Landscape features

Landscape features

The landscape basis of the park is formed by forests, which together with swamps and floodplain river complexes occupy about 95% of the area.

In the northern part of the park is the Pripyat River, that has a wide floodplain; this is made up of forest, meadow, shrub, bogland and aquatic ecosystems.

In the treeless part of the floodplain, there are peculiar floodplain meadows with lush herbaceous vegetation, the aroma of which is made by single trees, groups of low spreading floodplain oaks and tree-like willows. On the basin, willow shrubs, swamps and oxbow lakes are widespread.

Floodplain forests are formed under conditions of constant flooding, and are the best preserved of all floodplain forests of the Pripyat and Dnieper basin. In terms of structure and floristic composition, these floodplains are unique to this area, and cannot be found elsewhere in the entire Eastern European Plain.

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In the floodplain, there is a high diversity and abundance of ungulates, semi-aquatic and predatory animals. There are also various species of birds including gulls, terns, ducks, herons, eagle owls, osprey, snake-eagles, remiz, woodpeckers and many others. Pripyat and the old lakes are rich in fish. In the floodplain, through out the course of the year the unique and magnificent natural landscapes seem to effortlessly open up. But it is most beautiful in spring, when vast expanses of meadows, swamps, bushes and forests are covered with flood waters and the "Herodotus Sea" is formed. In shallow water meadows and forests inundated by flood waters, bream and pike, sabrefish and roach, ide and perch spawn.

Deciduous forests of the first above-floodplain terrace are characterised by high diversity, where oak forests, ash-trees, small-leaved plantations derived from them, alternating in the lows with black alder forests, willow shrubs and low-lying boglands are common.

The middle zone of the park is represented by the largest massif of transitional and raised boglands in Europe, known as ”Mezhch-Kandzel-Yelovets-Olkhovo" with an area of more than 30,000 hectares. Transitional boglands are covered with downy birch, and high boglands are covered with undersized pine; there are some open spaces too. The swamps are inhabited by elk, wild boar and various species of waders, crane, capercaillie, and along the banks of rivers and streams beaver settlements can be observed.

Spruce forests, relics of the Middle Holocene period, grow in the transitional zone from swamps to dry lands and along watercourses.

In the south of the park, pine forests grow on sandy hills and dunes of the “Polesie” type.