19th SWS Europe Chapter Conference
Wetlands across timescales
JUNE 24th - 26th 2024, GONIĄDZ, POLAND
Registration is now open

Biebrza Wetlands

The Biebrza Basin is a vast depression with unique environmental features, consisting of an unusual valley landform with a unique fluvial system and a complex of wetland ecosystems with rich flora and fauna. Nowadays, the Basin has many functions, of which two special ones should be mentioned – 1) natural - ensuring the preservation of biodiversity, and 2) productive - supporting the agricultural economy that continues to this day. The Biebrza National Park, established exactly 30 years ago, protects more than 59,000 hectares of the Basin’s best-preserved ecosystems, with internationally recognized biodiversity.

Unfortunately, much of the peatland has been degraded as a result of hydro-engineering works carried out since the 19th century, as well as drainage and conversion to grassland. Progressive environmental changes caused by human activity and overlapping natural factors related to climate change are causing progressive degradation of the Park’s nature. Changes in the water conditions and the disappearance of low-intensity agriculture, which has shaped the Park’s landscape and nature for centuries, are leading to habitat degradation and vegetation succession. This has resulted in the encroachment of trees and shrubs into the open peatland ecosystems, which is impacting the biodiversity within the park.

The primary factor determining the preservation or restoration of the natural values of Biebrza River valley is the provision of appropriate water conditions. However, wetland restoration and ensuring the sustainability of wetland habitats is a huge logistical challenge.

External links

Biebrza National Park: https://www.biebrza.org.pl/

Biebrza EcoTravel - site by a photografer and wildlife guide Katarzyna Ramotowska: https://biebrza.com/en/site/photo_album/photo_gallery-biebrza_eco-travel.htm

Ramsar site: https://rsis.ramsar.org/ris/756