Belarus Geography

Animals and Plants

What is growing in Belarus?

Belarus’ landscape consists mainly of moors, meadows and forests. The forests are mostly mixed – so there are both deciduous and coniferous trees. You can find many pines, birches, spruces and alders, in the south also more maple, oak, beech and ash.

For example, Schmielen, which belong to the sweet grass family, and sedges, which are sour grass family, grow on the meadows.

The last primeval forest in Europe can be found in the lowlands of the Bialowiezer Heide on the border with Poland. As the Bialowieza National Park, this area is protected from human interference. Two thirds of the national park are on Belarusian territory, one third on Polish territory. Many plants and fungi ensure a great diversity of species. Among the oaks there are numerous that are considered natural monuments and have such wonderful names as “King of Nieznanowo”, “Tsar oak” or “Barrel oak”.

Which animals live in Belarus?

Moose, wild boars and beavers are among the animal inhabitants of Belarus. There are also birds, of course. Geese, partridges and ducks are the most common, but woodpeckers, eagles and thrushes also fly through the country. Rare species are the black stork or the European roller. Numerous species of fish cavort in the rivers.

European bison in the Bialowieza National Park!

In the Bialowieza National Park has bison successfully reintroduced. They are also called European bison. Only in the Bialowieza National Park (and since 2013 in the Rothaar Mountains) do they still live freely in Europe. About 450 animals belong to the herd.

The national park is also a retreat for many bird species. The mentioned rare species of black stork and European roller live here. Nine species of woodpecker breed here, including the three-toed woodpecker. Lesser spotted eagles and short-toed eagles feel at home here too.


Belarus’ economy

As a country located in Europe detailed by businesscarriers, Belarus has moved closer to Russia again after the first few years of independence. Market economy principles were only implemented in isolated cases. Most of the companies are still in state hands. Prices are controlled by the state. Russia is the most important trading partner.

Russia sells crude oil and natural gas at reduced prices to Belarus, which can then sell the raw materials to Western Europe at a higher price. However, once Russia increases its prices, the Belarusian economy will suffer. The Druzhba oil pipeline (which is Russian and means friendship) runs through Belarus.

Potatoes from Belarus

Agriculture only plays a minor role. It generates 8.1 percent and 9.7 percent of the employees work in this area. The main crops are potatoes, as well as cereals, sugar beets, vegetables and flax. Livestock is also farmed, mainly cattle, but also pigs and chickens.

Potatoes from Belarus

Construction machinery, cars and tires

The industry generates almost 40 percent of a larger share of the economy. For example, construction machines, cars, watches, televisions, textiles and radios are manufactured. There is mining for potash salts.

At around a third, crude oil has the largest share of the income from exports. But fertilizers, tractors, refrigerators, tires, sugar, cheese, butter and beef are also sold in other countries.


What happened in Chernobyl – and what were the consequences? Explained for children

In 1986 a nuclear power plant exploded in Chernobyl, Ukraine. Huge amounts of radioactivity were released and spread across Europe with the wind. Belarus was particularly hard hit because Chernobyl is only a few kilometers from the border with Ukraine.

But radioactive radiation makes you sick. Radioactivity is not only absorbed through the air, but also through food, because what grows on contaminated soil itself contains radiation. Those exposed to it are more likely to develop cancer. In addition, many other diseases are also common. Children were either affected themselves or suffered because their parents became ill. Sick children were also born.

In Germany, clubs were quickly established that invited children from Belarus to Germany. This allowed them to recover from the radiation exposure for several weeks. Some of these aid organizations are still working today and regularly bring children to Germany. Because the consequences can still be felt more than 30 years after the disaster.


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