Bialowieza National Park

Quick facts

  • European Diploma of Protected Areas (code PL940001)
  • Since 1997
  • Country: Poland
  • Administrative region: Not available
  • Surface area: 105 km2 (10501.95 ha)
  • Marine area: Not available

Source and more information: Council of Europe


Site contact authorities

Manager Directorate of Bialowieza National Park 17-230 Bialowieza (Poland) tel.: (++48 85) 68 12 306; Tel./ Fax.: (48 85) 68 123 23
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General character of the site Bialowieza National Park comprises the best preserved forest ecosystems in the European lowlands in the zone of deciduous and mixed forests. The treestands are of natural origin, i.e. they have not been artificially planted, a number of them have a character close to that of primeval forest. They are characterised by a multi-aged and multi-layered structure as well as multi-species composition, which depends on habitat conditions. Thanks to, among others, the fact that since 1921 the ecosystems have been strictly protected, all processes have been developing here in a natural way. 
Quality An exceptional state of preservation of the Bialowieza National Park ecosystems including genetic resources, unique richness of its flora and fauna have an extraordinary importance in the European scale. Presence of many relict species of primeval forest, e.g. population of wild European bison (counted together with Belorussian part constitutes the largest stock in the world) reflects the extremely high international value of Bialowieza National Park. 
Vulnerability Every year the Park is visited by over 10000 foreign tourists, including many specialised groups, and growing number of nature lovers, such as bird watchers, members of WWF and other environmental NGO's acting in a regional or global scale. 
Owner State Treasury 
Documentation -Falinski, J.B. (1986), Vegetation dynamics in temperate lowland primeval forest. Ecological studies in Bialowieza Forest. Geobotany 8, Dr. W. Junk Publishers, Dordrecht - Boston- Lancaster, 537 p.-Falinski, J.B. (1987), Bialowieza Forest (in "XIV International Botanical Congress. Guide to Excursion No. 25. The phanerogamic and cryptogamic flora and vegetation of NE Poland": 37-58-Falinski, J.B., Mulenko, W. (ed.), 1992, Cryptogamous plants in the forest communities of Bialowieza National Park (project CRYPTO), Phytocoenosis, vol. 4 (N.S.) Archivum Geobotanicum 3, Warzawa-Bialowieza: 48P.-Kawecka, A. (1994), Strict nature reserve of the Bialowieza National Park, Bialowieza: 32 pp. -Krasinski, Z. (1978), Dynamics and Structure of the European bison population in the Bialowieza Primeval Forest, Acta Theriologica, Bialowieza, 23, 1: 3-48-Krasinski, Z. (1993), Bison - a relict of ancient times. Bialowieza National Park, Bialowieza: 14 pp.-Okolow, C. (1986), The Bialowieza Primeval Forest - the pearl of European Forests. Parks, London, 11, 2-3: 6-10-Okolow, C. (1989), Die Nationalparks in Poland, Suddeutsche Verlag, Munchen: 214-223-Okolow, C. (1992), Scientific research in Bialowieza World Heritage Site, IUCN, Gland-Cambridge: 89-94-Okolow, C. (1993), Transboundary protection possible?, Land of primeval forest and roaming bisons. WWF Baltic Bulletin, Uppsala, 4-5/93: 25-27-Okolow, C. (1993), Bialowieza, Polski Komitet M&B, Warszawa: 57-76-Okolow, C. (1994), Monuments of material culture in the Bialowieza National Park, Bialowieza: 31 pp.-Sokolowski, A.W. (1981), Flora of the vascular plants of the Bialowieza National Park, Fragn. flor. et geobot., Krakow 27, 1-2: 51-131 (Pol. with Engl. Summ.)-Sokolowski, A.W. (1983), Restoring the bison's habitat in Bialowieza, Ambio, Stockholm 12, 3-4: 197-202-Sokolowski, A.W. (1993), Phytosociological characteristics of forest communities in the Bialowieza National Park with a map. Parki nar. Rez. przyr., Bialowieza, 12, 3: 190 pp.-Tomialojc, L. (1991), Characteristics of old growth in the Bialowieza Forest, Poland, Natural Area Journal, USA, 11, 1: 7-18-Tomialojc, L., Wesolowski, T., Walankiewicz, W. (1984), Breeding bird community of primeval temperate forest (Bialowieza National Park, Poland), Acta orn., Warszawa, 20, 3: 241-310-Tomialojc, L., Wesolowski, T.(1990), Bird communities of the primeval temperate forest of Bialowieza National Park, Poland, Academic Press, The Hague: 142-165 
Habitat types  
Potential vegetation  
Geomorphology The Park area is covered by glacial deposits of ground moraine, such as even-and uneven-grained sand, loams, clays and silt covering jointly about 80% of the area, the rest being deposits of organic origin. The most frequent are brown soils, grey brown podzolic soils, pseudogley soils, podzolic soils, brown podzolic soils, and gley soils. Much less frequent are black forest soils, half bog soils, and peat soils of the lowmoors and transitional moors. Highmoors cover limited areas. 
Educational interest Protecting the last remaining forest of natural character, Bialowieza National Park is invaluable for education and learning and as such is used in training of foresters, biologists and teachers. This is also an outstanding object to tourism for nature lovers. The park also has a natural science museum, demonstrative enclosure with wild animals (European bisons, polish "koniks", ungulates and wolves), a Natural Educational Centre, trained touristic guides specialised in nature oriented touristics. 
Cultural heritage Numerous traces of human activity have been preserved in the Park area, such as archeological sites. The detailed inventory has revealed 183 barrows from the early middle ages. They are complemented by many hollowed trees, used for bee-keeping, remains of pitch factories and charcoal piles, as well as mourning places such as execution grounds from the times of the second world war. There is also an old cemetery from the end of XIX and beginning of XX century, a palace part with design from the end of XIX century, former forester cottage (recently Nature Education Centre), an old wooden house constructed in 1845. 
Management plan  
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URL interesting  

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100