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The scientific department has its history since the establishment of the Belarusian State Reserve "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" in 1939. Thanks to the desire of scientists to record in detail all that happens, its history can be described very scrupulously, reflecting the formation stages and the development of the entire institution.

The scientific department has its history since the establishment of the Belarusian State Reserve "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" in 1939. Thanks to the desire of scientists to record in detail all that happens, its history can be described very scrupulously, reflecting the formation stages and the development of the entire institution.
The reserve began its scientific work in May 1940. The leading scientists of the Belarusian Forestry Engineering Institute and the Belarusian Forestry Research Institute were invited for surveying. A great assistance was rendered by well-known scientists as well, directed by the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, who helped to establish scientific research in the summer of 1940.
By the beginning of 1941, a small scientific team capable of solving scientific and practical problems had formed in the reserve. But the unfolding studies were interrupted by the war that had begun, during which both the perpetrators and the director of the reserve, P.P. Semashko, died.
After the war, scientific work in Pushcha resumed almost immediately after its liberation from the German invaders. The expeditions of a number of institutions directed by the USSR Academy of Sciences were already working here in 1945.
The scientific department began to form in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Although there was only one research associate in the reserve staff by the beginning of 1946 (V.G. Prokhorov, botanist), two more were taken by the end of the year - zoologist V.F. Gavrin and botanist V.М. Nikolaeva. But almost up to the 60s, the works of expeditionary nature prevailed, which were mainly carried out by scientists sent from different cities of the Soviet Union to Pushcha.
By 1950, the number of researchers in the reserve reached seven people. A systematic scientific research work on its flora and fauna has begun, which continues to this day. The most important topic of research was related to the development of scientific bases for bison breeding in conditions of existence in the wild. This work was carried out by S.S. Donaurov, the director of the reserve himself. But the questions of the bison re-acclimatization began to be developed most seriously with the arrival of L.N. Korochkina in the scientific department, who became the founder of bison breeding in conditions of existence in the wild.
In 1948, a weather station was opened in the village of Kamenyuki. The regularly keeping of «Annals of Nature», was began, in which all the changes in flora and fauna, climate, the state of the natural environment, phenological phenomena and many others were recorded.
In the fifties, the most important studies were conducted by V.F. Gavrin, A.P. Krapivny, A.N. Kurskov, N.F. Krutogorsky, B.Z. Golodushko, R.S. Bulygina, A.P. Utenkova, B.M. Zefirov.
But especially intensively scientific research began to develop with the arrival of director V.S. Romanov, though the reserve was transformed into the State Hunting Reserve Farm (SHRF) during this period. Under the pretence of the need to organize hunting for general secretaries who chose Pushcha as their hunting ground, they managed to get money for scientific research as well. The beginning of the SHRF scientific tractates publication was given a start, numerous scientific publications of the staff appeared in the press.
The Romanov’s directorship was subsequently replaced by arborist scientist V.P. Romanovsky. His science deputy was S.B. Kochanovsky, who later replaced Romanovsky as director. This tandem of two scientists proved to be very fruitful. The scientific department under the guidance of S.B. Kochanovsky not only carried out research well, but also expanded it year after year. Since in 1957, when the reserve was reorganized into a reserve hunting farm, the scientific department was excluded from the number of research institutions, it was necessary to make considerable efforts to return this status. This happened in 1969 on the State Committee of the USSR of Science and Technology basis (Protocol No. 47 of August 14, 1969) and the Council of Ministers of the BSSR decision (Protocol No. 1022 of October 8, 1969).
In a short time, the scientific department had become a powerful scientific institution. It had already employed more than fifty people, including 37 research associates. Three research laboratories were created -  «Ecology of wild animals» under the guidance of L.N. Korochkina, «Forest Science» under the guidance of V.N. Pusher and «Plant Protection» under the guidance of S.B. Kochanovsky. On the basis of the scientific department, the creation of the Institute of Biogeocenology and Ecology was planned with 10 scientific laboratories and a staff of scientific employees of about 200 people, which, unfortunately, was not realized.
A number of international, all-Union and regional meetings and conferences was held, and a huge stack of scientific research and environmental work was carried out. A collection of scientific works "Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Studies ", several monographs were released based on the research materials, more than twenty popular science books, brochures and booklets came out, over a hundred scientific works were published in soviet and republican publications, highly qualified personnel was trained.
In general, during the existence of the SHRF, the staff of the scientific department, in addition to the above-mentioned collection, published a number of monographs, including «Heartrot of aspen» by S.B. Kochanovsky, «Ungulates of Belovezhskaya Pushcha» by T.B. Sablina, «Flora of Belovezhskaya Pushcha» by V.M. Nikolaeva, the collective monograph «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» by B.M. Zefirov, «The Annotated Bibliographic Index of Native Literature», covering the period from 1835 to 1983, materials from three Soviet-Polish conferences on bison breeding, etc.
