Українською | In English
Viche 2009 №23

№23, 2009

Shatski Lakes - Unique Oasis on the Earth

Holiday-makers and businessmen start paying more and more attention to Shatski Lakes and they are ready to build their business on that. That is why yet in 1983 the Shatskyi National Natural Park was created in order to preserve, reproduce and rationally use the unique natural complexes of the lands near the lakes. Presently the Park occupies the area of 48 9777 thousand ha.  

Researchers of this region assert that first settlers near Shatski Lakes appeared in the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods 12-10 thousands years ago. The woods in Volyn abundant with wild fowl attracted a lot of hordes of Tatar conquerors especially at Kyiv-Rus times. Exactly in this wood Polish King and Lithuanian Prince prepared meat for their troops before Grundvalska battle. Lithuanian nobles who owned natural resources of Shatskyi land in the Middle Ages didn’t want to share them with local people. At that time the document was issued: the man captured at hunting could be sentenced to death penalty at the place of crime. Exactly this regulation of the Lithuanian Statute was put to use for a long time in the courts of Russian Empire which then owned Shatski Lakes. All of them were in private property. Lake Svityaz, for example, which belonged to some Polish Baron was confiscated by the Tsar government and presented to another grand person - the Governor-General of Volyn - “for the service to the benefit of Motherland”. Afterwards his successors tried to sell Lake Svityaz for 65 thousand Russian rubles. In 1920-1930 the last owner of Lake Svityaz - Polish gentleman - prohibited the habitants of local villages not only to fish at the lake but also to pasture near it. His people transported the caught fish for sale to Krakow, Warsaw and Brest.

The main European watershed divide of the Prypyat and the West Bug Rivers basins is on the territory of the Shatskyi Park. The distinctive feature of the region is the concentration of a big number of lakes different according to their characteristics and origin which make one of the biggest lake systems in Europe. Eutrophic and mesotrophic sedgy bogs are located in the lower reaches between the lakes. Rare for Polissya oligotrophic swamps attract scientists’ attention.

In accordance with the decision of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat, the district of Shatski Lakes located in the interstream area of the Rivers Prypyat and West Bug entered in the list of the lands of vital importance for the Earth. The birds of passage find the places for breeding exactly in the water-swamp ecosystem of the national park, and when flying away from the North to the Southern Skies there they find the possibility for rest and feed.

Due to the riches of flora and fauna the Shatskyi National Park belongs to the International Chain of Biosphere Reserves – unique natural oasis on our planet.