necessary conditions for marketing of coupe taxation services, forest survey, forest product taxation services.

Improvement of the existing practices of harvested forest inventory:
- to review the existing laws and regulations of harvested forest inventory (GOST 2708-75); it is necessary to redefine the top diameter method taking into account the average taper in the lots of measured roundwood (to amend the dimensions in GOST 2708-75 table according to the real taper dimensions);
- to develop new IT-based harvested forest inventory methods;
- to explore the opportunity of using the harvester data to inventory the harvested forest;
- to systemize the logging foreman’s work and to review his job description in order to ensure real-time and quality inventory of the harvested forest;
- to develop new harvested forest inventory methods for IT-based stock control;
- to upgrade the qualification of wood acceptance specialists;
- to appoint people in charge of timber inventory and quality control;
- to share legal responsibility and duties of forest service officers;
- to create and introduce an automated IT-based inventory of roundwood (bolts) for export and domestic market supplies (digital photos of the stacked bolts ends should be used);
- to elaborate a special shipping document for the harvested forest;
- to develop an inventory system of sold forest products within the industry-specific inventory system.

Further greening of forestry (logging) production:
- highly-qualified professionals to promote green intensive forestry;
- thorough planning (forest inventory) of final and intermediate fellings with regard to landscape values of the Neman river valley to optimize formational and age structure and increase the area of natural forests;
- use of environmentally sound cutting methods taking into account specific characteristics of a given taxation plot (forest site, area) such as: origin, age, form and composition of a forest stand, forest type, relative density, young growth presence, other components of a forest stand, their diversity, etc.;
- maximum conservation of forest stand diversity when cutting, minimum damage to the remaining standing trees, young growth, undergrowth, ground vegetation, forest floor, etc.;
- effective performance of the technological processes of mechanical fellings by modern harvesters and other ecologically sound machines, including forest stands damaged by storm winds, fires, snowbreaks, biotic factors, etc.

Enhanced resistance of stands composed of forest-forming tree species to nature (climatic) and anthropogenic factors:
- assessment of the forest stands condition after being exposed to extreme nature and anthropogenic impacts in the Neman river basin;
- specific ecosystems operation under extreme nature and anthropogenic impacts;
- planning of forestry activities which have minimum disturbing effect on ecosystems under extreme nature and anthropogenic impacts;
- forest stands planting under intensive anthropogenic pollution of the environment;
- forestry activities in forestry stands under extreme water-based impacts;
- disaster management in forests stands affected by heavy wind storms;
- activities to mitigate negative biotic factors affecting forest growth;
- activities to mitigate extreme temperature impacts;
- activities to mitigate the forest fire consequences;
- forest management under recreational load.

Forest protection:
- fire protection;
- forests pests control;
- forest disease control;
- wild animals control;
- anthropogenic impact control.

The following printed materials were prepared: booklet “Proposals on sustainable forest management in Baltic Landscape Neman”, booklet “Experimental facility of Berezovskoye experimental and production forest station of Novogrudok forestry enterprise”, booklet “Ecological trail in the Neman valley”.

Recommendations on sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation

Taking into consideration the necessity to conserve diversity-rich forests, populations of rare and protected species of flora and fauna, to maintain sustainability and biodiversity of forests cenoses and to mitigate threats, there are two types of activities: 1) aimed at preserving the integrity of forest massives and the complex nature area and 2) aimed at preserving individual parts of the forest canopy, areas with vegetation cenoses of special value and habitats of rare animals and plants.
In rare and endangered biotopes only those activities can be planned and carried out which allow maintaining the ecosystems structure in the state close to natural and facilitate successions.
In especially valuable forested areas sanitary cutting and improvement thinning are allowed. During coupe demarcations there are certain restrictions for these cutting types; the below-listed activities are required:
- the following trees are preserved (not cut): hollow trees, bizarre form trees, ancient trees (more than 100 years old for conifers, oak and ash, more than 80 years for old for other tree species), rare tree species, especially broad-leaved (elm, maple, linden, ash, oak, spruce) and rare tree forms (karelian birch, cynoglossum birch, burr birch, colarette pine, serpentiform spruce), individual large-sized dead trees (up to 10-15 trees per 1 ha) and top-dry trees (up to 5 trees per 1 ha), former-generation trees, trees with nests and thick low branches (nesting-friendly);
- harvesting of windfall, wind-thrown trees, high stumps is done only in those areas and to the volumes required to carry out sanitary cutting or improvement thinning;
- thinning is made so as to assist the growth of all-aged mixed forest stands. This can be achieved by making “windows” in the canopy; the “windows” are 0.01-0.02 ha in area and there are 7-12 “windows” per 1 ha located primarily in young growth areas;
- burning is prohibited to free cutting areas from wood scrap; after course crushing it is scattered around the forest site;
- wheeled and caterpillar machinery is not used outside existing forest road tracks;
- in winter cuttings in such forest sites are made only with snow cover;
- garbage is disposed by burning (outside the forest site) or removing;
- if there are any springs or streams, all activities are to be carried out not less than 25 m away from the spring neck, spring field edge and stream bank.
Introduced outputs:
- booklet “Sustainable forest management”;
- booklet and demonstration site “Strip-gradual felling in mossy pine forest”;
- brochure “Ecological trail “Neman Valley”
- online information about Red Book flora species of Novogrudok district and high conservation value sites (Baltic Landscape Neman website www.baltik.belstu.by).

