BY018
Al'manskija baloty This is an IBA in danger! 


Year of compilation: 2002

Site description
The site is one of the Europe's largest natural bog, transition and fen mire complexes. It is located on the grounds of an active aviation military training area.



Key biodiversity
A total of 151 species have been recorded in the IBA, with 25 National Red Data Book species. Olmany wood and mire complex supports a considerable part (10-20%) of the national populations of Great Grey Owl Strix nebulosa. One of the most valuable huntable birds breeds, Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus, the Polesian population of which is much threatened.

Non-bird biodiversity: 26 mammal species occur on the site, including three National Red Data Book species. European Mink Mustela lutreola, a species threatened in Europe, was recorded here regularly until recently. The Stviga and Lva floodplains support one of the largest populations of Otter Lutra lutra. 687 plant species are found on the site, including 12 National Red Data Book species.



Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The site continues as a military training ground, but the scale and frequency of military activity has declined and this has had a negative impact on the conservation level of the IBA - there has been a sharp rise in unofficial uses of the site's resources. Drainage of the adjacent areas has caused declines in the groundwater table in the IBA, which eventually leads to degradation of natural communities on the site.Burning of vegetation in spring is the main cause of fires. In summer, fires are caused by herdsmen and poachers who break up fire-places on peatlands or in dry forest openings.Illegal forest logging on islands and ridges among the mires may result in their erosion and subsequent loss of shelter for animals. Unlimited collection of cranberries increases disturbance, limits the feeding base for many animals, and results in fires.Uncontrolled hunting results in catastrophic declines in the numbers of Capercaillie, Elk, Wild Boar, and fur animal species.Cattle pasturing in forest habitats leads to degradation of ground vegetation cover, declined feeding base for wild animals, aggravated disturbance, and herd dogs hunting young animals and destroying bird nests.



Protected areas
National Conservation Status: A national landscape zakaznik, established in 1998International Conservation Status: An IBA, established in 1998 (code BY018, criteria À1, Â2, Â3). Ramsar site designation was granted in 2001 (criteria 1, 2)



Habitat and land use
Transformed areas (roads, military check-points) make up more than 1% of the total area of the zakaznik. About 40% of the site is covered with open wetlands with numerous scattered sand dunes (islands and elongated ridges) overgrown with pine and small-leafed forests. Bogs with sparse reeds, mosses and birches, dominate the area. Woods occupy 50% of the area, mainly forest swamps. However, dry pinewoods, as well as floodplain oak and black alder forests, are also common. Despite traditional views about the interference of the military into nature, the activities of the military units has not caused any degradation of the IBA's ecosystems. On the contrary, the limits on the economic use of the area because of the area's military designation have resulted in outstanding close-to-natural conditions. The military activities have been localized to small limited areas of the IBA. The IBA is also used for regulated forestry, hunting, fishing, and the collection of berries and mushrooms by local people and outside visitors.




Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Al'manskija baloty. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/12/2020.