The site comprises the largest fish pond complex Selets (2,500 ha), the Selets water reservoir and part of the Ruzhany Pushcha forest tract adjoining the Selets complex in the east.
The abundance of fish, fish foodstuffs, and large areas of surface vegetation define the rich diversity of birds. The fishfarm is a breeding centre for large populations of Bittern Botaurus stellaris, White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla, Pochard Aythya ferina, and Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus. More than 20,000 waterbirds are found here in the post-breeding season.The combination of a fishfarm and a forest tract is excellent habitat for White-tailed Eagle and Eagle Owl Bubo bubo. The fishfarm is also an important migration stop-over. When discharged, the fishponds retain food for thousands of migrating waders, up to 20 White-tailed Eagles, and 5-15 Ospreys Pandion haliaetus.
Non-bird biodiversity: The flora of the site is characterized by a high species diversity. Six vascular plant species are listed in the National Red Data Book, 14 are on the list of plants requiring preventive protection, and 16 are rare for the region.Mammal species include Badger Meles meles and Beaver Castor fiber. The site is also inhabited by Elk Alces alces, Deer Cervus elaphus, Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus, Raccoon Dog Nyctereutes procyonoides, and Otter Lutra lutra.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Fishing. Changes in use of the fish ponds brought about by economic hardships have had a negative impact on the habitats of the waterbirds. The main causes of declines in their populations are: decreased application of artificial fish food, very late dates of pond filling, and cleaning of surface vegetation with no account taken of nature conservation requirements.Significant fluctuations in the water level at the Selets water reservoir in the breeding season result in mass destruction of birds' nests.
National Conservation Status: Part of the IBA (7,936 ha) is included in the Buslovka national biological zakaznik, established in 1990. International Conservation Status: An IBA was established in 1998 (code BY011, criteria A1, B2, B3).
Habitat and land use
The water reservoir and the fish ponds were built on a former large wetland in the Yaselda river floodplain. There is a mosaic of forests on a mix of depressions, ridges, and small river floodplains. Spruce and pine woods dominate. Considerable areas are occupied by swampy alder forests, undergrowth, and some oak stands. Fens and wet meadows are located mainly in the river floodplains. 25% of the site is used for commercial aquaculture; the rest of the area is used by forestry and local collective farms.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sialiec. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 24/01/2022.