3.3.3. To elaborate proposals for the development of hunting and ecological tourism and recreational use of the landscape
Proposals for recreational landscape uses
In recent decades the demand for recreational services has grown due to the increased share of urban population (now 76.6%), improved welfare and transport accessibility. Forested and water landscapes and their adjacent areas play an important role for recreational services. At the same time, heavy recreational load combined with poor recreational facilities may result in the loss of ecosystems sustainability and their degradation.
The representative landscape part of the Neman river valley has a number of advantages in terms of recreation:
- unique and esthetically valuable nature sites (Lake Svityaz, picturesque Neman valley, etc.);
- rich and old history of the area, many historical and cultural attractions and sites throughout the area;
- good transport accessibility.
However, the tourist infrastructure, the range of rendered services and recreational facilities require further development.
Based on the interviews with the project stakeholders, a list of prospective partners was made who are concerned with the recreational use of the representative part of the Neman basin, with the solution of related problems and openness of the related information:
Novogrudok forestry enterprise, local population, village councils, Novogrudok district council, Korelichi district council, Novogrudok-Tour company, farmsteads, recreation camps, “Svityaz” department of Magistralny sanatorium, schools).
Summarizing the results of the discussion meetings with Novogrudok forestry enterprise staff and local population (15.07.2013, 09-10.09.2013) and the collected data analysis, it was possible to determine existing well-planned and uncontrolled sites which are most popular with holiday makers.
17 sites of heavy recreational landscape use were determined in the Neman basin, their location was marked on the landscape map of the Neman basin in Quantum GIS. More than half of them are situated on the Neman river banks or close to them. Almost all recreational sites are located not far from water bodies or large population centres and historical sites. Most of them are equipped with recreational facilities of some kind (pavilions, tables, etc.) while many remain unequipped at all.
The sites are used by local population and tourists for recreation, stopovers or overnights. Some sites 14 and 15 (quarters 86 and 33) were dedicated by RUE “Belgosles” for out-of-town recreation of Novogrudok population.
Besides there are other recreational sites frequently used by local population (e.g. springs in Svityazanskoye forest station located southward quarter 15, etc.). Along high roads there are small equipped sites used by drivers for refreshment.
All recreational sites with one exception do not experience considerable negative impacts due to a moderate amount of visits because of the underdeveloped infrastructure or short period of use. Lake Svityaz enjoys the greatest popularity with holiday makers.
This natural site has many features which make it unique and attractive for people:
- round-shaped lake with flat sandy bottom, transparent water and uniform water level make it comfortable for family recreation;
- there are rare aquatic flora species in the lake, a shellfish species was found that is typical only of French, Belgian and German lakes;
- historical value of the lake is associated with Adam Mickiéwicz, the poet who devoted three of his works to the lake, with the legend about its origin and proximity of other historical sites;
- good transport accessibility;
- some recreational infrastructure (beaches and individual recreational facilities);
- the lake is surrounded by forests, old oak forests (a 300-year-old oak as a natural monument), old spruce forests.
All the above factors result in considerable recreational loads. According to some data and reports of local population, the numbers of holiday makers in summer season come up to 10-20 (30) thousand people at weekend in good weather and 6-7 thousand people on weekdays. Such recreational impacts cause forest damage and forest ecosystems disturbance.
The state of the lake-surrounding forest ecosystems which are actively used for recreation was studied (09.09.2013), recreational facilities were assessed according to the effective regulations [8], weekend visits to the forest were calculated (20.07.2013 and 04.08.2013) [9]. To identify current problems, local population (Valevka and Miratichi villages), Svityazyanskoye forestry station staff and holiday makers (20.07.2013, 04.08.2013, 09.09.2013) were interviewed.
The arrangement of transportation routes around the lake allows recreational use of its shore line. The largest recreational areas are located on its south-western, southern and south-eastern shores with transport access via P5 highway (Baranovichi – Novogrudok – Ivye). Most holiday makers prefer the south-western shore in close proximity to P5 highway. This area is characterized by the highest level of recreational infrastructure. It has a grassy beach with 2 pavilions, 4 changing huts, litter-bins and garbage containers, a table with rough wooden furniture, a pier linked to the pavilions and the highway, public convenience, a rescue station, two free car parking zones and one parking-meter zone for 1000 parking spaces, a tent-camping area with a shed and pavilions across the road. In summer there are vending stalls with food, drinks and souvenirs. There are no such recreational facilities on the southern and south-eastern shores.
The drive way from Miratichi village leads to the second popular recreational area located on the eastern and north-eastern shores. The recreational facilities here are considerably less developed. Due to the fall in water level a narrow sandy beach was formed here (figure 3). There are public conveniences, a bench, hand-made pavement in the sparse woodland. Some dozen cars can be parked.
The northern lake shore is occupied by sanatorium facilities. There are small recreational sites on the north-western shore because of the proximity of the sanatorium drive way. The western and north-western shores are little used for recreation due to bogging and poor forest passability. There is a 3-5 meter path along the lake shoreline (figure 5).
The study of the forest condition showed that there are sites with poorly disturbed and degraded forests ecosystems along the lake shore. Their total area is 14 ha. These sites are characterized by heavily compacted soil, almost all trees are mechanically damaged, their roots are often exposed. These factors cause gradual dying-off of recreationally-nonresistant common spruce, as well as of heavily damaged individual trees of European white birch, Scots pine, European hornbeam. A clump-glade zone is formed in these areas with more stable English oak being preserved. If the recreational load remains the same, it will lead to a poorer composition and disintegration of the lake-surrounding forest stands.
Considerable areas of forest ecosystems (11.9 ha) cam be described as moderately disturbed. The damage to the forest stands is smaller here. However if recreational load is to increase or recreational impact is of continuous nature, the forest ecosystems will degrade.
Sanitary state of the forest ecosystems is rather good or fairly good in some areas. The common spruce is gradually dying off. Dead wood is timely removed by the foresters of Svityazyanskoye forest station. All areas have a great amount of bonfire sites.
According to our account of the visitors to the western lake shore on a summer Sunday (04.08.2013), weather permitting, there were about 7.5 thousand holiday makers in the whole area. On a summer Saturday (20.07.2013) with worse weather there were 3.5 thousand people. But as the interviews with the holiday makers revealed we should allow for greater numbers of people on summer Saturdays with comfortable weather, i.e. more than 10 thousand people have rest at the lake on summer weekend days.
The calculation load analysis with regard to the area used, forest type and maximum permissible landscape load showed that the maximum permissible one-time load on the lake-adjacent area is 2080 people a day at summer weekends with comfortable temperatures (“peak days”), incl. 1580 people a day in the forested areas. On average, the lakeshore area can be visited by 208 people a day per annum without any environmental damage incurred.
Thus we can identify almost quadruple recreational overload which has already resulted in negative consequences.
Local population are annoyed by the large flows of visitors, absence of car parking zones on the eastern shore, degradation of the lake and surrounding forests. On the other hand, they start-up private farmstead businesses caused by the growing visitors’ demand.

Proposals for different stakeholders:
a) Novogrudok forestry enterprise:
- in order to minimize and prevent the degradation of forest ecosystems around Lake Svityaz, measures should be taken to form forest stands with prevailing oak, pine, birch together with maple, ash, elm, hornbeam and black alder. The priority should be placed on natural succession of degrading stands with natural reafforestation (protection of individual young trees, mellowing of compacted soils, adding of soil, mulching, etc.). If no natural regeneration is possible, large trees should be planted and protected straightaway.
- to investigate the possibility of designing an ecological facilities-equipped trail along Lake Svityaz in cooperation with Novogrudok district council;
- if natural regeneration of the environment is needed in certain areas around the lake, decision should be taken about temporary access restrictions. At the same time regeneration activities should be carried out (8-10 cm mellowing of compacted soil, fertilization, soil-covering of exposed tree roots, mulching, tree and shrub planting in case of poor natural regeneration, etc.). Self-regeneration of the area may take up to 20 years. If necessary activities are implemented, this period may be reduced to 4-5 years.
- to regulate flows of holiday makers some protective (buffer) stands may be planted in agreeing with the nature reserve managing authorities;
- information about existing and appearing recreation sites should be made wider and introduced in Quantum GIS;
- to create a water route along the Neman river with recreational development of the river banks in stopover and overnight sites. The recommended starting point is Sinyavskaya Sloboda village (recreational site N2, Table 1), the terminal point is near Berezovka town (recreational sites NN10-12, Table 1).
- organized mass leisure services should be offered to tourists along the route when rafting from Lubcha urban settlement to Laje Tchereshlya. Rafting equipment for rent should be available;
- to promote ecological education and attract more visitors to the area an ecological trail should be created close to Lubcha urban settlement;
b) RUE “Belgosles”:
- forest inventory works should be supplemented with landscape taxation of forests stands of “Svityaz” nature reserve to provide stakeholders with the data on stands conditions and their dynamics;
c) Novogrudok district council (Svityaz nature reserve managing authority):
- to consider building up a car parking place on the eastern shore of Lake Svityaz (drive way from Miratichi village) and creating recreational facilities similar to those of the western part of the shore;
- to develop a range of chargeable services around Lake Svityaz (accommodation, food, etc.); to further the grassy beach (western part) and adjacent area development as well as the development of nature reserve infrastructure, incl. lease of space;
- to allocate funds from service earnings to hire cleaning staff, to make specialized organizations responsible for cleaning of the area and Novogrudok forestry enterprise staff responsible for forest regeneration, tending and protection.

