Bialowieza Forest and Kalkalpen National Park’s Beech Forest. Touristic Offers and Visitor Management

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2019
15 Pages, Grade: 1


Table of Content

List of Figures and Illustrations II

1 Introduction
1.1 Description of Bialowieza Forest in Poland
1.2 Touristic Offers
1.3 Tourism and Visitor Management
1.3.1 Accommodation
1.3.2 Local human population
1.3.3 Management
1.3.4 Threats
1.3.5 Staff

2 Kalkalpen Nationalpark’s Beech Forest
2.1 Practical Ideas for the Visitor Experience
2.1.1 Establishing a Motor Park
2.1.2 Digital Signage Display
2.1.3 Treasure Hunt
2.1.4 Picnic in the forest
2.1.5 Get your own Beech tree
2.1.6 3-senses blind tree-discovery
2.1.7 Photography competition and exhibition
2.1.8 Mysterious monument
2.1.9 Promotion a place scarcely visited
2.1.10 Promotional efforts

List of References

List of Figures and Illustrations

Figure 1 Location of the forest

Figure 2 Map of the forest

Figure 3 Example of a motor park station

Figure 4 Example of a digital signage

Figure 5 Map for a treasure hunt

Figure 6 Getting an own beech tree

Figure 7 Photography challenge

1 Introduction

First, extensive research about the Bialowieza Forest in Poland was done in order to gather much information about the natural world heritage site itself, its various touristic offers as well as the tourism and visitor management there.

Secondly, ideas of how to enhance the visitor experience of the Kalkalpen Nationalpark’s beech forest were established. The results are based on other national parks and protected areas ideas and innovations, the results of Fürtner’s master thesis and on what we have learned in class. The team tried to establish ideas with a focus on sustainability. Also, some ideas refer to technology or leisure time for tourists and travellers. Moreover, the team tried to suggest ideas that are as practical as possible for a real-life execution.

1.1 Description of Bialowieza Forest in Poland

The Białowieża Forest World Heritage site, on the border between Poland and Belarus, is an extensive range of primary forest including both conifers and broadleaved trees covering a total area of 141,885 hectares (UNESCO, 2014).

Situated on the watershed of the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, this transboundary property is exceptional for the opportunities it offers for biodiversity conservation. It is home to the largest population of the property’s iconic species, the European bison (UNESCO, 2014).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Bialowieza Forest is a large forest complex located on the border between Poland and Belarus. Thanks to several ages of protection the forest had survived in its natural state to this day. The Bialowieza National Park, Poland, was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979 and extended to include Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Belarus, in 1992. A significant extension of the property in 2014 results in a property of 141,885 ha with a buffer zone of 166,708 ha.

Figure 1 Location of the forest

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

This property includes a complex of lowland forests that are characteristics of the Central European mixed forests terrestrial ecoregion. The area has exceptionally conservation significance due to the scale of its old growth forests, which include extensive undisturbed areas where natural processes are on-going. A consequence is the richness in dead wood, standing and on the ground, and consequently a high diversity of fungi and saproxylic invertebrates. The property protects diverse and abundant wildlife of which 59 mammal species, over 250 bird, 13 amphibia, seven reptile and over 12,000 invertebrate species. The iconic symbol of the property is the European Bison: approximately 900 individuals in the whole property which make almost 25% of the total world’s population and over 30% of free-living animals (UNESCO, 2014).

Bialowieza Forest conserves a diverse complex of protected forest ecosystems which exemplify the Central European mixed forests terrestrial ecoregion, and a range of associated non-forest habitats, including wet meadows, river valleys and other wetlands. The area has an exceptionally high nature conservation value, including extensive, old-growth forests. The large and integral forest area supports complete food webs including viable populations of large mammals and large carnivores (wolf, lynx and otter) amongst other. The richness in dead wood, standing and on the ground, leads to a consequent high diversity of fungi and saproxylic invertebrates.

The long tradition of research on the little disturbed forest ecosystem and the numerous publications, including a description of new species, also contributes significantly to the values of the nominated property (UNESCO, 2014).

Bialowieza Forest is an irreplaceable area for biodiversity conservation, due in particular to its size, protection status, and substantially undisturbed nature. The property is home to the largest free-roaming population of European Bison, which is the iconic species of this property. However, the biodiversity conservation values are extensive, and include protection for 59 mammal species, over 250 bird species, 13 amphibians, seven reptiles, and over 12,000 invertebrates. The flora is diverse and regionally significant, and the property also is notable for the conservation of fungi. Several new species have been described here and many threatened species are still well represented (UNESCO, 2014).

