Building peace in the minds of men and women

West Polesie Transboundary Biosphere Reserve, Belarus/Poland/Ukraine

This transboundary biosphere reserve is located in the Central European Biogeographical Region, and is characterized by boreal coniferous forests and temperate zone deciduous forest.  West Polesie plays a critical role at the juncture of biogeographic regions, migrational pathways, and cultural landscapes.

Designation date: 2012


Regional network:  EuroMab

Ecosystem-based network: 





    Surface : 263,016 ha (48,024 ha in Belarus; 139,917 ha in Poland; 75,075 ha in Ukraine)

    • Core area(s): 15,323 ha (4,367 ha in Belarus; 5,224 ha in Poland; 5,732 ha in Ukraine)
    • Buffer zone(s): 80,877 ha (25,337 ha in Belarus; 43,215 ha in Poland; 12,325 ha in Ukraine)
    • Transition zone(s): 166,816 ha (18,320 ha in Belarus; 91,478 ha in Poland; 57,018 ha in Ukraine)

    Location: 51°30’28”N - 23°37’09”E

    Administrative Authorities

    Poleski National Park - Biosphere Reserve, Poland
    7 Chełmska Str.22-234 Urszulin
    Tel.: (48 82)57 130 71

    Website ǀ Facebook ǀ Twitter


    Shatskyi National Nature Park - Biosphere Reserve, Ukraine
    44021, v. Svitiaz', Shatskyi Rayon Volyn'ska Oblast Ukraine
    Tel.: (380) 3322 23 832; (380) 3322 23 276

    Website ǀ Facebook ǀ Twitter


    Pribuzskoye Polesie - Biosphere Reserve, Belarus
    Valery Prakapiuk
    Cooperativnaya Str. 1 -112 Brest 224005 Belaruss
    Tel.: (375 162) 40 56 00, (375 162 ) 25 31 50

    Website ǀ Facebook ǀ Twitter

    Ecological Characteristics

    The West Polesie biosphere reserve is characterized by a great number of lakes (several tens in Belarus, 62 in Poland and 28 in Ukraine) marshes, meadows, swamp and lake complexes with peculiar flora and fauna, including a number of rare and endangered species from the Red Books of Belarus, Poland and Ukraine and international Red Lists.

    This region is a juncture of different bio-geographic zones, where  plant and animal species  exist on the edge of their geographical range including relic boreal species, Atlantic species and eastern-continental species as well as Pontian species.

    The Polesie is the home of the globally endangered bird Aquatic warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola). It is also the breeding place for European endangered birds like Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis) and Eurasian cranes (Grus grus). The area is considered to be an important crossingpoint for migratory birds. The north-south flyways (White Sea-Baltic-Mediterranean migratory bird passage) and east-west latitudinal migration of birds meet in the Western Polesie.

    Two endemic plant species can be found in the region: Silene lituanica and Festuca polessica as well as four rare Orchid species.

    The West Polesie Biosphere Reserve will enlarge possibilities for biodiversity conservation in the European region, and at the same time will considerably mitigate boundary effects for migrating animals such as wolves, elk, European bison and others.


    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    The estimated population in the entire biosphere reserve is 68,000. More than 90% lives in the transition zone and the rest lives in the buffer zone. The Polesie region is a melting pot of different influences of cultures, nationalities and religions such as Catholicism, Orthodoxian and Judaism. The biosphere reserve represents and protects a unique landscape at the cultural edge of  Eastern and Western Europe. The main economic activities of this area are agriculture, tourism, weekend recreation, and sustainable forestry and fishing.

    In rural areas there are many examples of traditional wooden architecture, which is characteristic of the Polesie region.

    In 1993, as a result of an international agreement, the Euroregion “BUG” territory was formed to strengthen economic, cultural and environmental cooperation. The biosphere reserve will play a significant role in this cooperation.


    Back to Biosphere Reserves in Belarus
    Back to Biosphere Reserves in Poland
    Back to Biosphere Reserves in Ukraine
    Back to Biosphere Reserves in Europe & North America
    Back to World Network of Biosphere Reserves


    Last updated: August 2019