Proposals for ecological tourism development
At present ecological tourism is being actively developed in forestry enterprises of the Republic of Belarus. Some forestry enterprises of Grodno region implement these activities very widely: they organize ecological tours, have open-air cages with animals, ecological trails, etc. Novogrudok forestry enterprise is among them. It has created a mock-up and terrain walk along the ecological trail “Neman River Valley”. The trail is 3020 m long and runs through forest and floodplain biotopes of the Neman river in the area of Lubchanskoye forest station. It specializes in botany with some zoological aspects and comprises 14 spots.
Proposals for hunting tourism development
The analysis of hunting farms and their hunting tourism activities makes it possible to speak about organized domestic tourism in each of them. At the same time, the value of this activity for the hunting farms development proves to be low for several reasons.
Inbound hunting tourism is of great importance for the development of Novogrudok forestry enterprise, however it has declined a little in the recent years. Inbound tourism is not developed in Novogrudok district organization of the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen”.
One of the main driving factors for inbound and domestic hunting tourism development is a great variety of hunted wildlife. The population of hoofed animals in the hunting farm of Novogrudok district organization of the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen” is too small to organize successful hunting tours. So, the growth of hoofed animals population can be recommended for this hunting farm to facilitate hunting tourism promotion, i.e.:
- to improve protective measures in the hunting grounds to eliminate poaching;
- to increase efficiency of wolf control;
- to undertake biotechnical measures to maintain the hoofed population in winter season.
Heavy hunting load on roebuck has resulted in decreased population of quality trophies in Novogrudok forestry enterprise thus causing the flow-out of West-European hunters. With this in view killing of roebuck should be restricted. Those animals available for hunting should be hunted in the period of estrum passing off so that killing has no negative effect on population propagation.
Taking into account the African swine fever plague and the resulting decrease in wild boar population, the hunting farms can be recommended to develop the populations of Family Cervidae. The red deer is the most valuable species of this family and is the most desired trophy for hunting tourists. One step forward to the increase of its population is the introduction of new animals to the area of Novogrudok forestry enterprise. This experience is recommended to be adopted by Novogrudok district organization of the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen” as well. The proximity of biological nature reserve “Nalibokskaya Pushcha” has a positive promoting effect on the red deer population growth in the Novogrudok hunting grounds as the reserve can boast of a large population of this animal.
Taking into consideration the large population of animal species in Novogrudok forestry enterprise and the diversity of its hunting grounds, it is advisable to design an all-inclusive hunting or hunting-fishing tour which would be marketable at tourism fairs and exhibitions and become an easily recognizable trademark of the enterprise. A famous all-inclusive hunting and fishing tour combining deer hunting, grey partridge hunting and trout fishing can serve as an example (such tours are very widely spread in Britain). The tour activities can also take part in the territory of Novogrudok district organization of the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen” and private fisheries. Such all-inclusive tours make the recreation more diverse and are getting more and more popular with West-European visitors. To promote this tourist product and make it more appealing some contests can be integrated (the quickest hunter / fisherman, the largest trophy, etc.), the contests results and the winners can be announced at the end of each year.
Novogrudok forestry enterprise has its own hunting lodge to accommodate guests. The lodge provides excellent accommodation comfort and has a special ammunition room.
Hunting tourists can also be accommodated in Novogrudok hotels. Even though this type tourism is hunting-oriented those tourists staying in Novogrudok hotels could visit historical and cultural attractions to spend their hunting-free time. This would promote the development of tourism in the area as a whole.
To resolve conflicts which may arise due to the restricted hoofed hunting it is necessary to organize meetings of local hunters. Such meetings could serve as a platform for an open discussion about economic performance of the hunting grounds, analysis and pattern of earnings, quota limits for domestic and incoming hunters.
A special register should be introduced to take account of the applications of hunters wanting to hunt for hoofed animals. There should be an open access to this register and it should be available upon the first request of the hunters. This procedure will enable each hunter to hunt for the hoofed and prevent illegal actions.
The available open-air cage can be used in two ways: to increase the red deer population and to organize ecological tourism. We have developed recommendations on the open-air cage use, these recommendations are given below.
Introduced outputs:
- online information (database “Tourist attractions of the representative part of the Neman basin . The most important historical sites of Novogrudok district”) (website of the Baltic Landscape Neman www.baltik.belstu.by);
- teaching materials “Development of hunting tourism”.
3.3.4. To develop proposals for biofuel use
Proposals for biofuel use
48 boiler stations operate in the district organizations (15 gas boiler-stations, 1 black oil boiler stations, 6 combined boiler stations using both local fuels and gas). Besides there are 26 boiler stations using local fuels and 89 combustors (73 using local fuels and 16 using gas). Total fuel consumption in 2013 comprises 44335 tons of conventional fuel. Natural gas accounts for 60.7%, black oil and stove oil make up 0.66%, liquid gas – 0.63%, fuel briquettes – 2.76%, firewood – 24.5%, chip fuel – 7.95%, woodworking waste – 1.26%. Thus the proportion of wood biofuel accounts for 31.30%. In 2014 this proportion is to increase slightly to 33.7% due to the reduced total fuel consumption by 3127 tons of conventional fuel (natural gas).
The district generates a high proportion of electricity by its own energy sources (45.2%), including 6.1% generated by wind power station in Grabniki village.
The main energy sources consumers (data of 2012) are industrial sector (30.3%) and residential sector (27.9%). Agriculture consumes 6.1% of energy, budget-funded and municipal organizations consume 5.9%. The sectoral shares of energy consumption are: industry – 58.0%, housing and utility sector – 18.2%, other consumers and population – 3.04%, budget-funded and municipal organizations – 3.6%, enterprises of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food – 17.04%.
Wood fuel is supplied to power-generating units by Novogrudok forestry enterprise (21 thousand m3 of firewood, 20 thousand m3 of chip fuel, 3.2 thousand m3 of lumber waste, 1,5 thousand t wood briquettes), private unitary enterprise “Savko” (7.2. thousand m3 of firewood), Activity Therapy Centre N5 (1.5 thousand m3 of firewood, 2.5 thousand m3 of lumber waste), Novogrudok fuel-supplying enterprise (2.5 thousand m3 of chip fuel, 700 t of pellets), Novogrudok district housing and utility enterprise (1.34 thousand m3 of firewood, 1.21 thousand m3 of chip fuel, 310 m3 of other fuels).
Novogrudok district housing and utility enterprise is managed by both district and regional authorities. The enterprise has two crews of workers using power saws and a two-section forwarder to supply local population and the enterprise with wood fuel. Novogrudok forestry enterprise annually allocates special forest sites (primarily rich in firewood) to the district housing and utility enterprise. The proportion of wood fuel supplied by the district housing and utility enterprise is small and approaches 5%.
Novogrudok district housing and utility enterprise exploiting district central heating plants has a working crew that is engaged in logging of dangerous trees and processing them into firewood and chip fuel for its boiler stations.
The share of private wood fuel suppliers is also small and accounts for 12%.
The rural population of the district can purchase firewood from Novogrudok district housing and utility enterprise at fixed or special (disabled people of groups I and II) prices to cover their energy needs. The fixed prices are half as high as market prices (7 EUR/m3) and are state-subsidized. Besides local population can be engaged in forest cleaning from debris and purchase the harvested wood (for firewood) at stumpage value (0.02 EUR/m3). This can only be done under the supervision of Novogrudok forestry enterprise.
The annual resources of available wood fuel (primarily logging waste, broken chunks, undersized wood) makes up 21244 tons of conventional fuel in 2013, such resources can be obtained after final fellings, intermediate fellings and other cuts. The forecasted wood fuel volumes will have reached 26164 tons of conventional fuel by 2020, the volume increment making up 23.1% as compared with 2013. This will be achieved by larger volumes of cutting and energy plantations which are planned to be created. Thus, “green” energy generation will be able to cover 80% of the annual energy needs of the districts.
The related facilities of Novogrudok district make it possible to store up a total of 50 thousand m3 of chip fuel, 40-45 thousand m3 of firewood, 1.5 thousand m3 of wood briquettes.
The integrated analysis and assessment of modern biofuel uses in the district have revealed that in spite of the existing problems the trends of using biofuel and other renewable energy sources are positive-going and sustainable. Besides the biofuel use is financially supported by a number of international projects.
The proportion of wood fuel consumption (firewood, chip fuel, briquettes and pellets, woodworking waste) is 31.3% which is above the country’s average. Its further growth is promised by the reduction of total fuel consumption, first of all natural gas which accounts for 60.7%. The district has been obliged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020.
The demand analysis has shown that boiler stations and combustors using firewood and chip fuel match their installed loads on a full scale and observe health and safety regulations on heating and hot water supply. However, boiler station are currently being modernized and modified to use local fuels.
The strategy for biomass use takes account of the diversity and spatial location of energy suppliers, higher proportion of rural population (36%) as compared to the national proportion (24%) and Grodno region (31%), high reclamation of lands, a considerable amount of historical and cultural sites and their development as tourist attractions.
However there are some factors that may restrict the biomass use in the district: radioactive contamination of some territories covering 15 villages; polarization of forest massives in the western, northern and easternmost parts of the district; three republican landscape reserves and two local biological reserves to conserve biological and landscape diversity.
Though some increased chip fuel supplies are expected in the near future, wood fuel for medium-sized and domestic boilers as well as for households will prevail.
The key factor of the development of wood fuel energy generation and consumption is a continuous cooperation and information exchange between stakeholders: district council, housing and utility sector, Novogrudok forestry enterprise, Novogrudok district housing and utility enterprise and local population. All these stakeholders take into account the existing needs and production facilities thus forming “The balance of production and consumption of wood fuel in Novogrudok district”.
The wood fuel price policy is an important issue here. The existing system of price formation does not encourage logging enterprises to produce more wood fuel because of its low price.
Chip fuel sales based on energy content (e.g., a unit price for gigajoule or megawatt hour) that proves a close relationship between energy, moisture content and other fuel characteristics has lead to increased supplies of high-quality fuel.
Proposals. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 it is advisable for stakeholders to analyze low-carbon scenario (“green growth” scenario) for the energy system development in the district, to determine a timescale to meet the obligations of international conventions such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Covenant of Mayors. Further recommendations include audit and modernization of biomass-boilers, their proper maintenance, qualification up-grade of the operating staff to increase the efficiency and chip fuel use.
The price subsidy reform is needed to create a more transparent and competitive wood fuel market, i.e. logging expenses should be fully compensated.
Taking into account the fact that all organizations and companies involved in heat and electricity generation from biomass are autonomous in their activities and supply network expanding, some cooperative efforts would assist to increased efficiency of their work, e.g. by sharing experience of procurement and management. More powerful logging machines could increase the volumes of the delivered wood fuel thus contributing to cost-effectiveness and labour productivity. Besides private companies should be supported and encouraged to expand the supply network. But this is possible only if the wood fuel prices go down.
Integrated harvesting of commercial wood and firewood can contribute to increased price competitiveness of wood fuel harvested during final and intermediate fellings (thinning of the forest).
The transport pattern of wood material base, system of machinery, chip fuel technology should be chosen based on the engineering and economic calculations and improved logistics of complex harvesting of wood and fuel. The smaller the harvested trees, the more profitable it is to cut them by power saws or machines with accumulation heads. When wood is harvested by harvesters and forwarders, one-sided or two-sided logging methods should be used.
Logging waste is not to be harvested in ecologically vulnerable areas but in centre-located coupes, in areas with highly fertile soils of high bearing capacity to minimize nutrients losses.
To increase the quality of fuel and its thermal characteristics the technological process should take maximum advantage of the wood natural drying. The best place for the stack of fuel wood material is a well-ventilated site with hard and even surface above the ground and adjacent to a forest road. The piles should be stacked on a wooden support base with butts facing the road. Maximum available piling height is required to minimize the wetting surface in case of rain. The top surface should serve as a shed preventing the whole stack from damage by water.
The logging waste stack is located by a forest access road to allow for the passage of heavy machinery (crushers, chip trucks, etc.). The site should have sufficient area to locate the logging waste piles as high as 5 m and as wide as 10 m (10 m per each 100 m3 of waste). In this case a crusher will be able to process the amount of chip enough to fill a chip truck.
To increase productivity of harvesting and hauling of logging waste it is desirable to expand the loading space (to splice the bolster stands, to place additional rear pallets, to load the logging waste by transverse-longitudinal method or to compact the waste by a manipulator). The manipulator should be adjusted with finger pincer (the volume of gripped material is almost 45% higher as compared to conventional methods, it enters the waste pile easier).
A wide range of dimensions and quality characteristics of the chipped material requires mobile drum crushers as they are best suitable to do this work. Crushers with a great quantity of nonsymmetrical knives (e.g., Kesla, Jens) should be preferred as crusher with two long knives (e.g., Bruks) require higher power and are more costly to maintain.
It has been determined that the storehouse capacity should be made 3.5-4.5 times larger than its monthly average supplies to prevent probable overcharging or shortage of wood fuel in stock. The wood fuel storage grounds are to be asphalted rather than concreted. They must not be strewed with salt as chips catching the salt will shorten the service life of boilers to 2-3 years. In case of black ice, the grounds are to be strewed with chips or at least sand.
To increase the efficiency per unit of energy generated by boilers or mini heat power plants the following measures should be taken: interseasonal wood fuel stock should preferably exclude crushed wood to eliminate wood material losses and allow for better drying; wood chips should be stored in stock only as reserve or emergency supply which is to be refreshed regularly; to minimize storing periods and ensure priority burning of tree bark.
There are the following opportunities to diversify and increase the raw material sources of wood fuel in the district: less valuable tree species (gray alder, shrubs, dwarf birch); cesium-contaminated wood (as cesium is accumulated in the fuel ash which calls for efficient methods of ash disposal); forest plantations with short rotation period (energy plantations).
As biomass supplies play a vital role for the national energy security, it is necessary to keep and upgrade detailed geospatial data (incl. GIS-based) on current and expected stocks of wood fuel.
The following indicators can be recommended to monitor the use of wood biofuel in the Baltic Landscape Neman:
- volumes of wood biofuel produced by the district enterprises, by types, m3 and tons of conventional fuel;
- decrease in use of high-grade roundwood as biofuel, m3/3 years;
- proportion of wood fuel in the total energy consumption, %;
- volumes of chip fuel produced from logging waste, woodworking waste, improvement thinning waste;
- value of annual export of wood fuel;
- changes in forest plantations area, ha/3 years;
- reduced CO2 emissions by using biomass instead of fossil fuels, % and t;
- the number of modernized and put into operation boilers and power plants using wood fuel (for a three-year period).
Introduced outputs:
- brochure “What do we know about wood biofuel?”;
- teaching materials “Biofuel”.