Of the popular scientific publications «Past and present of Belovezhskaya Pushcha» by B.V. Kester and S.V. Shostak, «Hunter Bats» by A.N. Kurskov, «Notes of the Naturalist» by S.V. Shostak should be noted. The popular-scientific series, consisting of seven compact books enjoyed a great success: «The Museum of Nature» by S.B. Kochanovsky and V.A. Datskevich,«History. Bison» by S.B. Kochanovsky and L.N. Korochkina, «Beasts» by V.A. Datskevich, «Birds» by V.A. Datskevich, «Insects» by N.G. Dyachenko, «Forests» by A.Z. Strelkova, «Mushrooms» by P.K. Mikhalevich.
By 1980, the herbarium of the scientific department already contained about 7,000 herbarium leaves, numbering 844 species of flowering and higher spore plants, 140 species of mosses and lichens, 160 species of introduced trees and shrubs.
During the period when Pushcha entered the system of reserve hunting facilities, and later became the national park, in addition to the above-mentioned leading specialists more people worked in the forest scientific department: L.N. Korochkina, V.M. Nikolaeva, E.A. Ramlav, B.V. Kester, N.S. Smirnov, O.M. Grushevskaya. V.A. Datskevich, L.E. Dvorak, A.V. Padutova, G.M. Malinovskaya, Y.S. Rusanov, D.V. Vladyshevsky, V.M. Popenko, V.A. Penkevich, A.A. Penkevich, Y.P. Kochko, F.P. Kochko, P.K. Mikhalevich, L.V. Kirst, V.N. Tolkach, N.G. Dyachenko, V.V. Tatarinov, A.Z. Strelkov, S.V. Shostak, P.F. Khimin, P.G. Kozlo, A.N. Bunevich, V.P. Ostapuk, V.V. Semakov, A.V. Dengubenko and other.
In 1991, the State Reserve Hunting Farm was transformed into the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". But in connection with the general crisis in the country during this period, the scientific department was practically not replenished with specialists. Human labor resources were enough only for conducting the basic directions of research, without which scientific activity lost its significance. These were works on the conservation and multiplication of the bison population, the study of dynamic processes in forest bulks and the causes that directly or indirectly affect their orientation, as well as individual Red Book objects. At the beginning of the national park formation it first was headed by V.N. Pusher, and then V.V. Semakov.
In the 2000s a number of young specialists came to the scientific department, which gives hope for its further development. As a continuation of the old traditions, the collection of scientific works «Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Research». is published again. A number of International Conferences were held, including four International Scientific and Practical Conferences «Ecological and economic mechanism for conservation of specially protected natural areas biodiversity», a conference dedicated to establishing of the beginning of the first elements introduction of the protected areas in Belovezhskaya Pushcha and etc., on the results of which materials and thesis were published. Belovezhskaya Pushcha employees (A.N. Bunevich) took part in the preparation of the collective monograph «Ecological and veterinary aspects of bison in Belarus», as well as the monograph «Bison in Belarus» (P.G. Kozlo, A.N. Bunevich). Together with the geobotanical station of the University of Warsaw (Poland), the publication «Atlas of alien woody species of Bialowieza Primeval Forest», was published, in which the distribution of tree introducers in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha territory is described (Adamowski W., Dvorak L., Romanjuk I.).
A lot of work is being done to publish popular science literature, books, brochures, guidebooks, booklets, calendars, illustrated materials, and etc. and to provide information support for tourism activities. Semakova "Belovezhskaya Pushcha. 1902-2002 ", L.N. Korochkina "The Bison of Belovezhskaya Pushcha", V.V. Semakova and N.D. Cherkasy "Belovezhskaya Pushcha: pages of history", brochures "The estate of Belarusian Santa Claus", "The Lord of Belovezhskaya Pushcha", "Reserve places: Belovezhskaya Pushcha" and a number of others.
According to the results of the competition dedicated to the 85th foundation anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, scientific research of Candidate of Biological Sciences Bunevich A.N. was awarded for the cycle of works "The bison in Belarus: Revival and perspectives".
The specific nature of the Pushcha complex and its characteristic problems require an innovative approach to justify the management of this unique territory. As a result of collective work of scientists in 2008, the national park’s Management Plan was created. In 2015, taking into account the estimation of the current situation, the analysis of the activities implementation of the previous period and public proposals, the activities of the directive part of the Management Plan for 2016-2020 have been developed.
A large amount of work is done by the scientific department to maintain the international image of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. In 2012, an international examination of the national park was carried out as part of the resumption of the Council of Europe Diploma for Protected Areas, as a result of which the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe extended the validity of the Diploma for 5 years (until 2018). In 2013 the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" became a partner of the European network PAN Parks and was awarded the "Wilderness Diploma". Together with colleagues from the Polish side of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the procedure for filing a nomination dossier for the World Heritage Site of UNESCO on new criteria was carried out. Since 2014, Belovezhskaya Pushcha is a transboundary World Heritage Site under the common name "Bialowieza Forest" on both sides of the border. Work is underway to adapt the status of the Biosphere Reserve "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" to national legislation.
A number of research topics aimed at supporting the reserve within the framework of the international project "Environmental Program for Belovezhskaya Pushcha" are being implemented in accordance with the Memorandum of Cooperation with the Frankfurt Zoological Society and the NGO "Protection of native land birds".
Research is planned on the topic "Scientific support of nature protection activities and sustainable management of Belovezhskaya Pushcha resources" for 2016-2020, which includes the following lines:

