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Białowieża Forest

Belarus, Poland
Factors affecting the property in 1997*
  • Forestry /wood production
  • Management systems/ management plan
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1997
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 1997**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1997
The Bureau noted that reports received from local conservation organisations of logging on the Polish side of this transborder World Heritage area presented an incomplete picture and that sustainable forestry practises occurred only in forests outside of the World Heritage site. The Bureau however, took note of the fact that the Polish authorities have expanded the area of the Bialowieza National Park, from 4,700 ha to 10,500 ha and that the area cited as World Heritage varied between 5,069 ha and 5,346 ha in different documents. The Bureau recalled that the Committee at the time when it inscribed this transborder property in the World Heritage List in 1992 (Santa Fe, USA), called upon the Belarus authorities to prepare a management plan for the Belarus part of the site, in co-ordination with the plan available for the Polish part, and recommended that the two States Parties consider removing the fence between the two parts of the site if the management plan indicated that the fence's removal would lead to enhanced ecosystem viability.

The Bureau requested the Polish authorities to verify the area designated as World Heritage within their territory and inform the Centre as to whether or not they intend to extend the World Heritage area to conform with the new boundaries of the 10,500 ha Bialowieza National Park as established in 1996. The Bureau also called upon the Belarus and Polish authorities to co-operate in the elaboration of a management plan for the Belarus part of this transborder site and consider removing the fence separating the two parts.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1997

In early 1997, the Centre transmitted to the Permanent Delegations of Belarus and Poland, respectively, information received from IUCN concerning logging in this World Heritage site. The Polish Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry of the Department of International Co-operation has provided a report highlighting the fact that logging operations occur only in forests outside of the Bialowieza National Park, an area of about 4,700 ha. However, the original nomination submitted by Poland was for a total area of 5,069 ha; according to the WCMC data sheet on the site however, the World Heritage site includes 4,747 ha of the National Park, together with other protective and buffer zones, as indicated in the map attached to the original nomination and comprises a total of 5,346 ha. Furthermore, the Polish authorities have expanded the area of the National Park to 10,500 ha in July 1996. Forest management in the primeval forests outside of the National Park is carried out in accordance with "Principles of Protective and Sylvicultural Measures", issued by the Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry in 1995 and is considered sustainable.

The Bureau may wish to recall that the Committee at the time when it inscribed this trans-border property in the World Heritage List in 1992 (Santa Fe, USA), called upon the Belarus authorities to prepare a management plan for the Belarus part of the site, in co-ordination with the plan available for the Polish part, and recommended that the two States Parties consider removing the fence between the two parts of the site if the management plan indicated that the fence's removal would lead to enhanced viability.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1997
21 COM VII.C.41
Reports on the State of Conservation of Natural Properties Noted by the Committee

VII.41 The Committee noted the decisions of the twenty-first extraordinary session of the Bureau as reflected in the Report of the Bureau session (Working Document WHC-97/CONF.208/4B Section III.A.c), on the following natural properties:

  • Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
  • Belovezhskaya Pushcha/Bialowieza Forest (Belarus/Poland)
  • Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves/La Amistad National Park (Costa Rica/Panama)
  • Shirakami Sanchi and Yakushima Island (Japan)
  • Whale Sanctuary of El Viscaino (Mexico)
  • Arabian Oryx Sanctuary (Oman)
  • Lake Baikal (Russian Federation)
  • Virgin Komi Forests (Russian Federation)
  • Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)
  • Durmitor National Park (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)).

The Bureau may wish to transmit the above report to the Committee for examination and recommend the following for adoption:

"The Committee requests the Polish authorities to verify the total area designated as World Heritage within their territory and inform the Centre as to whether or not they intend to extend the World Heritage area to include all or parts of the expanded, 10,500 ha Bialowieza National Park, established in 1996. Furthermore, the Committee requests the Belarus and Polish authorities to co-operate in the elaboration of a management plan for the Belarus part of this trans-border site and consider removing the fence separating the two parts."

Report year: 1997
Belarus Poland
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Natural
Criteria: (ix)(x)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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