3.3.5. To develop proposals for other landscape uses: hunting, fishing, beekeeping, non-wood products
Hunting. The principles of game resources management in Novogrudok district completely match the related national approaches. In Belarus game management is seen as pure “hunting management”. The main regulatory document is called Rules for Hunting Industry and Hunting Activities, this document defines ‘hunting management’ as ‘a type of economic activity related to protection, reproduction and rational management of wildlife and focused on the organization of hunt and/or killing hunted animals to be used for economic activities of the hunting grounds’. The concept of ‘hunting grounds user’ is interpreted as ‘legal entity concluding a lease agreement’. Such approaches are guiding ones and they shape the modern system of game management in both Novogrudok district and the Republic of Belarus. It should be noted that the laws and regulations are uniform for all regions of the country with no exceptions and flexibility. Such approaches cause a number of important problems.
Most hunters do not develop a careful attitude towards game resources and their rational management as they are aloof from solving problems related to wildlife protection and regeneration. At present they act as pure clients of hunting grounds and average clients are known to be concerned only with some trivial issues: quality, low price (free of charge even better). They are not worried by the principles of rational management of game animals at all or only to some superficial unprofessional extent. This hinders hunters from further advances, moreover, limited numbers of main game animals, their high cost, lack of opportunity to hunt independently at a convenient time (the Hunting Regulations require a chasseur to be present when hunting for restricted game) lead to poaching which makes the situation even worse.
If hunting is treated as pure economic activity and a hunting grounds user is required to be a legal entity, the principles of hunting farms operation are made very inefficient. These factors burden the game management system with the functions which are not inherent in it. The hunting grounds customers decrease in number thus resulting in a fewer number of people with rational attitude towards game management.
There are two hunting customers in the territory of Novogrudok district: Novogrudok district organization of the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen” and Novogrudok forestry enterprise.
The hunting grounds area of Novogrudok district organization of the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen” is 107.6 thousand ha that is considerably above the country’s average. The large area makes efficient and rational utilization of the hunting grounds difficult. The hunting grounds area of Novogrudok forestry enterprise is a lot smaller than the country’s average thus contributing to their efficient and rational utilization.
The main lease holders of the hunting grounds in the Republic of Belarus are the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen” (99 hunting farms); the Ministry of Forestry (80 hunting farms); Department of Presidential Affairs (7 hunting farms); Belarusian Association of Military and Hunters (12 hunting farms); without departmental submission (61 hunting farms).
The system of hunting farm management is rather complicated and confusing over both the study area and the republic as a whole. Different public departments perform backup functions resulting in irrational use of budget funds, increased paperwork, heavy bureaucratic load and low efficiency of game management. Critical shortage of profile professionals and lack of funding aggravate the situation.
Article 245 of the Hunting Regulations says that ‘Control over hunting management is carried out by the Ministry of Forestry and its local offices, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, State Inspection of Flora and Fauna Protection under the aegis of the President of the Republic of Belarus, public nature conservation and forestry organizations submitted to the Department of the Presidential Affairs…’.
Game management system in the territory of Novogrudok forestry enterprise is based on three main principles:
- optimum number of hunting grounds determined by taxation;
- inventory of wild animals to determine the actual number of game animals in the hunting grounds;
- hunting quota limits determined by taxation and inventory.
This system was worked out in the middle of XX century and has existed ever since. We regard it as inadequate and not a mechanism of improved game management but as a factor hindering its development.
The optimum number of game animals is determined by hunting inventory for a long ten-year period in all hunting grounds. This is calculated by out-of-dated and inefficient methods without due regard to continuously changing biotic and abiotic factors.
The existing techniques of wild animals inventory cannot provide reliable data on the actual number of game animals, they are out-of-date, superficial, strictly inaccurate, highly labour- and time-consuming. The situation is aggravated by the fact that many hunting management specialists interpret the game inventory data as an absolute and accurate value. This notwithstanding, we cannot say that the inventory itself is very much useless. It should be understood that its data are very relative, not very accurate and takes into account only long-term changes.
The hunting limit quotas for restricted game animals are currently planned based on the population density per 1 thousand ha. They are calculated by dividing the population number of a given game animal by its habitat area. Such system is also very inaccurate and nominal. Firstly, the population number is based on the existing unreliable inventory methods, thus it cannot be treated as accurate and is of relative nature. Secondly, the accuracy and fairness of the habitat determination are also very doubtful, especially for such game animals as deer, wild boar, roedeer.
At present the only accurate and fair criterion to evaluate the hunting farm operation is the number of killed animals. However due to poor law-obedience and self-discipline of hunters this number cannot be accurately calculated either.
The density of hoofed animals in Novogrudok district is not uniform, being the highest in the area of Novogrudok forestry enterprise for all species and higher than country’s average. As a whole the population density of the hoofed is not high and even low for some species. So, in the grounds of Novogrudok district organization of the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen” the population density of deer has been only 0.5 individuals per 1 thousand ha, that of elk – 1.5 individuals per 1 thousand ha, roedeer – 5.5 individuals per 1 thousand ha, wild boar – 6.3 individuals per 1 thousand ha for the last four years.
The analysis of increment shows that it is very small for most hoofed populations in both Novogrudok district organization of the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen” and the whole country. In Novogrudok district organization of the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen” the average increment of elk population is 10%, that of roedeer population is 0.8% and the increment of deer population is of negative value (-5%). The average increment of these populations all over the country makes up 13-16% which is a relatively low value. But it is rather high in the grounds of Novogrudok forestry enterprise with one exception (the increment of elk population makes up only 18%).
The hunting quotas per one thousand ha are very low in Novogrudok district organization of the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen” and the whole country. They make up 0.03 and 0.24 elk individuals respectively, 0.4 and 0.8 roedeer individuals, 3.1 and 3.6 individuals for wild boar. The average 0.09 deer individuals per one thousand ha were killed over the country, in the grounds of Novogrudok district organization of the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen” no deer were killed. Novogrudok forestry enterprise has above-average number of killed game still being low for most game animals. It is relatively high for wild boar (14 individuals for one thousand ha).
The analysis of gender and age structure of the killed hoofed makes it possible to conclude that the kill is not always done in a proper way. So, the gender structure of killed roedeer reveals a prevailing number of roebucks which is unacceptable taking into consideration the low population density in the grounds of Novogrudok district organization of the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen”. In the age structure of elks, deer and wild boars the underyearlings prevail and the overall situation is a little better here.
Summarizing the assessment results of the game populations status and their management, a conclusion should be made that the hunting grounds of Novogrudok district require some measures to increase the wild animals populations, to optimize their age structure and to improve their management.
Recommendations on the improvement of game management
The solution of the existing problems cannot be confined by Novogrudok district. Some of them require fundamental reforms at the national level starting with main laws and regulations in the field of conservation and rational utilization of renewable natural resources.
The term ‘hunting management’ should be interpreted in a different way: not as a type of ‘economic activity’ but as ‘activity aimed at increase, preservation and improvement of wildlife populations, balancing different populations by regulating their number, conservation and improvement of wildlife habitats for hunting purposes’. Such concept will create necessary prerequisites for:
- simplified principles of hunting farms operation;
- increased efficiency of hunting grounds exploitation by means of reducing the average areas of hunting farms due to increased number of lease holders;
- creating independent hunters’ associations with fixed hunting grounds;
- increased opportunities for hunters to participate in hunting management;
- increased knowledge about rational game management and increased hunters’ concern.
As a first step to change the existing situation and not to break the effective regulations we recommend to allocate three hunting grounds sites in the territory of Novogrudok district organization of the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen”; the sites are then to be fixed with hunters’ associations.
It is necessary to reform the game management system by attributing all controlling functions to one public body. This will make it possible:
- to increase efficiency of the system by reducing bureaucratic loads on hunting management;
- to use budget funds allocated to game protection and monitoring in a more rational way;
- to attract professionals to the industry;
- to get rid of the out-of-date management system based on obsolete methods;
- to introduce adaptive game management.
It is necessary to improve game management approaches:
- wild animals should be killed with regard to gender and age structure of their populations;
- underyearlings should prevail in the hunting structure of the hoofed game;
- adult males should be hunted only when they get over their reproductive years;
- the boundaries of the hunting grounds should be marked guided by the habitat areas of common populations.
Introduced outputs: three hunting grounds sites for experimental hunting management.

