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National Park Braslavskie Ozera

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History of scientific research

History of scientific research

The Braslav Lakes National Park has served as a testing ground for various scientific research since its announcement until now. On its territory, both comprehensive scientific research of an ecological orientation and scientific research focused on the study of individual components of landscape and biological diversity in order to ensure their protection and assess the possibilities of sustainable use were carried out.

The picturesque lake landscape and lakes of the Braslav group with the adjacent territory serve as the core of protection and the object of nature management.




Studies devoted to the study of lake ecosystems.

The period of accumulation of knowledge about lakes includes mainly hydrographic studies and is descriptive in nature. The earliest hydrographic studies of lakes on the territory of the Braslav Lakes National Park were carried out by officers of the General Staff in the middle of the XIX century.

In 1914-1916 the Vitebsk Fishery Expedition, organized on the initiative of the Vitebsk Provincial Zemstvo, I.N. Arnold, P.F. Domrachev, L.V. Klimansky and others conducted a comprehensive limnological survey of the Braslav lakes. 68 lakes were surveyed by questionnaire and 50 lakes by field research methods.

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In the 20 – 30s of the last century, ichthyological studies of lakes were continued. In 1926, Savitsky attempted to make the first bathymetric survey of the lake. A water measuring post was opened, which operated for a long period and observations were interrupted only during the Second World War. The most significant contribution to the study of the lakes of the Braslav Lake district was made by E. Kondratsky. He examined and described more than 50 lakes of the region. For the first time, detailed morphometric and hydrological characteristics of lakes were given, catchment areas were analyzed. Bathymetric cartographs for 10 lakes of the Braslav group have been compiled.

After the Second World War, the study of lakes is more systematic and in-depth. There is an intensive accumulation of complex information about modern lakes and the formation of the factual base of domestic limnology. Due to the beginning of intensive development of the natural resources of the lakes, the nature of the problems being solved has also changed. They mostly become complex. Hydrochemical, hydrobiological, geochemical, paleontological, landscape, ecological studies, as well as studies of other scientific areas of a natural science nature have been added to the traditional limnological studies. This stage is associated with the beginning of routine observations on the lakes since 1947 by the hydrometeorological service (Goskomgidromet). The first works on the cadastral assessment of the lake fund appear, according to the accounting data, the reference books "A brief reference book of rivers and reservoirs of the BSSR" are published under the editorship of A. I. Tulipova (hydrographic data on 54 lakes of the region) and "Surface water resources of the USSR. Belarus and the Upper Dnieper", which provides information on 30 lakes of the Braslav region.

The comprehensive immunological study of the Braslav Lakes began in the mid-60s of the XX century by the staff of the Laboratory of Lake Science of the Belarusian State University under the guidance of Professor O.F. Yakushko. The development of geographical methods made it possible to conduct research in a variety of areas: paleolimnology and evolution (VOLOS, Potekh, Ilmenok, Medvedno), geomorphology, hydrography, morphometry of basins, hydrochemistry, geochemistry of sediments. Long-term studies of the lakes of the Braslav region, including the largest lakes of the National Park, formed the basis of the O.F. textbook. Yakushko "Geography of lakes of Belarus" and monographs "Belarusian Lake district". Quantitative and qualitative indicators of reservoirs of this group were studied, which formed the basis of the complex limnological classification of lakes in Belarus and the development of lake passports. Passport data was included in the reference book "Lakes of Belarus", in a number of publications of the Belarusian Soviet Encyclopedia.

In recent decades, studies of the processes of anthropogenic eutrophication and pollution of lakes have been conducted in the reservoirs of the Braslav region. Much attention is paid to the study of species biological diversity of reservoirs, rare and relict species of flora and fauna, water quality and protection of the most unique ecosystems. Comprehensive fisheries surveys are widely carried out, the hydrochemical regime, the feeding base of lakes, and the ichthyological composition are studied on almost all lakes of the Braslav region (more than 40).

