Belarus is a low-lying country,
landlocked between five other European countries. Belarus owes its relatively flat terrain and numerous lakes to glacial scouring that occurred during the last ice age.
Its highest point, Dzyarzhynskaya Hara, 346 m, is found in the sloping hills in the uplands of the north. From there the terrain descends to the Polesia lowland and the swampy Pripyat Marshes.
Belarus may not have beaches or shore, but it boasts numerous rivers, lakes, marshes and wetlands. In the north, the largest lake in the country at 80 sq km is Lake Narach, one of roughly 11,000,
according to some counts. Forests also cover large tracts of land; in particular, the Bialowieza Forest stretching across the far west of Belarus and extending into
Poland is one of the last examples of the primeval forest that once covered the plains of Europe.
acceded to the Bern Convention in
in particular thanks to its
long-term cooperation with the Council of Europe on
the setting-up of the Emerald
Network. Among the flora and fauna species of European importance in Belarus
counts the Bison bonasus,
the European bison, which makes its home in the ancient forests. There are many bird
species that make their home or migrate through the marshlands such as the black stork,
Ciconia nigra, also threatened. Plants are of course represented, too, with the memorable
Aldrovanda vesiculosa, known as waterwheel plant, a carnivorous aquatic plant.
These and other species are found in the 26 habitats
of European importance that are listed
as present in Belarus and in need
for site protection in the frame of
the Emerald Network.
12 sites in Belarus have been
officially nominated as candidate
Emerald sites by the Standing
Committee to the Bern Convention (in