Fishing is one of the most ancient economic activities of man. Even humans of early paleolith times knew how to fish. Great amounts of fish-bones at man sites of those times prove the importance of fish for the ancient people diet. Those historical facts about some infightings and fishery wars show the significance of fish resources for humans.
Public regulation of fishing started in 1588 when the Statute of Grand Duchy of Lithuania was adopted. It was in force for 250 years and served as the main law of the country. The Statute contains Chapter 10 “On pushchas, fishing, wild-hive beekeeping, lakes and meadows” with 18 articles which protected the rights of feudal property, including flora and fauna.
Stakeholders: local population, amateur fishermen – members of Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen, Novogrudok forestry enterprise, local authorities.
Taking into consideration the facts that the Belarusian people have great passion for fishing and the water bodies are unevenly scattered throughout the country, the fishing areas are under heavy load.
Freshwater resources of Novogrudok district. Novogrudok district is located on the watershed between the Baltic and the Black Seas and has a medium amount of surface waters suitable for fishing. The largest water stream of the area is the Neman River bending around the area like a horseshoe from the north-east, the north and the west for about 95 km. Fishing areas are also represented by numerous back waters and dead arms of the river. Further fishing areas include the left tributaries of the Neman in descending order of their water content: the Valovka (39 km), the Plisa (25 km), the Izva (26 km), the Kremushevka (21 km), the Chernaya (15 km). There are heads of such rivers as the Nevda (16 km), the Yatranka (12 km), the Promsha (10.5 km) and other minor rivers in the area.
Novogrudok district is distinguished by the greatest amount of natural water reservoirs including two glacial lakes (the Svityaz, 224 ha and the Tchereshlya, 45 ha) and about 15 small run-of-the-river lakes in the Neman floodplain. To promote fish-farming and irrigation two ponds with the areas of 18 and 12 ha were created at the Plisa river and its right tributary.
Lake Tchereshlya is leased by Novogrudok forestry enterprise to organize industrial fishery and commercial amateur fishing. Fishing enthusiasts can also go to Lake Svityaz located in the “Svityazansky” landscape reserve. Other water bodies are in the category of the fishing stock fund, industrial fishing is prohibited there, amateur fishing is not restricted.
In spite of few water bodies located in the area, the fishing fauna of Novogrudok district waters is very diverse. There are 5 out of 10 National Red Book fish species in the upper Neman and its tributaries.
As fish biologists say, the populations of rare fish species have considerably grown in the Neman and its tributaries as a result of fish protection measures. However the construction of a number of hydropower stations on the middle Neman presents new threats to these valuable fish in the area. 55 out of 58 fish species of Belarus are found in rivers, 20 species are indigenous river dwellers living only in fast-flowing rivers. Therefore the pumped reservoirs will greatly distort the habitats and weaken their species composition. Mass fish mortality was registered just after the first dam of the hydropower station was put into operation. According to the conclusion of the specialists of the Inspection of flora and Fauna Protection, the fish mortality was caused by changes in the river stretch of the hydropower area. After the river was dammed, the water was poisoned by harmful substances coming from wood and grass earlier inundated nearshore. The flow of the river slowed down resulting in standing water and lack of oxygen. Such events will surely have negative impacts on fish fauna of the upper Neman.
Hydropower station dams considerably hinder migration of diadromous and semidiadromous fish. The dam of Grodno hydropower station is not equipped by fish-passing channels and therefore cannot be passed by migrating fish. As it was found out there were most valuable fish species in the upper Neman such as Atlantic salmon and bulltrout. The waters of the upper Neman were one of the main breeding grounds of these fish species. Since the early 60s of the XX century there have been neither salmon nor bulltrout in the Neman and its tributaries.
Now the fish cenoses are more stable due to the balanced system of resource management. Lake Tchereshlya is known to be one of the most productive water bodies of Novogrudok district. Rational management maintains high population density of valuable fish species. The fish capacity of the lake is 13.2 kg/ ha per one year which is almost twice as much as the average fish capacity of the country’s water reservoirs (6.7 kg/ha). Annually over 0.5 t of fish is caught by set net to cover the need of the forestry enterprise and local population. Main commercial fishes are golden carp (339 kg/year) and bream (153 kg/year). The lake is regularly stocked with carp, grass carp and silver carp. Amateur fishermen can boast of good pike trophies. Traditional angling and ice-fishing contests are held at Lake Tchereshlya and welcomed by the staff of Novogrudok forestry enterprise.
Lake Svityaz lies in the centre of Novogrudok Upland on the border between Novogrudok and Korelichi districts 20 km south-east from Novogrudok. It is of karstic origin and is located in the Molchad river basin (a tributary of the Neman) in the territory of Svityzansky landscape reserve that was established in 1970 to preserve the unique natural lake-forest complex. The lake occupies an area of 2.24 km2 (1.65 x 1.48 km), maximum depth is 15 m.
Its open hollow and small depths contribute to a good wind mixing and oxygenization of water. Its shallow bottom is overgrown with aquatic plants, some of them are in the Red Book of the republic of Belarus. The total overgrown area makes up 64%, the width of the overgrown belts does not exceed 10-15 m, reed being prevailing in the aquatic flora. Phyto- and zooplankton is mostly composed of species that prefer soft silted waters. However their quantity makes the lake medium rich in food for fish. Its fish fauna comprises 9 fishes of three families. There are tench, roach, redeye, golden carp, European carp and gudgeon of the Cyprinidae family. Besides these species pike, perch and ruff can be found. There are no restrictions for amateur fishermen; only intensive fishing methods are not allowed here (such as trolling, underwater fishing, using more than 10 hooks).
Enclosed floodplain lakes (dead arms of the river) in the Neman valley do not have a rich fish fauna diversity either due to regular winter suffocations. Therefore they are dominated by fishes that can survive with low oxygen-content in water such as tench, golden crucian, loach, spined loach. The former two species are enthusiastically caught by amateur fishermen. Open floodplain lakes are inhabited by populations of pike, roach, perch, redeye, bleak. Well-warmed floodplain lakes are rich in food and are used by young fish of many river species to gain weight.
Assessment of poaching in the area. The statistic data of breaking the fishing rules in Novogrudok district show that there is low level of poaching in the water reservoirs of the area. Novogrudok interdistrict inspection reports relatively rare cases of poaching. Main violations include:
- fishing by set nets;
- exceeded quotas per one fisherman a day (5 kg);
- catching of Red Book fish;
- intensive fishing methods where not applicable.
Most violations are singular events. Catching Red Book fishes is usually explained by lack of knowledge, i.e. local people are ignorant of these species.
Thus, poaching can affect the populations of rare and endangered fish species but cannot be considered a dominant factor of lower density of other fish populations in the water streams and reservoirs of the area.
Only water streams and reservoirs without fish-farming activities experience bad impacts on fish populations. Heavy amateur fishing is the main factor affecting the population density. Poaching is not widespread and does not negatively affect the fish population density. The construction of hydropower plants in the Neman River poses potential risks to local fish fauna. Rational management of water reservoirs contributes to their increased fish productivity.
Proposals to stakeholders:
- to create favourable conditions for leaseholders of the fishing areas; to encourage tourist-fishing farms to be set up at the water bodies;
- to assess the impacts of construction of new hydropower plant dams on the fish fauna of the upper Neman and elaborate measures to mitigate its negative effects;
- to develop a system of activities to regulate amateur fishing and its load on the most vulnerable fish species;
- to distribute a brochure with the information about Red Book enlisted fish species among local population.
Introduced outputs: booklet “Fish-farming”

