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Forests sans Frontiers

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Nature knows no political boundaries and maps cannot stop forests. But barbed wires can prevent animals from roaming in their natural habitat. …

Nature knows no political boundaries and maps cannot stop forests. But barbed wires can prevent animals from roaming in their natural habitat.
Is it time for Forests Sans Frontieres


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  • 1. Forest Sans Frontiers Inspired by Prepared by Bajinder Pal Singh, GEM (Erasmus)
  • 2. Photo courtesy: EurAtlas
  • 3. Photo courtesy: EurAtlas
  • 4. Photo courtesy: EurAtlas
  • 5. A look at forests in Poland
  • 6. Geological factors  Poland is placed on contact point of Europe’s tectonic plates:    Precambrian east European mid-European, Palaeozoic formations younger alpine systems [Gilewska 1991].
  • 7. 2 case studies: NorthEast and SouthWest  North-East:  Edge of the ancient monolithic east European plate  Crystalline foundation dips very steeply covered in places by a layer of sedimentary rocks  Sedimentary rocks are only a few centimetres thick.  South-West    Varied west European Palaeozoic structures Crystalline foundation is extremely deep Sedimentary rocks several kilometres thick.
  • 8. A 1 forest : 2 countries Because nature knows no political boundaries
  • 9. A 1 forest : 2 countries Białowieża Primaeval Forest Poland Belarus Białowieska Belaveskaya Pushcha National Park Biosphere Reserve 100 km² 1,771 km²
  • 10. A Białowieska:transboundary reserve HISTORY  The oldest national Park in Poland started in 1921  Hunting ground of Lithuanian princes, Polish kings and Russian Czars  Until World War II: the forest was located entirely within Poland. Then borders were redrawn.  Bialowieza National Park was granted the status of World Biosphere Reserve in 1977 and World Heritage Site in 1979.  Since 1994 the forests of Bialowieza other than the National Park have been granted the status of Promotional Forest Complex "Bialowieza Forest".
  • 11. A Animal kingdom: Bialowieza  It is a part of the oldest existing European forest and the sanctuary of the virtually extinct European bison, or wisent.  70 mammal species, including deer, fox, wild pig, wolves, and the common squirrel.  280 bird species, including doves, kestrels, wrens, bullfinches, and woodpeckers.  Forests contain grass snakes and vipers, while rivers are the habitat of fur-bearing animals such as mink and otter. Endangered animals.  Lynx [Lynx Lynx].  Deer [Capreolus Capreolus].  Moose [Alces Alces].  Brown Bear [Ursus Arctos].
  • 12. A The Bison (Bison bonasus)  The B&B bison, Europe's largest herbivore in Europe. once ranged throughout much of Europe.  “Lithuanian Statutes”: declared by Polish King Sigismund the Old in 1553.  The death penalty was imposed for killing European bison by Sigismund August (1520–1572).
  • 13. A The Bison (Bison bonasus) 1 Geographical range of genus Bison 2 Probable range 3 Range unknown 4 Sites of discovery 5 Routes’ of bison migration in Pliocene and Pleistocene 6 Range of Bison bonansus in Holocene and early historical times Source: Zdzisaw Pucek, 2002, Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan:European Bison, IUCN
  • 14. A The Bison (Bison bonasus) Disappearance England 12th century France 14th century Germany 18th century B&B forest 1919
  • 15. A The Bison : Good News  Bison was successfully reintroduced in the forest.  The animals that survive today are descendants of a handful of animals that had been bred in captivity in German and Scandinavian zoos.  There is differing opinion by some taxonomists, but most scientists consider the B&B bison, also called the Lithuanian bison, to be a different species to American bison.
  • 16. A The Bison : Good News Source: Zdzisaw Pucek, 2002, Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan:European Bison, IUCN
  • 17. A The Bison : Bad News  The Lithuanian bison, the form found in B&B, is one of two sub-species; the other is the now-extinct Caucasian bison.  Two herds of rare European bison range in protected areas along the border of Poland and Belarus.
