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The Pripyat Marsh of Belarus Emily Alford Belarus Facts Borders Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Poland, and the Ukraine Belarus Facts A little smaller than Kansas Landlocked No natural borders

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The Pripyat Marsh of Belarus

Emily Alford

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Belarus Facts

  • Borders Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Poland, and the Ukraine

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Belarus Facts

  • A little smaller than Kansas

  • Landlocked

  • No natural borders

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Belarus Ethnicity

  • Ethnicity

    • Belarusian 77.9%

    • Russian 13.2%

    • Ukrainian 2.9%

    • Polish 4.1%

    • Other 1.9%

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Belarus Religions

  • Religion

    • Orthodox 60%

    • Catholic 20%

    • Jewish 14%

    • Other 6%

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Belarus Languages

  • Languages

    • Belarusian

    • Russian

Cyrillic Alphabet

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Environment and Climate

  • Belarus is mostly flat

  • Once completely covered with forest

  • Has over 10,000 lakes

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Environment and Climate

  • Average January temperature -4 degrees Celsius (24.8°F)

  • Average July temperature 17 degrees Celsius (62.6°F)

  • Rainy season from June to August

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Quick Facts about the Marshes

  • Formed by Pripyat River floodplain

  • Pripyat is the largest marsh area in Europe

  • Also called

    Pripyatsky, Pripet,

    Pinsk, Poles'ye,


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More Quick Facts

  • Size: 38,000 sq mi (98,400 sq km)

  • Over 900 sq km are part of Pripyatsky National Park

  • 250 bird species live there, 200 of which breed there

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Culture of the Swamp

  • Many archaeological sites

  • Traditional folklore and craft

    • More distinct than other regions of Belarus

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  • The Pripyat Marsh is located in the southern section of Belarus and northern section of Ukraine

Pripyat Marsh

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Environment and Climate

  • Many unique species live in the swamp

    • Reed Warbler

      • Disappeared from most European countries, but still survives in these wetlands

      • Population in Belarus has decreased 90% in last 30 years

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Environment and Climate

  • Land Use

    • The marshes are used for farming:

      • Rye

      • Potatoes

      • Flax

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Formation of Swamps

  • Combination of impervious clay and slow river-water run-off form the large swamps

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  • Marshes were the location of the Battle of Pinsk

    • Battle took place on July 3, 1812

    • French army tried to overtake Belarus

  • Used as hunting ground for European Kings

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  • Occupied by Soviet 5th Army in 1918

  • Was considered a natural barrier for the Soviet Union

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  • Contaminated 23% of Belarus’ land

  • Over 2 million people lived in this area

  • Contamination spread unevenly throughout Belarus

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  • Draining of swamps started around 1870

  • Drastically increased draining in last 20 years

  • 1966-1990 More than one million hectares of the Pripyat marsh in the Polesie area, which is located in the southeastern corner of Belarus, was drained

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Debate over Draining

  • Government plans to drain 175,000 hectares of swamp

    • This would replaces farmland damaged from Chernobyl

    • Belarus government has already asked World Bank for the loan to pay for drainage

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Drainage Effects on Animals

  • Waterfowl unable to migrate and breed in marshes

  • Animals that grazed there are without pastures

  • Fish supplies decreasing

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Drainage Effects on Land

  • Drained marsh land is not economically beneficial

    • Land in areas on marsh already drained are rapidly decreasing in fertility

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Drainage Effects on Land

  • Crop profit is significantly lower than the price of sowing and harvesting land

  • Lands are registered as agricultural land and must be farmed otherwise a fine is issued

  • Farmers lose either way

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Drainage Prevention

  • The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) supporting projects to protect the area

  • International conference held to conserve Pripyat floodplains, marshes and lowland mires in the Polesie region

  • Local cultures tended to see wetlands as unproductive “swamp.”

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Historic Buildings of Belarus

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Historic Buildings of Belarus