Beekeeping is one of the most ancient economic activities of humans. Bees perform a most important function of pollinating plants.
Belarusian beekeeping has always been vital for the economy of the country, honey and beeswax being among main exported products.
An interesting fact is that a talented beekeeper from Novogrudok region whose name is Litavor Khreptovich developed a new hive design consisting of two parts (semi-hives). When the first hive part was filled with honey the other part was attached to it allowing for more free space and preventing the swarming. Litavor Khreptovich was the first in Belarus to publish a book “Beekeeping in Shchorsy in 1785” and the first one in the world to discover the interconnection between swarming and hive dimensions.
The landscape of the representative part of the Neman basin has favourable conditions for beekeeping. Forests cover 38% of the total area. As agriculture of Novogrudok district specializes in meat and milk production, rape and cloverare cultivated here supplemented with sunflower and other nectar-rich crops.
According to statistical data, there are 7 agricultural cooperatives in the districts with 99 bee families; one bee-garden is located in Novogrudok forestry enterprise. Local people keep 710 bee families.
These numbers are extremely low for the area of such size. The honey output per one family is rather inconsiderable making up 3.5-4.0 kg of honey. This can be explained by the fact that the bee-garden is located close to a population centre and there is no movement of bees.
However, if we take advantage of landscape features, information about biological properties of honey plants and modern farming techniques, it is possible to form a cost-effective flower-nectar conveyor for bees in fields and gardens without breaking the crop rotation system.
The below-listed beekeeping and agricultural activities are necessary to achieve the above-mentioned goals.
The first stage of creating a flower-nectar conveyor is to maximally enlarge the area of recognized nectarous plants.
Cultivation of legume-grass-phacelia mixtures in seeded fallow fields and spring gores is highly promising, such method yields a lot of nectar and herbage.
Adding nectar-rich phacelia to vetch and oats, lupine and other mixtures makes it possible to considerable improve bee forage without allocating separate areas for phacelia. At the same time phacelia increases the mixtures productivity by 20-25% becoming a readily edible forage for all kinds of cattle (as silage, herbage and even hay). Phacelia-added mixtures should be mowed for forage or plowed down as a green fertilizer only when 75% of phacelia blooms have fallen, i.e. when maximum nectar has been collected by bees but the plant is still sappy. When cultivating triple mixtures (legume-grass-phacelia), the seeds of phacelia tanacetifolia (3.5-4.0 kg per 1 ha) should be sowed in spaces between rows or across the rows with main components at the depth of max. 3.0-3.5 cm.
Sowing of spring nectarous crops (rape, buckwheat, legume-grass-phacelia mixtures, etc.) in 2-3 subsequent sows is a highly important requirement for creating a flower-nectar conveyor. This contributes to continuous pollination all summer long, steady honey flow and good pollination of flowers by bees. Sowing the same crop in some successive sows at intervals of 7-10 days requires hi-tech agricultural machinery and maintaining fields under complete fallow before sowing. It has been determined that summer-sower crops experience a considerable reduction of vegetation period (10-15 days) allowing them to ripen simultaneously with those crops sowed in May.
Late fall sowing of phacelia and mustard (or their mixture) in seeded-fallow fields and beegarden-adjacent areas as well as regular sowing of winter rape enable escaping the late spring nonnectarous period and improving bees nutrition and swarming in most important periods of their life.
Stubble (postcut) sowing of early-ripening nectarous rape, buckwheat, etc. as well as successive mowing of lucerne, esparcet and clover ensure continuous flowering in August and early September and improve sustaining and marketable honey yield in late summer and rear young bees for wintering.
To improve the sustaining honey yield in summer and to create necessary seed stock it is advisable to cultivate high-yielding grasses (phacelia tanacetifolia, viper’s grass, goat’s rue, etc.) in the beegarden-adjacent areas.
Cultivation of honey crops in the flower conveyor system should employ the most modern farming techniques and with due regard to local soil and climate conditions. It is vital to increase the nectar-productivity of crops by applying a complex of fertilizers and selecting the best cultivars as well as by pest control.
Improved bee forage should be supported by high apiculture. Sound and strong bee families are necessary for a bee garden. It is important to move bee gardens regularly and manage the summer activity of bee families.
To monitor the health of bees a regional beekeeping instructor should be employed. New effective disease control means should be applied together with rational breeding.
However, improved beekeeping, high-skill care and good bee forage are not sufficient to achieve considerable increase in honey output, to reduce honey cost and to improve productivity. Breeding is the most powerful tool for boosting productivity since it is aimed at increasing bee families, their productivity and pollination.
Carpathian and Carniolan bees are best suitable for keeping in Novogrudok district. Carpathian bees are exceptionally peaceful and winter-resistant. Carniolan bees are resistant to paralysis during honeydew flow, winter-resistant, peaceful.
Beekeeping proposals:
- to create flower-nectar conveyors for bees;
- to sow nectarous crops, proper farming techniques;
- high-productive bee breeds;
- local population should sell bee-keeping products at high expense-compensative prices;
- support of local population and farmers keeping bee-gardens by village and district councils;
- availability of beekeeping instructors to advise and assist bee-keeping farmers and local people.
- local people;
- large agricultural complexes;
- forestry enterprises;
- local authorities.
General recommendations have been elaborated and passed on to the beekeeping specialists of Novogrudok forestry enterprise.