A comprehensive survey and analysis of the current state of the lakes, the development of necessary protection measures and the determination of ways of use was carried out during the development of a scientific and feasibility study of the organization of the Braslav Lakes National Park.

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At the present stage, studies of lakes are being conducted in order to determine ways of recreational use, assess recreational potential, and monitor the state of populations of protected fauna species. So, in 2013, the scientific department of the National Park identified lakes predisposed to overseas phenomena. Constant monitoring of the oxygen content in the water in the overseas reservoirs has been organized. A set of measures aimed at preventing overseas phenomena has been developed for the purpose of rational use of fish stocks. The training of employees of the National Park protection service was conducted and the basic techniques were worked out in practice to prevent or minimize damage from overseas phenomena.

Based on previous limnological studies, in 2013, under the editorship of B.P. Vlasov (BSU), the handbook "Water Resources of the Braslav Lakes National Park" was published.

In 2016-2017, with the assistance of the BSU, an assessment of the impact of water vehicles used during the tourist season in the reservoirs of the Braslav Lakes National Park was carried out, monitoring points for the state of water quality in the lakes were formed, and measures were developed to reduce the load on the ecosystems of the studied reservoirs and create favorable conditions for fish spawning.

Starting from 2019 to 2021, BSU is working to study the current state and develop measures to reduce the level of degradation of reservoirs of the Braslav Lakes National Park.  The recommendations of scientists are to conduct biomanipulations by mowing the highest aquatic vegetation in model reservoirs of the national Park in order to improve water quality, beautification of beaches, bathing areas, spawning grounds and fish feeding areas.

Studies devoted to the study of vegetation.

Monitoring studies of forests have been conducted on the territory of the Braslav Lakes National Park since 1999. Every year, research works are carried out at 2 permanent accounting points of the 1st level of the National Forest Monitoring Network by the Forest management Republican unitary Enterprise "Belgosles". The research is carried out according to the ICP-forest methodology and is aimed at assessing the condition of only the tree tier.

A significant amount of work aimed at studying the flora of the National Park has been carried out by the Institute of Experimental Botany of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus as part of the preparation of the inventory of rare species of fauna and flora since 2001. In order to substantiate the inclusion of the Braslav Lakes National Park in the pan-European network of key botanical territories, the leadership of O.M. Maslovsky identified rare and reference plantings of the National Park and compiled their geobotanical characteristics, assessed the state of plant biodiversity and ecosystems of international importance. In 2009, the Braslav Lakes National Park was given the international conservation status of a key botanical territory.

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Within the framework of the research project "To study the taxonomic composition of higher plants of the Braslav Lakes National Park and make a summary of the flora of vascular Plants" (Institute of Experimental Botany of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, 2010), the dynamics of the species composition of the flora of vascular plants was assessed, the places of growth were identified, annotated lists of rare and endangered species were compiled, measures for their protection were developed.

In 2011, work was carried out on the territory of the national park to study the biodiversity of mosses and lichens, protected species were identified. Based on the results of long-term studies of flora, a series of publications of the monograph "Biological diversity of the Braslav Lakes National Park" - "Vascular plants" and "Mossy" has been launched.

In 2012, work was carried out to study the species composition of fungi (macromycetes and micromycetes) growing on the territory of the National Park (Institute of Experimental Botany of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus), a monograph "Biological diversity of the Braslav Lakes National Park" was published. Fungi and lichens"

In 2015, the lichen- and mycobiota of old-age forests of the national park were studied.

Since 2016, and up to the present, the research department has been studying the distribution area of the Sosnovsky hogweed on the territory of the national Park (previously, the research was episodic). A network of invasive species monitoring points has been formed, and the most effective measures to combat it have been identified. 

From 2020 to 2021, the Scientific department is conducting an inventory of the places of growth of wild plant species listed in the Red Book of the Republic of Belarus on the territory of the Braslav Lakes National Park and its protected zone. Rare and typical biotopes are being studied.