  • 18. A The Bison : Bad News
  • 19. A The Bison : Bad News
  • 20. A The Bison : Bad News A 2 ½ meter high metal fence prevents bisons from moving between Poland and Belarus
  • 21. A The Bison : Bad News A 2 ½ meter high metal fence separates PolandBelarus •Imagine telling bison to get a passport and a visa!
  • 22. A The Bison & the fence  A ten meter wide dirt security road, patrolled by guards, slices the forest.  The fence was created in 1981, when Belarus, then part of the Soviet Union, following the beginning of the Solidarity movement in Poland.
  • 23. A The Bison & the fence Demographically stable, with low risk of genetic variability losses in 100 years Location Initial 1970 1980 1990 2000 Poland 28 197 242 272 306 Belarus 41 63 `69 315 265 Poland* 15 7 60 66 60 * Populations functioning at risk to the loss of genetic variability Source: Zdzisaw Pucek, 2002, Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan:European Bison, IUCN
  • 24. A
  • 25. A
  • 26. A
  • 27. A
  • 28. A
  • 29. A Importance of Belovezhskaya end of Cold War Leonid Kravchuk, Stanislau Shushkevich, and Boris Yeltsin (left to right), the three signatories of the Belavezha Agreement
  • 30. A Problems know no political boundaries Air pollution Impact of tourism Trampling (vegetation and soil damage) Introduction of alien invasive species Railway line near by that carries harmful chemicals and the disturbance of water regimes by land reclamation in contiguous Belarus forests, to create a reservoir on the Narew River some 12.5km from the park.  Commercial logging is allowed in the surrounding forest complex, and there are fears that the remaining old-growth stands will have disappeared within the next ten years.     
  • 31. A Hope for the future  Conservationists hope that the Bialowieza National Park on the Polish side, and the Belovezhskaya National Park on the Belarus side (B&B for short), will become an international peace park
  • 32. B 1 forest : 2 countries Western Sudety Mountains  The Krkonose/Karkonosze Mountains are part of the Sudetes in north-east Bohemia, a mountain system shared by the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany.  Known as “Kingdom of the Spirit of the Mountains”
  • 33. B 1 forest : 2 countries Western Sudety Mountains  The area is known for its high biodiversity in four altitudinal vegetation belts, from submontane to alpine. Country Poland Czech Name of National Karkonosze Park National Park Krkonoše National Park Population 70 26,700 * Vegetation Forests Meadows Infrastructure Lesser Infrastructure Sports, Tourism Tourists 2.5 - 3 million 6 - 8 million * * 2002 figures
  • 34. B Geological factors  The Karkonosze Mountains are situated on the division of the European water system  It divides the basins of two rivers Elbe  Oder Which means that it separates the basins of the  Baltic Sea, and  North Sea 
  • 35. B Sudety: symbol of cooperation Czech-Polish Biosphere Reserve Bilateral Board  9 working groups on various topics (e.g. nature conservation, tourism, forestry, local communities), under an umbrella of the Czech-Polish Biosphere Reserve Bilateral Board, have been set up in order to provide a forum of communication between the decision-makers of the cross-border region, local stakeholders and experts.