Wild berries. Though man-made medicines are produced at very large scale, people increasingly believe that natural products, especially forest berries and fruits, are more healthy and rich in valuable nutritional and therapeutic properties.
The forests of Novogrudok forestry enterprise abound with the following fruit and berry species: crab apple (Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill), common pear (Pyrus communis L.), English hawthorn Crataegus curvisepala Lindm.), European elder (Sambucus nigra L.), high cranberry (Viburnum opulus L.), mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia L.), wild rose (Rosa canina L.), cowberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.), bog bilberry (Vaccinium uliginosum L.), blueberry (Vaccinium myrrtillus L.), moor cranberry (Oxycoccus palustris L.), European dewberry (Rubus caesius L.), wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca L.), stone bramble (Rubus saxatilis L.), raspberry(Rubus idaeus L.), black currant (Rubus nigrum L.).
All forest fruits and berries which grow in the forests of Novogrudok forestry enterprise can be divided in four resource-value groups:
I. commonly growing and can be procured: blueberry;
II. growing only in some forest sites and can be procured in small volumes: cowberry, moor cranberry;
III. can provide only the needs of local population: bog bilberry, European dewberry, wild strawberry, raspberry, mountain ash;
IV. are extremely rare and need to be protected: crab apple, English hawthorn, high cranberry, wild rose, stone bramble, black currant.
The highest blueberry yields are in pine forests of age classes IV and V, they make up 500-600 kg/ha are 2-2.5 times as high as the blueberry yields of young pine forests. Therefore mature and old-growth bilberry pine forests should be considered as the main source of commercial procurement of berries. Additional blueberry yields can be obtained in pine forests of age classes II and III.
Regular improvement thinnings can promote high yields as well. So, after thinning the berry yield was noticed to increase by 16% (30 kg/ha) after two years and by 23% (43 kg/ha) after three years. However it slightly decreased in the following year after the thinning had been made (10% or 19 kg/ha). This can be explained by the sharply changed lighting conditions after thinning so that the blueberry bushes needed some time to adapt to the new environment.
Berry grounds are very susceptible to any anthropogenic impacts which result in their decreased areas and resources.
Interviews with local population, forest protection service guards, procurers, workers of district consumers society and reconnaissance surveys show that blueberries represent the most commercially important kind of berries as it was mentioned by 100% of respondents. Moreover, they noted cowberries (10.2% of respondents) and cranberries (5.7%). Individual respondents mentioned raspberries and wild strawberries.
The vast majority of the respondents (97.8%) note that they pick berries for personal use or selling, thus we can state that wild berries play an important role for almost all households in Novogrudok district. The same applies to other areas of Belarus except Minsk and regional centres. Wild berries are a vital ingredient of the diet of Belarusian people.
All the respondents were asked the following question: What should be done to increase the amount of berries in the forests? 89.2% of them suggested that ‘scoop berrying’ should be stopped. 11.8% consider that fellings reduce the yield capacity of berry bushes and affect them negatively. ‘Scoop berrying’ is mostly carried out to speed up the process when berries are picked for sale. This harmful technique leads to a great amount of impurities (leaves, wooden pieces, moss) which are noted by all procurers.
The main economic entity engaged in commercial wild berries procurement is a district consumers society. Novogrudok forestry enterprise has not been engaged in this activity for five years already. Thus in 2013 only 440 kg of ashberries was procured: 210 kg of aronia and 230 kg of red ashberries.
This situation can be explained by the fact that the district’s land was considerably contaminated by radiation. Only five forest stations out of twelve were not affected by radioactive contamination, among them: Eremichskoye, Korelichskoye, Mirskoye, Svityazanskoye and Shchorsovskoye. The other 7 forest stations were contaminated ranging from 3.72% of the area (Novogrudskoye) to 80.49% (Berezovskoye). This fact makes it hardly possible to harvest berries meeting sanitary standards. There is a radiological control post in the forestry enterprise and its monitoring data of 2013 revealed that 8 out of 19 blueberry samples taken in Lovtsovskoye forest station had the radioactivity level which exceeded the standards (180 Bq/kg) and reached 305 Bq/kg.
As the forestry enterprise is not involved in berrying this being of low economic concern, it does not supervise the berrying grounds to a certain extent and only little participates in their protection and stock increase. Such attitude cannot be recognized as meeting modern forestry standards which have a strong emphasis on multifunctionality.
Novogrudok district consumers society procured 84 t of blueberries in 2013, 10 t of cranberries, 5.4 t of cowberries. About 50% of the blueberries was exported to other countries (1.85-2.4 EUR per 1 kg). In the previous years the export supplies approached 100 t (Poland, Lithuania, Latvia). Blueberries enjoy great popularity in foreign markets while cranberries are preferred by domestic consumers. Nevertheless we can obviously note a stable demand for berries.
Reducing the forest stand density to 0.7 is very favourable for blueberry grounds. Improvement fellings in bilberry pine forests increases the berry grounds yield and contributes to commercial procurement.
It has been agreed that in 2014 that a model site with new promising plantation of lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.) will be established in the nursery area of Novogrudok forestry enterprise.
When the plants are in their fruiting stage, this site will then be employed for accessory use (fruit-and-berry plantations) in other forestry enterprises of the republic and for farming purposes. Establishing and effecting management (incl. demonstration) of such a site is of great social-economic value as it can contribute to private farms development and to efficient use of idle lands.
Novogrudok children environmental biological centre showed great interest in this initiative, in particular, one of its experimental plots will be planted with lowbush blueberry as well.
Introduced outputs: booklet “Wild berries”
Medicinal plants. Non-wooden forest resources play an important role in the economic activities contributing to a wider utilization of nature resources and make forest products satisfy various needs of people. This also broaden the activities of forestry enterprises and increase production intensity.
The nature generously gives us abundant plants which area source of health and life longevity. Biological resources of medicinal plants in Belarusian forests make up 88 200 t, of which 63 000 t are ecologically-clean.
A continuous demand for medicinal herbs conflicts the existing policy for plant products procurement which is reflected in low cost prices. There is a great price difference between dry plants sold locally and through pharmacies. The current procurement volumes make up only 1% of their potential and meet only 10-13% of needs experiencing steady falls. In 1995 they made up 297.3 t, in 2003 they fell to 49.3 t and in 2006 to 33.1.t.
In the 1990s medicinal plants were cultivated in many forestry enterprises of Belarus (Lida, Kobrin, Bobruisk, Globokoye, Smolevichi, etc.). About 40 plant species were grown, their farming technique being elaborated by the researchers of the Central Botanical Garden of the National Academy of Sciences. Nowadays cultivation of medicinal plants in forestry enterprises has almost disappeared.
As a result a large proportion of medicinal herbs in Belarusian pharmacies are of Russian, Ukrainian, Polish and Czech origin while all constituting plants of such preparations grow domestically. Import substitution is in effect only in the case of common valerian which is sold as a Belarusian trademark. Main producer of medicinal herbs in Belarus is a public agricultural enterprise “Sovkhoz “Bolshoye Mozheikovo” (Shchuchin district, Grodno region) that procures about 80% of the national volume.
Stakeholders involved in harvesting and marketing medicinal plants are: scientific-production cooperative “Biotest” (Grodno), LLC “PADIS’S” (Minsk), Diatlovo district consumers society, Mosty district consumers society, Berestovitsa district consumers society, Korelichi district consumers society, LLC “Belmedinpharm” (Minsk), private company “Stebozh” (Minsk), individual proprietors, farms, local people.
Novogrudok forestry enterprise is located in the subzone of hornbeam-oak dark coniferous forests, the subzone flora comprises about 250 species, one third of them growing in forests. Biological resources of medicinal plants in Grodno region amount to 90 168 t, exploitational resources accounting for 45 084 t and recommended harvesting volume makes up 14 622 t.
Main valuable medicinal plant species to be harvested include marsh tea, common nettle and common Saint John’s wort. Their biological resources comprise 56.6 centner, 52.7 centner and 107.4 centner respectively. In recent years medicinal plants have not been harvested by the forestry enterprise.
Valuable medicinal plants (categories 3-5) are present in the forest live cover of stands.
Highly valuable (category 5) are marsh tea, cowberry, common valerian, common heather, common Saint John’s wort, wild strawberry, European cranberry, European hazelwort, European meadowsweet, tormentil, barren myrtle, old-mans-pepper.
Very valuable (category 4) are bog bilberry, common origanum, stone bramble, common nettle, May lily, marsh cinquefoil, penny-mountain, yellow everlasting, bur beggar-ticks, blueberry.
The greatest amount of medicinal plants is registered in pine forests that prevail in the area (56%). The growth conditions vary in soil fertility and water content which are favourable for such plants as blueberry, bog bilberry, heather, wild strawberry, cranberry, cowberry, tormentil, Iceland moss and Cladonia sylvatica. Their abundance allows them to be harvested without any impact to their natural resources.
Spruce forests (13.4%) and oak forests (7.8%) have inconsiderable amounts of medicinal plants. Such plants as ground ivy, wood geranium, European hazelwort, common nettle, white dead nettle, satinflower, etc. are typical of these forests.
Species composition of medicinal plants in birch forests (15.3%) emergent of pine, spruce and oak forests is similar to the native forest stands.
Introduced outputs: booklet “Medicinal plants of Novogrudok district”

