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Location Poland, podlaskie
Central coordinates 23o 43.00' East  52o 46.00' North
IBA criteria C1, C6
Area 62,500 ha
Altitude 135 - 197m
Year of IBA assessment 2010

Ogólnopolskie Towarzystwo Ochrony Ptaków



Site description The site comprises the Polish part of the Bia³owie¿a forest, one of the largest and best preserved areas of primary lowland temperate forest in Europe, together with small remnants of the Ladzka forest. The forest covers 1,500 km2 of flat plain, of which 620 km2 are in Poland, the rest in Belarus. Moraine hills rise only c.30 m above the landscape. All rivers which run through the forest have water sources there or on its periphery. Most of the forest lies in the Narew and Bug tributaries of the Wis³a (Vistula) catchment. The northern part is drained by tributaries of the Niemen, and the western part is part of the Dniestr catchment. There is an almost total lack of standing water, apart from small bogs. The proportion of forest that can be classed as primeval is not large, but many trees are over 200 years old (old-growth). Most forest is on dry ground, dominated by lime Tilia and hornbeam Carpinus, while the most interesting ornithologically is dominated by oak Quercus. Along valley watercourses there is carr of alder Alnus and ash Fraxinus, with Alnus forest in swampy hollows. There is mixed forest of pine Pinus and Quercus, as well as coniferous forest (mainly on wet soils) dominated by spruce Picea and Pinus. As a result of centuries of man's activities there are clearings, forest settlements, hay-meadows along rivers, road systems and trails, narrow-gauge railways, felling sites, hunting areas and gravel-pits.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Hazel Grouse Bonasa bonasia breeding  1999-2001  1,600-1,800 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Least Concern 
European Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus breeding  2003-2004  90-120 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Least Concern 
Lesser Spotted Eagle Clanga pomarina breeding  2003-2004  30-35 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Least Concern 
Corncrake Crex crex breeding  1999-2001  80-120 males only  poor  C1  Least Concern 
Spotted Crake Porzana porzana breeding  1999-2001  10-40 males only  poor  C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Pygmy-owl Glaucidium passerinum breeding  1999-2001  80-100 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Least Concern 
Boreal Owl Aegolius funereus breeding  1999-2001  30-50 breeding pairs  poor  C6  Least Concern 
European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus breeding  1985-1994  250-280 breeding pairs  poor  C6  Least Concern 
Dendrocopos leucotos breeding  1999-2005  60-90 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Not Recognised 
Picoides tridactylus breeding  1999-2001  60-80 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Not Recognised 
Middle Spotted Woodpecker Leiopicus medius breeding  1999-2001  1,100-1,300 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Least Concern 
Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria breeding  1985-1994  200-220 breeding pairs  poor  C6  Least Concern 
Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis breeding  1999-2001  5,000-10,000 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Least Concern 
Ficedula parva breeding  1999-2001  300-600 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Not Recognised 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Belovezhskaya Pushcha / Bialowieza Forest World Heritage Site 92,676 protected area contained by site 10,502  
Berezowo Nature Reserve 115 protected area contained by site 115  
Bialowieski PN National Park 10,517 protected area contained by site 10,502  
Bialowieza UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 10,502 protected area contained by site 10,502  
Debowy Grad Nature Reserve 100 protected area contained by site 100  
Dolina Górnej Narwi - PLB200007 Birds Directive 18,384 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Dolina Waliczówki Nature Reserve 45 protected area contained by site 45  
Gleboki Kat Nature Reserve 40 protected area contained by site 40  
Gnilec Nature Reserve 37 protected area contained by site 37  
Kozlowe Borki Nature Reserve 246 protected area contained by site 247  
Lipiny Nature Reserve 56 protected area contained by site 57  
Michnówka Nature Reserve 85 protected area contained by site 85  
Nieznanowo Nature Reserve 28 protected area contained by site 28  
Olszanka Mysliszcze Nature Reserve 277 protected area contained by site 278  
Ostoja w Dolinie Górnej Narwi - PLH200010 Habitats Directive 20,307 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Podcerkwa Nature Reserve 115 protected area contained by site 115  
Podolany Nature Reserve 15 protected area contained by site 15  
Pogorzelce Nature Reserve 8 protected area contained by site 8  
Przewloka Nature Reserve 79 protected area contained by site 78  
Puszcza Biatowieska - PLC200004 Birds Directive 63,148 protected area contains site 62,500  
Rezerwat Krajobrazowy Nature Reserve 1,356 protected area contained by site 1,357  
Siemianówka Nature Reserve 225 protected area contained by site 225  
Sitki Nature Reserve 35 protected area contained by site 35  
Starzyna Nature Reserve 369 protected area contained by site 369  
Szczekotowo Nature Reserve 37 protected area contained by site 37  
Wysokie Bagno Nature Reserve 79 protected area contained by site 79  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Alluvial and very wet forest; Broadleaved deciduous woodland; Mixed woodland; Native coniferous woodland  85%
Grassland Humid grasslands; Mesophile grasslands  5%
Wetlands (inland) Raised bogs; Rivers and streams; Standing freshwater; Water fringe vegetation  5%
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land; Highly improved re-seeded landscapes; Other urban and industrial areas; Ruderal land; Urban parks and gardens  5%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 5%
forestry 70%
nature conservation and research 20%
urban/industrial/transport 5%
hunting -

Protection status National Partial International Partial10,502 ha of IBA covered by National Park (Bia³owieski, 10,502 ha). 3,463 ha of IBA covered by 20 Nature Reserves (Berezowo; Dolina Waliczówki; Dêbowy Gr¹d; Gnilec; G³êboki K¹t; Koz³owe Borki; Lipiny; Michnówka; Nieznanowo; Olszanka Myœliszcze; Podcerkwia; Podolany; Pogorzelce; Przew³oka; W³adys³awa Szafera; Siemianówka; Sitki; Starzyna; Szczekotowo; Wysokie Bagno; combined area 3,463 ha). 10,502 ha of IBA covered by Biosphere Reserve (Bia³owie¿a National Park, 10,502 ha). 10,502 ha of IBA covered by World Heritage Site (Bia³owie¿a National Park, 10,502 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bialowieza Forest. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/10/2014

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