17 June 2018. 

Whole Gmina Bialowieza lies in the area of Bialowieska Forest, which creates a vast forest complex situated on both, Polish and Bellorussian border sites and is a remnant of former Bialowieska, Ladzka, Swislocka and Szereszewska Forests. Whole Bialowieska Forest's surface amounts to 150 thousand hectares. It lies in Narewka's and Lesna's rivers basins. Whole forest on the Bellorussian site is a National Park named "Bialowiezskaja Puszcza", on Polish site only 10517,27 hectares since 1947 make the National Park. This area has been fulfilling international nature protection criteries since 1921 already, when forest district "Rezerwat" was created in this site. Remaining area of the forest is a part of Bialowieza, Browsk and Hajnowka Forest District's. In Bialowieska Forest there are preserved last in the Europe forest parts with a primeval character and in them, the biggest european animal - a Bison.

Majority in the forest are hard beam trees and coniferous forests, soppy grounds are occupied by alders, poplars and willows. Tree stands mainly consist from European spruce, Pinus sylvestris, Alnus gtutinosa, Quercus robur, European white and downy birches. You may find also: Small-leaved lime, Fraxinus excelsior, Acer platanoides and Carpinus betulus. Almost 40% of the forest are overgrown with tree stands in an age of more than 80 years. Developed part's average tree stand age ammounts to 73 years old, 130 years old in the Strict Preservation Area of the Bialowieski National Park. Vessel plants are the most numerous group of plants: ferns, club mosses, bottlebrushes, liverworts, mosses, trees and shruberrys. All in all there are more than thousand of species of them.

Bialowieska Forest is an environment for living of an enormous as for our climat zone number of animals. Until now, in the forest the abundance of animal species was certified to more than 12 thousand, starting with invertebrates (95 % of Bialowieska Forest's fauna): protozoons, flatworms, molluscs, earthworms, spiders, insects and many other, ending with vertebrates (5% of fauna): fish, amphibions, reptiles, birds and mammals. Modern mammal fauna is represented in the forest by 58 species, inter alia shrew and water-shrew, bats, wolf, lynx, fox, racoon dog, badger, otter, elk, deer, roe deer and wild boar. Some time ago you could watch here tarpan and urus as well. Unquestionable king of the forest is Bison, which after successful resturation in 1929 came back to the forest and lives free in population about 700.

The most numerous group of vertebrates in Bialowieska Forest are birds. These most valuable are owls (Eurasian pygmy owl, Tengmalm's owl, Eurasian eagle owl) and 9 species of woodpeckers, inter alia the rarest three-toed and white-backed woodpeckers.

The number of funguses beeing found in the Bialowieska Forest is defined to 3-4 thousands. They are very diversified group containing unicelluler organisms (eg. yeast), moulds, mushroom (king bolete, brown-yellow boletus, birch bolete, parasol fungus, honey mushroom), other with soft fruit bodies (eg. coral fungus) and longstanding, hard tree fruitbodies - so cold bracket funguses (eg. sulphur shelf).

Unique natural values of Bialowieska Forest arouse an interest of many tourist groups. However it's also worth paying attention to cultural elements (enchanting local wooden architecture, both Catholic and Orthodox krosses standing next to each other) and material culture objects of this region.