Reserve “Yelnya”

Today, attention will be given to one of the largest on the European continent (and also to the largest in the territory of Belarus) lake-mire complex – the National Landscape Reserve “Yelnya”. About 30 medium and large lakes located within its territory. The largest is Yelnya and Black. Between the lakes are connected by a data channels. This place impresses all visitors with its magical beauty and size. The lake-mire complex includes 118 lakes all (if you count and small). Mainly in the reserve is considered Lake Yelnya (although some believe that it is still more appropriate to call the marsh). But let disputes about naming aside, and will pay attention to his secrets. Yelnya – this is the most that neither is a real natural chronicle! It is extremely interesting, because it is a true monument to bygone ice age (though in modern form it still formed about nine thousand years ago). This is one of the oldest objects in the territory of modern Belarus. Since man his activity here shows the minimum, it is possible to meet a large number of unique animals and plants in the vicinity. Apart from these there are still large untapped deposits of peat.

Yelnya Reserve has strategic importance in the issue of preservation of bogs and typical vegetation. It was created in 1968, but in the third millennium, he found recognition at the international level. So, it was granted the status of key ornithological and botanical area (respectively in 2000 and 2005). In addition, Yelnya considered a Ramsar territory since 2002. The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus is considering this place as an area of ​​national importance. In addition, three-quarters of ecosystems (or to be more precise – 75.2%) according to the EU Habitats Directive are those that should be given due consideration for the conservation of biological and landscape diversity on a European scale. Due attention and termination of reclamation activities has led to what is now the area can be observed in the state close to its natural state.

Who is from north to south it stretches for twenty and a half kilometers. From west to east the length a little less – only 16.6 kilometers. The area of ​​this amazing, beautiful place – 253.01 square kilometers (or 25,301 hectares). Geographically located in the reserve Šarkaŭščyna and Miory district, Vitebsk region. Initially Yelnya was formed to preserve the marsh array “Great Moss” in its natural form. In 1981, it expanded. Assigning a Ramsar territory status is a recognition on a global level the value of this wetland. Yelnya Reserve nestled undeveloped bogs, whose role in maintaining the hydrological regime of the area is difficult to underestimate because of the significant impact on the climate. Form of lake-mire complex oval.

It should be noted that some reservoirs have their own island (as a rule, they floatable type). Most of them can boast an area of ​​more than one hectare. In addition, they also are not deep. Let’s look at Yelnya as the largest body of water. Its maximum depth – only three and a half meters (although, in fairness it should be noted that, if desired, this is more than enough to drown if desired). The area of ​​water surface – 5.42 square kilometers, and the catchment area – 14.4 km2. Reserve geographically belongs to the subzone of oak-conifer broad-leaved spruce by taiga foxes. So here you can observe the structural features of the marsh and forest bog complexes, which were covered our lands many centuries ago. It grows at least 192 species of vascular plants, among them – 12 species of trees, shrubs 5, 4 half-shrubs, 22 shrubs and 134 species of herbaceous plants. Besides Yelnya – it is also a refuge for a large number of insects. Many of them live here from the time when the last ice age receded. It lives here alone 149 species of moths. Apart from these there are 117 species of birds, 31 species of mammals and 7 species of amphibians. Among the larger animals the most attention is paid to elk, wild boars, roe deer, mallards, teals, diving ducks, marsh owls, grouse, white partridge, hare, beaver, fox, raccoon dogs and wolves. In addition to them during the departure you can watch the geese of up to two and a half million units, and ducks, of which there are up to a thousand birds. It should be noted that although the number of these species and is not large (typically tens or hundreds of representatives, and eagles are generally only one pair) for Belarus, where they live is very compact with a rather high density of “population”. Apart from them there are often found and cranes. All this beauty can be contemplated at one with the four tourist routes or environmental pathways.

Reserve “Yelnya” in 2012 made the place where part of festivals “Shadoof i cranberry Mіёrskago state”. In 2016 he was held in the middle of September (from 12 to 17 numbers). When traveling, they teach that in the swamps need to move slowly and in small steps. This is easier to keep your balance and take your feet off the ground. In 2013, its territory was opened a modern center of reference. Special attention should be paid to the ecological path, which was established under the EU/UNDP project. It is an important stage of development of the tourist potential of the place and draw attention to this place. The very nature trail is a wooden deck, which stretches for half a kilometer. On it you can walk to the beautiful lakes where you can swim in the pleasant waters. It should be noted that for a long time, the surrounding population Yelnya was considered a disaster, because the water fueled the surrounding area. But lately, more and more often hear the statement that is true happiness due to its ecological value and tourism potential. The construction of the ecological path was not an easy matter. Since the equipment pass in this place can not, the builders had to carry on all the materials. Now it can be found walking on it with numerous information stands, admire the beauty of a survey of sites where there are optical instruments and sound like swamp buggies. It offers visitors invited and swamp buggies, with which you can save the lives of careless tourists or organize individual trips. Despite the amazing beauty of this place can not yet boast a significant number of visitors. Well, maybe it’s for the better, because now you can enjoy nature, which is still almost no one has seen, and that could not spoil the careless people.

It should be noted also that, unfortunately, this place was not lucky to avoid environmental problems. Thus, among the most significant to be noted, though slight, but steady decline in the number of rare species of animals and plants, as well as the fact that the vegetation changes with moss on the heather. So, here you can find birch, which in itself is in this case a negative factor, because the evidence about the fact that do not have enough moisture. The impact on the state of affairs have a drainage channel melioration and peat sites that are adjacent to Yelnya. Now it adopted a set of actions aimed at changing the situation. For this purpose, special facilities are being built. Why is this a concern? The fact that the marshes are of good quality natural water filters and help cleanse the air of greenhouse gases. In addition, the existence of this territory and economic feasibility. So, here alone cranberry local population gathers around five million dollars each year. The estimated amount of the collected product weight is about 150-400 tons. Moving through the area may be noted that most of it is overgrown with a small pine tree, which covers a significant portion of the land relative. Interest and provides a local shrub.

The basis for the water supply swamps are rainfall and groundwater. Many swamps and lakes linked by canals and rivulets. Another negative point was the reclamation of surrounding areas fall in the groundwater level, which is why almost every year large fires occur here. Also, despite the fact that about sixty percent of the territory considered to be impassable, you can meet the many fishermen and woodsman from the local community.

When moving to be careful not only because of the marshland and the potential to get stuck, but also due to the fact that here the usual five snake species. In addition to the above problems, and it should be noted rather weak control over the activity of the population. So, quite often recorded cases where hunters and fishermen pull down the birds’ nests, many of which are in the Red Book of Belarus. A certain anxiety delivers unregulated and collecting gifts of nature, because it is often damaged above the ground coating, which leads to a disturbance of animals living here. As the necessary measures, many environmentalists and simply not indifferent people offer a range of measures. Among them is a proposal to ban the drainage works on the territory of Yelnya, and at its edges. In addition, it is recommended to block the channels through which of lake-mire complex water flows. You should also take care of the observance of the ban on hunting and fishing. Some even suggest that because of considerable value area, to create a special structure that will manage this territory.

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