  • 36. B Various activities under joint board 1. 2. Impact of air pollution on montane, subalpine and alpine ecosystems (Czech/Poland) Air and water quality, pedology, pedobiology, hydrology, hydrobiology, forestry, botany, entomology, vertebratology (Czech/Poland) 3. Forest and agricultural management in the mountain areas 4. 5. 6. Meteorology, climate and geology (Czech/Poland) Flora and Fauna (Czech/Poland) Standardising methods of the main species and ecosystem protection (Czech/Poland) Limit the influence of introduced and invasive species 7. (Czech/Poland) (Czech/Poland)
  • 37. B Stake holders  Private forest owners: Czech republic. Associations are often office bearers  Other organisations: Poland – support of Roman Catholic Church was regarded as important  Czech:participation by hunting organisations is necessary because they have high populations of herbivores in forests  Reference: IUCN: biodiversity in forests survey 2002, Francesca Romano & Edward T. Idle
  • 38. B Example of cooperation: Sudety mountains and Black Triangle
  • 39. B Changes in Black Triangle http://www.grid.unep.ch/activities/global_change/blacktriangle/bt_schema.jpg
  • 40. B
  • 41. B http://na.unep.net/digital_atlas2/webatlas.php?id=7
  • 42. B Decline in emissions in Black Triangle Source: Abraham J et al. 2000, Common Report on Air Quality in the Black Triangle Region
  • 43. 1 Nation: 2 Forests Countries Poland-Belarus Poland-Czech Case Studies Case A Case B Results Lack of adequate cooperation Good cooperation Case B shows that “National boundaries need not be barriers”
  • 44. Issue is environmental, but  Factors include Legal  Economic  Scientific  Political, social, cultural etc 
  • 45. Another solution: Euroregions  Apart from bilateral  Euroregions are: strengthening neighbour contacts, developing infrastructure, economic co-operation, environment protection, tourism as well as cultural and educational activities.  The Euroregions include the    Pomerania (Poland, Germany, Sweden) Nysa (Poland, Czech Republic, Germany) Carpathian regions (Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania).  Natura 2000
  • 46. Other countries Peace Parks Foundation  Peace Parks Foundation: Seeks to create a series of trans-frontier peace parks in Southern Africa.  One of projects: a vast peace park linking  Kruger National Park on the South African side  Banhine and Zinave National Parks in Mozambique.  Together with the contiguous Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, the proposed conservation area will be about five times the current size of Kruger, itself the size of New Jersey.
  • 47. Other countries Peace Parks Foundation  An 80-kilometer electric "fence of fire" separated the no-man's land between Mozambique and South Africa.  Since its construction in the mid-1980s, some 100 people have died attempting to cross the barrier, more than the number killed trying to cross the Berlin Wall.
  • 48. Globally  IUCN's World Conservation Monitoring Centre has identified 136 trans-frontier protected area complexes distributed among 98 countries.
  • 49. Poland is known as…. Norman Davies called Poland “God’s Playground”
  • 50. Can Poland set an example for the world
  • 51. History is in Poland’s side  Poland was an architect of the peace park concept, which began with the Crakow (now Krakow) protocol of 1924 in which twin national parks were established along the then-disputed borders of Czechoslovakia and Poland.
  • 52. Belovezhskaya Pushcha in folk culture  The forest is the subject of a famous Russian ballad, "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", composed in 1975 by Aleksandra Pakhmutova, with lyrics by Nikolai Dobronravov. “Here is our long-forgotten family home. And, having heard now and then the voice of ancestors calling, Like a grey little forest bird, from far-away centuries, I fly to you, Belovezhskaya Pushcha”.
  • 53. Addendum – Additional Slides
  • 54. Climatic factors  Humid air from the Atlantic meets dry air originating in the east. This creates a rapid movement of barometric high and low pressures and a resultant changeability in weather systems.  Eastern Poland:  Climate is more continental  Winters are severer  Snow cover lasts longer  Temperature range is greater  Growing period is shorter.  Southern Poland  Climate is entirely different from the rest of the country  Vertical zones caused by the drop in air temperature at high altitudes.
  • 55. Vegetation cover in Poland  Distinction between west and east (as the climate becomes more continental)  Distinction between north and south (corresponding with the parallel layering of the landscape zones)  Vegetation varies according to whether Atlantic or continental influences dominate - with even some Pontic-Panon elements.  As you move east, lowland sub-continental mixed pine-oak and sub-boreal spruce forests become more common (with Eurasian features being especially prominent in the far north-east), while the lowland beech woods and acidophilous oakwoods characteristic of western Poland gradually disappear.
  • 56. Climatic factors  High soil moisture  High atmospheric moisture  Rocks are erodible – greater shallow soil
  • 57. Animal kingdom  There are about 100 species of birds Lower levels: 100 varieties  Peaks : 10 varieties.   The park has 4 species of fish,  6 species of amphibians  5 species of reptiles  The park's attraction are mouflons, brought here at the beginning of the 20th century.