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The Bia這wieska or Bia這wi瞛a Forest on the Polish side (as opposed to the Belovezhskaya Forest on the Belarussian) is located between longitudes 23o31’ and 24o21’ E and between 52o29’ and 52o57’ N. It lies along some kind of boundary zone between Western and Eastern Europe and is not far from the very extensive complex of marshlands of Polesie. The Forest (termed a Primaeval Forest or Puszcza in Polish) extends 55 km from east to west and 51 km from north to south (Soko這wski 1992). The Bia這wieski (Bia這wie瘸) National Park in turn occupies the Forest’s central part, its eastern limits being delineated by the Polish-Belarussian state border. The western limits are provided by the route of the old forest railway, and hence the boundary with the forests in the Forest Districts of Bia這wie瘸 and Browsk. To the north there lies Browsk FD once again, as well as the land in Masiewo village. The southern limits of BNP are in turn set by Polana Bia這wieska, i.e. the Bia這wie瘸 Clearing (in which the village of Bia這wie瘸 is located), as well as the Browsk Road.

Where the division of Poland in physico-geographical terms (after Kondracki 1978) is concerned, the area is within:
•    The Physico-Geographical Area of Eastern Europe (2)
•    The Sub-Area of the Eastern European Lowland (28)
•    The Province of the Western Russian Lowland (284)
•    The Sub-Province of the Podlasie-Byelorussian Upland (2843)
•    The Macroregion of the North Podlasie Lowland (28433)
•    The Mesoregion of the Bielsk Plain (284337)

The geobtanical division after Szafer and Paw這wski (1959) locates the Bia這wie瘸 Forest at the south-western limits of the Northern Division, this being a reflection of the specifics of this area’s flora and fauna.

In turn, in line with the division into Natural-Forest Regions arrived at by the Forest Research Institute, the area in question is within the Second (Mazury-Podlasie) Natural-Forest Region, and more specifically its Bia這wie瘸 Forest District.

As noted above, the Forest straddles a state border, with the c. 870 km2 eastern part located on Belarussian territory. The Western (Polish) part is smaller, at around 632 km2. The part in Belarus (formerly the Byelorussian SSR) originally enjoyed the status of Zapovednik or Reserve, before being transformed in 1957 into a State Hunting and Reserve Holding. It in turn had the status of State National Park conferred upon it in September 1991 (Fali雟ki 1992).

Ma貪orzata Karczewska
Science Laboratory

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