Mushroom picking is a traditional activity of Belarusian people which is one of the sources of additional food ingredients very vital to the authentic local cuisine. Mushroom picking belongs to accessory forest utilization and forestry enterprise activities.
In the forests of Novogrudok forestry enterprise more than 20 mushroom species can be collected: cep (Boletus edulis), chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius), red-capped boletus (Leccinum aurantiacum), orange bird bolete (Leccinum versipelle), brown birch bolete (Leccinum scabrum), annulated boletus (Suillus luteus), orange agaric (Lactarius deliciosus), false saffron milkcap (Lactarius deterrimus), milk mushroom (Lactarius resimus), ugly milk-cap (Lactarius necator), charbonnier (Tricholoma portentosum), yellow knight (Tricholoma equestre), honey mushroom (Armillariella mellea), black russule (Russula adusta) etc.
Chanterelles and ceps are collected by local people as a source of additional income. Biological resources are estimated to be 700 t, including 130 t of chanterelle and 240 t of cep. It should be noted that full harvesting of mushrooms is impossible due to the following factors:
- mycothallus is formed during a long period;
- old mushrooms are not collected;
- mushroom search is rather difficult (except for “mushroom-rich” sites known by local people);
- poor accessibility by forest roads;
- lack of knowledge about edible and non-edible mushrooms;
- bad weather conditions in the season of the richest availability of mushrooms (starting from the 2nd August decade to ground frosts).
At present wild mushrooms are not collected by the forestry enterprise because of the radioactive contamination of the area.
The level of contamination of most areas belongs to category 1 (1-5 Ku/km2) – 24.76% and category 2 (5-15 Ku/km2) – 0.41%. As mushrooms accumulate radionuclides very easily not all of them can be eaten. According to radiation measurements 103 out of 124 wild mushrooms picked in the radiologically contaminated areas reveal the increased level of regulations stated by “National acceptable content of cesium and strontium radionuclides in foodstuffs and potable water” (370 Bq/kg). For this reason Novogrudok forestry enterprise is not engaged in mushroom collecting to a great extent.
In this connection we suggest allocating special sites for growing wild mushrooms. These sites have to be located in radiologically clean areas and have great potential for high mushroom yields. To mark the sites boundaries the monitoring of picked mushrooms was carried out to check their radionuclide-content for “National acceptable content of cesium and strontium radionuclides in foodstuffs and potable water”. Three sites were allocated. Site 1 is located in the territory of Mirskoye forest station and covers quarters 2–26, 28–30, 33–35, 37–41. Its total area is 3092 ha. Site 2 is in the territory of Eremichskoye forest station and covers quarters 2–8, 12–19, 24–31, 33–38, 40, 43–47, 53–55, 58, 59, 64, 65, 68 with the total area of 3986.0 ha. Site 3 is located in the territory of Lubchanskoye and Vselyubskoye forest stations (quarters 18, 19, 22, 23, 27, 30, 31 and 69–80, 83), its total area being 2103.0 ha.
In the allocated sites local people will pick ecologically-clean mushrooms. Local population must be informed about the sites boundaries, lists of edible mushrooms, rules of harvesting and precautions for intoxication risks. These measures should help to increase the volumes of harvested mushrooms and the population awareness about safe mushroom diet.
Introduced outputs: booklet “Edible mushrooms”
Fauna diversity. In the area of BL Neman the following fauna species are found: 6 classes of vertebrates, including one species of lampreys, 33 fish species, 11 amphibians, 5 reptiles, 162 bird species, 46 mammals (this description does not comprise chiropterans, small insectivorous and mouse-like rodents as they require long-term study).
A significant proportion of rare and endangered species in the fauna makes the zoology of the area especially valuable. Novogrudok district has a well-developed network of nature reserves, including republican landscape reserves “Novogrudski”, “Nalibokski”, “Svityazanski”, local nature reserves “Vselyubski”, “Grafskaya Pushcha”. The main objective of establishing such reserves is restoration, conservation and reproduction of natural complexes and sites including species enlisted in the Red Book of the Republic of Belarus. Nature reserves of Novogrudok district are inhabited by about 50 Red Book species.
Main existing and potential local threats to fauna species, zoocenoses and their habitats have been identified:
- degradation of zoocenoses is caused by fellings, primarily final fellings and man-made plantations instead of natural regeneration of forest stands;
- degradation and destruction of several life-support system elements such as temporary refuge, forage sites due to improvement felling, sanitary cutting, cleaning of debris-strewn forests;
- ploughing of several sites of floodplain areas (especially in the Neman and Berezina basins);
- negative effect of population centres on adjacent river areas, floodplains and forests: contamination by domestic waste, trampling and ruderalization (devastation) of vegetation cover;
- negative effect of agricultural drainage;
- recreational load on forests adjacent to population centres and accessible shores, primarily river shores (the Neman, the Berezina, Lake Svityaz, Lake Kroman), intensive fishing;
- uncontrolled picking of mushrooms and berries in high-value forests sites which is especially harmful to Tetraonidae family;
- uncontrolled amateur fishing, including catching Red Book fish species primarily in the Neman and Berezina;
- intensive trophy hunting causing elimination of highly-reproductive individuals;
- poaching;
- epizooty of wild animals caused by anthropogenic activities.
Main stakeholders in the BL Neman concerned with fauna protection and management:
- hunting grounds users (Novogrudok district organization of the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen”, Novogrudok forestry enterprise);
- Novogrudok forestry enterprise;
- republican nature landscape reserve “Nalibokski”;
- hunters and fishermen, both local and incoming.
Recommendations on fauna management.
Main requirements include:
- prohibition of clear and selective final cuttings in the areas inhabited by fauna species enlisted in the Red Book;
- natural forest regeneration should be given a priority to restore forests after cuttings;
- conservation of old hollowed trees, windfall and uprooted trees after forest cleaning;
- no ploughing of floodplain lands;
- regulations of cattle grazing and haying periods: restrictions should be imposed in the floodplain areas (especially in the Neman basin) from April 1 to June 30;
- control over recreational load and traffic by traffic control barriers, warning and restrictive signs, etc.
Introduced outputs: information on BL Neman website www.baltik.belstu.by “Red Book Fauna Species of Novogrudok district”

3.3.6. To create a coordinating mechanism for landscape uses and coordinating the proposals with stakeholders
The expertise of balancing different landscape values within WP5 made it possible to assess of the current state and uses of various landscape components, to identify stakeholders and basic proposals (recommendations) which can be implemented to optimize landscape uses.
We can propose the following procedure for implementing the proposals given above: WP5 balancing different values in forested landscapes – WP3 BL Neman working group – local authorities – stakeholders – proposals (recommendations) – coordination – implementation.
A number of suggested steps have already been done after the study had been made, in particular, booklets and brochures were prepared and published, information about ecotourism resources and recreational potential of the landscape and its sustainability, biodiversity of flora and fauna was made available on BL Neman website www.baltik.belstu.by. Other proposals and recommendations require some coordinating actions of the Ministry of Forestry and other related departments.
We also recommend to set up a small Steering Committee (not more than 3 members, preferably from WP3 working group) to monitor the implementation of the proposals. The Committee will take actions on selecting high-priority issues and coordinating proposals with stakeholders and related departments.
Debates and approval of the proposals (recommendations) to be implemented should be conducted by a wider board consisting of BL Neman working group members, local authorities, stakeholders. After a BL proposal has been approved for implementation, they should develop an action plan within fixed implementing organizations, deadlines, assets and responsible coordinators. Not all proposals can be implemented synchronously in all forestry enterprises and hunting farms of Belarus. Some implementations should be tested by experiments in individual forestry enterprises and hunting farms as pilot projects.
Some priority proposals have already been determined but other challenges may appear unexpectedly. All processes should be monitored by the Steering Committee. Practical implementation of some proposals and recommendations may prove to be difficult without creating a coordinating mechanism and without the second stage of BL project.

3.3.7. To submit the proposals to planning bodies
The proposals resulting from WP5 expert evaluation should be considered together with those of WP4 concerned with landscape planning.
The table below summarizes all the proposals and the related stakeholders.

Proposals to be implemented and related stakeholders
N Proposals (recommendations) Stakeholder
1 Geosystems map on landscape sustainability Novogrudok forestry enterprise, RUE “Belgosles”, agricultural production cooperatives, departments of the Ministry of Natural Resources
2. Proposals for forest inventory optimization:
– proposals for improving the coupes demarcation and taxation
– improved hands-on techniques of harvested wood inventory
–recommendations on sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation Novogrudok forestry enterprise, RUE “Belgosles”
3 Proposals for recreational landscape uses. Novogrudok forestry enterprise, RUE “Belgosles”, local authorities, recreational organizations, Novogrudok and Korelichi district councils, “Novogrudok-Tour” company, tourist farmsteads, sanatorium “Magistralny”, schools
4 Proposals for hunting and ecological tourism:
– recommendations on open-air cage management;
– recommendations on ecological trails;
– to introduce a register of applications for the hoofed hunt;
– instructions for excursions guides. Novogrudok forestry enterprise, local population, local authorities, Novogrudok district organization of the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen”
5 Proposals for biofuel sue Novogrudok forestry enterprise, private company “Savko”, Activity Therapy Centre N5, Novogrudok fuel-supplying enterprise, Novogrudok district housing and utility enterprise, local population, departments of the Ministry of Agriculture
6 Recommendations on improved game management Novogrudok forestry enterprise, Novogrudok district organization of the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen”, State Inspection of Flora and Fauna Protection
7 Proposals for fishing Local population, local authorities, amateur fishermen-members of Novogrudok district organization of the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen”, Novogrudok forestry enterprise
8 Proposals for beekeeping Local population, local authorities, beekeepers,
Novogrudok forestry enterprise
9 Proposals for wild berries use Local population, local authorities, beekeepers,
Novogrudok forestry enterprise, wild berries harvesters
10 Proposals for medicinal plants Local population, local authorities, Novogrudok forestry enterprise, medicinal plants harvesters
11 Proposals for edible mushrooms harvesting Local population, local authorities, Novogrudok forestry enterprise, mushroom harvesters
12 Proposals for fauna management Novogrudok forestry enterprise, local authorities, Novogrudok district organization of the Republican public-social association “Belarusian Association of Hunters and Fishermen”