  • study of succession and demutation processes features in forest formations with different regime of protection of natural complexes;
  • estimation of the current state and long-term dynamics of wild ungulates, including the European bison population of Belovezhskaya Pushcha;
  • study of species diversity and patterns of structural organization of hollow and nest birds communities in forest ecosystems of Belovezhskaya Pushcha;
  • study of the economic activity impact on the Belovezhskaya Pushcha territory on the status of coleopterous insects populations included in the Red Book of the Republic of Belarus;
  • dynamics of processes and phenomena in natural complexes of Belovezhskaya Pushcha (Chronicle of nature);
  • investigation of the phytopathological state of woodlands and succession evaluation processes in rare formations (ash trees, maple trees and lime trees);
  • inventory reconciliation, preparing an expansion forecast and developing measures to combat invasive plant and animal species in the national park;
  • inventory reconciliation, evaluation of the state and identification of factors determining the dynamics of oligotrophic pine phytocenosis;
  • inventory and assessment of the state of mycoflora in Belovezhskaya Pushcha;
  • ecosystem analysis of indicator species distribution in connection with the boundaries dynamics of the protected area;
  • compiling a list, identifying the location and areas of typical and rare biotopes of the national park;
  • creation and updating of the server database for systematization and rapid information accumulation on the national park biome;
  • the flora inventory of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" and Forest hunting farm "Shereshevskoye" with the implementation of the results in the server database;
  • inventory of material objects of the historical and cultural landscape of Belovezhskaya Pushcha;
  • study of the influence of conducting intensive hunting activities and game breeding of the Pashukovsky forestry on the processes of natural reforestation with the purpose of determining the optimal number of wild ungulates;
  • development of practical recommendations for the improvement and development of ecotourism;
  • developing and ensuring the phased implementation of activities for scientific tourism organization (including for foreign scientists).