1.2 Touristic Offers

In general, there are various touristic offers in the forest of Bialowieza in Poland. They offer various trips, e.g. before sunset or at night to see wild animals and to listen to different sounds of nature. Additionally, the team there provides guiding serves in English, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, French and Russian. Employees there are very open-minded and friendly. They try to provide any practical information about the forest, its animals and the surroundings for the visitors. Also, events are organised from time to time and the employees help in the organization and the event program. Close to the forest tourists will also find a small shop to buy some souvenirs or drinks. Visitors can choose between bicycle, Nordic walking or foot trails when exploring the forest (PTTK Białowieża, 2013).

In total, eight different trips with a different program and duration are offered for visitors:

1. Face to face with the bison
2. Unknown forest by bike
3. Białowieża Forest at twilight
4. Birds at dawn 1
5. Birds at dawn 2
6. Belorussian part of Bialowieża Forest
7. A walk to the heart of the forest
8. The route to Jagiełło oak

The most popular trip is the route to Jagiełło oak. This is a walking trip to the most world-known part of Białowieża Forest. During the walk people will focus on nature and mainly plants, trees and mushrooms, but a guide will tell visitors also about animals. One will be able to see the remains of Jagiełło Oak which was destroyed by a windstorm back in 1974 (PTTK Białowieża, 2013).

The trip “Unknown forest by bike” is dedicated for people who like to visit touristic trails and for people who want to see beautiful parts of the forest. Furthermore, they will hear interesting facts about flora and fauna (PTTK Białowieża, 2013).

When joining the trip “Białowieża Forest at twilight”, one will probably meet wild animals and night birds. This trip starts before sunset. Also the “Face to face with the bison” trip is dedicated for people who are interested in wild animals (PTTK Białowieża, 2013).

The “Birds at dawn 2” is a walking trip with a specialized ornithologist guide with an entrance to the Strict Nature Reserve which is not accessible without a licensed guide presence. There is a very high possibility of observing rare bird species (PTTK Białowieża, 2013).

1.3 Tourism and Visitor Management

1.3.1 Accommodation

As far as accommodation is concerned the Białowieża National Park offers visitor a couple of places to stay from small guest houses to bigger accommodation facilities. There is more than 40 of them and they are all locate directly in the Białowieża town. Most of the visitors stay in this little town also due to the fact that all the guided tours of the area start in from this place.

1.3.2 Local human population

There are no inhabitants within the boundary of the park; however as mentioned before, there are residents in the areas surrounding the property. Centuries of human activity have created clearings, hunting grounds, riverside meadows, road systems and trails, forest settlements, narrow-gauge railways, felling sites, and gravel-pits. People use the forest for bee-keeping, charcoal-burning, animal rearing, game-keeping and hay.

There were approximately 320,000 tourists to Belovezhskaya Pushcha in 2010, of these, 45% were students and school children and 10% were foreign tourists. The Nature Museum has been supplemented by an Ecological Awareness Centre housed in a very popular ‘Grandfather Frost house’ as a tourist attraction. Tourist and ecological trails have been improved and there are carriage rides, bicycle rental and guides available. Plans to encourage international tourism were implemented after the provision of adequate access and accommodation, water and sewage, and the impacts of tourist litter and environmental pollution had been fully assessed (MAB-Belarus, 1993)

1.3.3 Management

The 10,500 ha National Park surrounding the World heritage site comprises about 17% of Poland’s Bialowieza Forest. It consists of a strictly protected core zone of 6,061 ha with a zone of active nature and landscape management of 4,103 ha around the village (B. Jaroszewicz, in litt., 2002). In this zone, clear felling, hunting and the use of insecticides are banned. Access is limited to research and guided visitors; all motor vehicles are banned. This area is now managed under a new management plan which runs from 2012 – 2031. The Hwozna Protective District covers an area of 5,155 ha. It comprises a mosaic of old growth forest stands, including conifer species that are not represented in other areas of the Park. This is surrounded by a 1 km deep forest buffer zone to the north, west and south. A zone of 272 ha in the south western part of the site, the Research Restitution Centre, is used for breeding bison and tarpan horses.

1.3.4 Threats

Large-scale illegal and government-sponsored commercial logging in the surrounding old-growth forests and its conversion to conifer plantations have historically been major management constraints. A secondary threat is the potential infestation of bark beetles as a result of a prolonged drought. At present “only about 13% (of Bialowieza Forest) is free of any management, where natural processes can operate without human intervention”; and “the importance of preserving the whole Bialowieza Forest as a national park is not recognised by the authorities”.


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Bialowieza Forest and Kalkalpen National Park’s Beech Forest. Touristic Offers and Visitor Management
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
sustainability, tourism, green tourism, unesco, vistor experience
Quote paper
Maria Priller (Author), 2019, Bialowieza Forest and Kalkalpen National Park’s Beech Forest. Touristic Offers and Visitor Management, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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