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In 2021, samples of rare plant species growing on the territory of the national Park were collected for subsequent genetic analysis, which will replenish the collection of rare and endangered plant species stored in the Republican DNA Bank of Humans, Animals, Plants and Microorganisms.

Studies devoted to the study of the animal world.

The first actual data on the species composition of zooplankton of the Braslav group lakes were obtained by the Polish researcher Bovkevich in 1937, where for the first time a new and rare species – limnocalyanus was indicated. In the post-war years and up to the end of the century, research was mainly carried out in the context of productive hydrobiology, lists of species were not given. However, even at this time, the works of M.M. Draco and P.G. Petrovich appeared, devoted to the species composition of zoobenthos and zooplankton and the registration of relict crustaceans. In the 60s of the last century, the lake Drivyaty was examined in detail and comprehensively with the most complete list of hydrobionts. Hydrobiological materials on the survey of lakes in Belarus, including the Braslavsky district, by the Laboratory of Lake Science (mainly 70-80) under the leadership of O.F. Yakushko were reduced to stating only the total density and biomass of aquatic invertebrates.

Basic materials in species composition of zooplankton in lakes of the Braslav group received by the laboratory of Hydrobiology "SPC NAS of Belarus for bioresources" at the end of last and beginning of the new century, which entered General works of G. A. Galkowski co-authors (in 2001) by rotifers and V. V. Vezhnovets on crustaceans (2005).

First data on the fish fauna of the lakes of the National Park "Braslav lakes" you can find in the publications of D. I. Biska, published in 1934, the Author cites the fact that in the 20-30-ies of XX century whitefish (lake Peipsi and lake Ladoga) and vendace were stocked more than 100 lakes.

The ichthyofauna of the reservoirs of the National Park was studied most intensively in the second half of the last century (Borovik, 1954). A separate direction during this period was the study of the composition of the food components of the introduced fish species (Draco, Stasenko, 1956). In more detail, the ichthyofauna of individual large lakes, such as Drivyaty and Novyato, were studied in the late 50s of the last century in order to justify the acclimatization of whitefish and silver carp in them (zAkharenkov, 1958).

In 2006 – 2007, work was carried out to study ecoparasitic diseases of pond fish, measures for their prevention and treatment were developed.

In 2008, an assessment of the state of natural spawning grounds of fishing grounds suitable for fishing was carried out.

In 2018, the State Scientific Research Center of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus for Bioresources continued to study the biological diversity of the reservoirs of the National Park: the current state of the population of relict crustaceans as an indicator of the ecological status of the lakes of the national park.

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In 2019, a study of the species richness of aquatic invertebrates was conducted and a catalog of the aquatic fauna of the Braslav Lakes National Park was created.

 The work on studying the avifauna of the Braslav region was carried out long before the formation of the Braslav Lakes National Park. One of the very first ornithofaunistic studies of the Braslav region includes an expedition led by M.S. Dolbik to the lake. Boginskoe in 1954, according to the results of which data on previous ornithological collections and materials of the north-western part of the republic were summarized.

Since the beginning of the 1980s, the staff of the Department of Zoology and the Problem laboratory of the development, Reconstruction and protection of wildlife of the Belarusian Lake District of the Vitebsk State Pedagogical Institute named after S.M. Kirov, under the leadership of A.M. Dorofeev, annually conducted expedition work to study the fauna of birds of the Braslav region. The Braslav Lakes complex was chosen as one of the main hospitals for monitoring studies of the Belarusian Lake district.

Already in the first years of systematic study of the ornithofauna of the Braslav region, new data were obtained, indicating its identity and richness in rare species. It was found out that Lake Snudy is one of the most unique places in terms of birds represented in the region. Based on the results of research in 1985, a decision was made to create an ornithological reserve of local significance. The area of the reserve "Snudy" was 2,200 hectares, the territory included the entire water area of the lake with 11 islands located here with a total area of 160 hectares. Two of the islands – Lakino and Turmos – are among the largest in Belarus. During the creation of the reserve, about 7 thousand birds of 55 species were recorded in it.

