Balota Zvaniec This is an IBA in danger! 

Year of compilation: 2002

Site description
Zvanets fen mire is located in the interfluve of the Dnieper-Bug Canal and its tributaries: Belooziorsk and Orekhov Canals. This is Europe's largest mesotrophic fen mire with numerous mineral islands.

Key biodiversity
A total of 110 bird species breed on the mire, of which 21 are listed in the National Red Data Book. The site is internationally significant because it supports one of the largest populations of the globally threatened Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola, Corncrake Crex crex, and Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga. The site hosts more than 1% of the European populations of Bittern Botaurus stellaris, and Water Rail Rallus aquaticus. The site is of national importance for the conservation of Common Crane Grus grus, Snipe Gallinago gallinago, and Curlew Numenius arquata.

Non-bird biodiversity: 67 upper vascular plant species requiring various protection are found at the IBA, including 23 listed in the National Red Data Book. Most of these plants occur on the mineral islands, which are unique islands of outstanding flora diversity amid the vast uniform wetland. The mire hosts 10 vegetation communities rare for Europe and Belarus which were once widely spread across Polesie. Two mammal, 15 terrestrial and three water invertebrate species from the National Red Data Book occur on the IBA.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Disruptions in the hydrological regime due to the influence of the surrounding drained areas results in floods or droughts and fires. Land-cultivation on mineral islands with rare flora. Unsustainable forestry carried out on the IBA does not take into account the need to conserve biodiversity. Burning of vegetation in spring is performed annually by local people, which damages the site, particularly in dry springs when the flood level is low. In that case, burning destroys the whole upper soil layer including plant roots and insects. Most bird species do not breed on such mires.

Protected areas
National Conservation Status: A national biological zakaznik Zvanets with a total area of 10,460 ha was established in 1996. In 2002 the borders of the zakaznik will be extended to encompass the whole area of the IBA. International Conservation Status: An IBA was established in 1998 (code BY016, criteria A1, B2, B3). The site is a Ramsar site (criteria 1, 2, 3).

Habitat and land use
Open fen mires dominate by area (70.2%). Mineral islands of various size (0.2 -10 ha) are scattered across the mire. Forests and shrubs cover 16.2% of the area of the IBA. Open waters are represented by a lake and a network of canals and ditches. Lake suffered significantly from drainage and has become a shallow dystrophic water body.Hay-making is the main land-use in the IBA, occurring on about 10% of the site. The mineral islands are partially used by the local people to grow arable crops, mainly potatoes.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Balota Zvaniec. Downloaded from on 23/03/2023.