Pilot project in Belarus: Controlled Fire of Dry Vegetation as Innovative Solution to Protect Ecosystems of Peatlands

Second controlled burning of dry vegetation was conducted on 6 March 2017 in Republican Biological Reserve “Sporaūski”. This relatively new tool of peatlands sustainable management in Belarus aimed at protection of biodiversity and prevention of unregulated burnings that pose treat for population, forest and farm lands and have catastrophic consequences for natural ecosystems.

“Controlled fire of dry vegetation is one of tools aimed at sustainable management of peatlands. We use this method only for territories, where it is impossible to harvest biomass, or on large areas,” commented Mikhail Maksimenkov, Scientific Coordinator of the EU-UNDP Project “Clima-East” during the round table that focused on this issue.

For the first time the method was tested in 2015 in Republican Landscape Reserve “Zvaniec” (one of the pilot territories of EU-UNDP project “Clima-East”). Vegetation monitoring of 2016 year demonstrated positive influence of controlled fire on nature: preservation or increase of species wealth in one year after conduction, absence of shrubs outgrowth, decrease of reed productivity and projective cover.

Controlled fires generate interest among all involved in environment protection activity: representatives of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection, Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Belarus, Brest Regional Committee of Natural Resources and Environment Protection, Drahičyn and Biaroza District Inspections of Natural Resources, NGOs, and mass media participated in this year event.

All concerned visited the peatland and witnessed the process of preparation and implementation of controlled fire of dry vegetation.

Specially Protected Area “Republican Biological Reserve “Sporaūskae” is one of pilot territories of the EU/UNDP Project “Clima-East: Conservation and sustainable management of peatlands in Belarus to minimize carbon emissions and help ecosystems to adapt to climate change, while contributing to the overall mitigation and adaptation effort”.