Today, March 14th, is the International Day of Action for Rivers, formerly known as the International Day Against Dams, in Defense of Rivers, Water and Life. 2023 marks the 26th anniversary of Rivers Day, and the importance of being the protector and “voice” of rivers is especially emphasized.
In order to preserve the rivers in their natural state, various actions, companies, and demonstrations are held in many countries of the world. Thus, the international environmental organization "International Rivers" calls to speak out in defense of rivers, to protect, restore them, and to be a "river conservationist". But the most effective and long-term way to preserve unique hydrographic systems is the creation of specially protected natural areas. And the Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve, created on the left bank of one of the largest rivers in blue-eyed Belarus, certainly completes this important task.
The Berezina, which gave the name to our reserve, is its main water artery. In the upper course, this is the only river in the republic with a protected regime, where shipping, timber rafting and other types of use are prohibited. It begins with a small stream flowing from Lake Medzozol, 45 kilometers from the northern border of the reserve, and carries its waters through its territory for almost 100 km. Over 80 rivers and streams flowing from protected forests and swamps feed the Berezina. Their total length is 315 km, the length of the majority (80%) does is less than 5 km. The largest left tributary of the Berezina is the Serguch (Buzyanka) River, which crosses the center of the reserve in a southwestern direction.
Slow, often blocked by beaver dams and trunks of fallen trees, protected rivers cannot remove excess moisture even during hot summer. Due to this, the Berezina is full of water almost all year round. The river bed has numerous turns, quiet backwaters, oxbow lakes overgrown with aquatic vegetation, some of which have turned into floodplain lakes. The floodplains by the river are wide, low and swampy. Numerous branches and oxbows merge with the Berezina during the spring flood, turning its floodplain into a large shallow basin with large and small islands of forest.
The floodplain complex of the Berezina River is of great value for the growth of rare plant species. It’s the habitat of near-water mammals and many species of birds, especially migratory ones. The rivers of the Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve attract both nature lovers, who quietly contemplate, and active ecotourists who raft here in kayaks, accompanied by the guides of the nature protection institution.
Photos by Denis Ivkovich