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In the 1980s and 1990s, Vitebsk ornithologists A.M. Dorofeev, V.P. Biryukov, A.V. Naumchik, V.P. Kozlov, V.Ya. Kuzmenko and others took an active part in the study of the ornithofauna of the Braslav region. In addition to faunal studies, work was carried out on an in-depth study of the biology of some groups of birds, primarily the wetland complex.

With the formation of the Braslav Lakes National Park in 1995, ornithological scientific research took on a more orderly and purposeful character.

In particular, research was carried out on the tasks "Inventory of habitats (growth) of rare species of animals and plants listed in the Red Book of Belarus on the territory of the Braslav Lakes National Park" (1999); "Inventory of fauna and flora of the Braslav Lakes National Park" (2000); "Preparation of a cadastre of habitats of rare species of fauna and flora of the Braslav Lakes National Park". (2001).

Since 2004, the Braslav Lakes National Park has been monitoring wild animals belonging to hunting and fishing facilities, wild animals included in the Red Book of the Republic of Belarus and protected in accordance with the international obligations of the Republic of Belarus, within the framework of the NSMOS state program.

Within the framework of the research project "To conduct an inventory of wetland complexes in the Belarus-Latvia border zone to improve the transboundary nature protection network and develop recommendations for their protection" in 2006-2008, an inventory of wetland complexes was carried out and the fauna of the Braslav Lakes National Park and adjacent territories bordering Latvia were studied.

In 2011, work was carried out to study the territorial location and the state of populations of rare and endangered bird species of the national park.

In 2020 - 2021, work is underway to identify habitats of wild species of animals and birds listed in the Red Book of the Republic of Belarus on the territory of the Braslav Lakes National Park and its protected zone.

Herpetological studies of amphibians and reptiles of Belarus were started at the end of the 19th century, but until the 80s of the 20th century, they did not actually affect the Braslav district. In this connection, information about the batracho- and herpetofauna of the territory concerns the last 30-35 years.

The beginning of research in the region of the modern territory of the Braslav Lakes National Park was laid during the expeditions of M.M. Pikulik in the early 80s. As a result, in hospitals in the Oz areas. Southern Volos, Dvisvyaty, Drisvyaty and Myalka villages, Pashevichi, Druya, studies of amphibians and reptiles were conducted, which allowed to establish the habitat of 8 amphibian species.

In subsequent studies conducted in 2006-2008 along the Belarusian-Latvian border (10 km wide), the red-bellied zherlyanka and the common one were identified. In 2010, a survey of the territory of the national park was carried out, dedicated to identifying sections of roads characterized by high mortality of amphibians, for which recommendations for the conservation of local amphibian populations were developed.

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In 2011 – 2012, in accordance with the regulations of the National Environmental Monitoring System in the Republic of Belarus, the V.F. Kuprevich Institute of Experimental Botany of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus conducted comprehensive monitoring of ecosystems (forest, water, swamp, meadow, etc.) Braslav Lakes National Park.

In 2020, work was underway to determine the base density of birds on average in the national park. The zoomass of invertebrate animal species in each functional zone of the national park was calculated by the method of soil excavation with manual disassembly of samples.

The annual final scientific document of the National Park (conducted from 2004 to 2021), which concentrates the results of observations of natural processes and phenomena on its territory, is "Monitoring of phenomena and processes in natural complexes of the Braslav Lakes National Park". "Chronicle of Nature". Since 2013, we have been participating in the project of the University of Helsinki "Chronicles of the Nature of Eurasia", the main purpose of which is cooperation with protected areas and other research organizations in the territory of the former USSR, where data are collected in the format of the Chronicle of Nature. As part of the project, in 2019 the Braslav Lakes National Park was registered in the Global Database on Biodiversity Objects GBIF (this is an independent intergovernmental organization and a growing international community that provides free access to data from biological collections and other sources of information on the distribution of species).