A Wilderness without borders

Polesia is Europe’s greatest intact floodplain region of large forests and wetlands. Polesia stretches across the national boundaries of Belarus, Poland, Russia and Ukraine. This transboundary landscape is not only wild, but also vast. The area covers over 186,000 km2, which is about half the size of Germany. The artery of Polesia is the Pripyat river, which extends some 700 km.

Diverse range of habitats

The significance of central Polesia for nature conservation in Europe is tremendous. The river’s countless meanders, tributaries and oxbows form a labyrinth landscape of waters, islands, swamps, wetlands, and alluvial forests.

Great European sky migration

Despite major impacts on nature during the Soviet period, the diverse habitat range of wetlands, transition mire and river flood plains provide a critical resting place for endangered mammals such as brown bear, wolf, lynx, the European bison, and for thousands of waders and waterbirds on their seasonal migrations.

Internationally important protected areas

Many parts of Polesia are of international importance for nature conservation and have been recognized as Natura 2000 or Emerald Network sites, UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, and Important Bird Areas. There are also 25 Ramsar sites in Polesia.

This natural paradise is in danger. Not only due to the current land use, but particularly due to the planned construction of the 2,000 km long inland navigation waterway E40 connecting the Black Sea with the Baltic. The construction of E40 would have disastrous consequences for Polesia as a whole.

Have a look at the list of protected areas impacted by the E40 inland waterway.