The mentioned areas of research are consistent with the objectives of the State Nature Protection Institution for the preservation of unique natural complexes, biological and landscape diversity, sustainable management and use in environmental conservation, educational, recreational and other purposes. Observing the population state of rare and most common species in monitoring mode, studying the features of dynamic processes in forest ecosystems, establishing the functioning patterns of environmental components is the basis for adequate management of the natural and territorial complex based on recommendations for optimizing the protection and use of the natural potential of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The research is carried out within the framework of the subtask "Scientific provision of nature protection activities and sustainable management of the resources of Belovezhskaya Pushcha", task 2.22 of the State Program of scientific research "Nature management and ecology" for 2016-2020. Scientific research institutions are an integral part of knowledge in the field of fundamental biological sciences about the national heritage of the Republic of Belarus and the UNESCO World Heritage - Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The sources of institution activities financing are both the republican budget and raised funds from off-budgetary activities. In the international aspect, scientific research is focused on the implementation of the conditions and recommendations for the European Diploma extension, as well as the requirements for the management of Belovezhskaya Pushcha transboundary (Belarus-Poland) World Heritage Site of UNESCO.
In a practical aspect, scientific research will also be oriented at: 

  • fulfilling the long-term goals of the Management Plan for the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha";
  • implementation of the object concept of "Scientific and selection center for the study, conservation and sustainable use of bison populations";
  • implementation of the measures plan to ensure the safety of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha unique natural complexes and to increase the effectiveness of the "SNPI "NP" Belovezhskaya Pushcha" activities;
  • development of international cooperation, improvement of educational and environmental activities;
  • implementation of the State Program "Environmental protection and sustainable use of natural resources" for 2016-2020;
  • ensuring compliance with the international FSC certification standards for sustainable forest usage and the Belovezhskaya Pushcha resources management;
  • development of international cooperation, improvement of environmental education and nature protection activities, formation and strengthening of the national park’s international image;
  • implementation of the international project to support the "Nature conservation Program for Belovezhskaya Pushcha" within the framework of the Memorandum of Cooperation with the Frankfurt Zoological Society (Germany).

Scientific contacts are maintained on the basis of cooperation agreements with the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus, the Belarusian State University, the Belarusian State Technological University, the Brest Technical University, the Polessky Agrarian and Environmental Institute, the Moscow State Forest University, and research institutes located on the Polish side of Belovezhskaya Pushcha: Institute of Mammal Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Natural Forest Research Institute, the Botanical station of the Warsaw University, as well as the Bialowieza National Park (Republic of Poland), the National Park "Lower Oder Valley" (Germany) and other environmental institutions.

THE DEPARTMENT STRUCTURE:

Name

Position

Specialization

1

Arnolbik Vasily Mikhailovich

General director deputy for Science and Environmental Education, Candidate of Agricultural Sciences

arborist

Bunevich Alexey Nikolaevich

Leading research associate, Candidate of Biological Sciences

mammalogist

Bernatsky Dmitry Ivanovich

Head of department

arborist

Kniga Ruslan Sergeevich

Research associate in History, Ethnography and Ecology

historian

Bubenko Andrei Nikolaevich

Research associate

entomologist

Kravchuk Vyacheslav Grigorievich

Leading research associate

arborist

Kravchuk Valentina Vyacheslavovna

Research associate

botanist

Kuzmitsky Anton Nikolaevich

Research associate

ornithologist

Gorustovich Ekaterina Alexandrovna

Junior research associate

mammalogist

10 

Kipen Tatyana Vladimirovna

Junior research associate

botanist

11 

Korotya Sergey Anatolievich

Junior research associate

mammalogist

12 

Novik Elena Leonidovna

Junior research associate

botanist

13 

Yakubovsky Nikita Gennadievich

Junior research associate

arborist

14 

Arnolbik Valentina Nikolaevna

Senior assistant

 
15 

Bernatskaya Elena Grigiryevna 

Senior assistant  
16 

Yurkovskiy Sergey Sergeevich

Senior assistant  
17 

Myshlennik Dmitriy Sergeevich

Driver
18

Prokopchuk Vadim Vasilievich

Senior Assistant

 
19

Kaplinsky Vladimir Mikhailovich

Senior Assistant