Bug River Landscape Park
Bug Landscape Park was created in 1993. It is one of the largest landscape parks in Poland – the territory of the park itself is equal to 74 136,5 hectares, whereas the entire protection zone is equal to 113 671,7 hectares. It is located partially on the left-bank of lower Bug valley and part of lower Narew valley with adjacent areas. The Bug Landscape Park is connected to Podlasie Bug Gorge Landscape Park, Bug and Nurzec Valley Landscape Protection Area and Bug Landscape Protection Area.
The most important element of the landscape are the rivers Bug and Narew with numerous meanders, islands, backwaters, shallows and slopes in the riverbeds and oxbow lakes at the bottom of valleys. Vast majority of the Bug Landscape Park is covered by forests (approximately 40% of the territory). Forests are usually composed of pines, which are suitable for poorer and sandy soils. Limited areas with more fertile soils are covered by forests consisting of hornbeams and oaks. In the riverside areas, one can find a combination of sandy dunes and peat bogs, as well as wet riparian forest and pine forests. Large parts of Bug Landscape Park are covered by floodplains and agricultural fields.
Flora and Fauna of Bug Landscape Park are typical for lowlands. The park is characterized by an outstanding diversity of environment, making it possible for different kinds of fauna to coexist. Both natural and artificial inland waters are habitats for development of water fauna. Swamp areas and temporarily flooded meadows are suitable environments for different bird species and invertebrates.
In the Bug Landscape Park, there might be found rare flora species, including marsh angelica (angelica palustris), thesium (thesium ebracteatum), moor-king lousewort (pedicularis sceptrum-carolinum), marsh lousewort (pedicularis palustris), fringed pink (dianthus superbus), military orchid (orchis militaris), Siberian iris (iris sibirica), broomrape (orobanche coerulescens), crested cow-wheat (melampyrum cristatum), gobelflower (trollius europaeus), goat’s beard (aruncus dioicus), as well as fungi (e.g. tuber rapaeodorum) and animals, such as: broad-fingered crayfish (astacus astacus), northern crested newt (triturus cristatus), common toad (bufo bufo), European pond turtle (emys orbicularis), amur bitterling (rhodeus sericeus), minnow (rhynchocypris percnurus), Eurasian curlew (numenius arquata), European stone-curlew (burhinus oedicnemus), black tern (chlidonias niger), Nathusius’s pipistrelle (pipistrellus nathusii), serotine bat (eptesicus serotinus).
There are 15 natural reserves in the Park and its surroundings: forest-based (Dębniak, Przekop, Czaplowizna, Jegiel, Sterdyń, Turzyniec), flora-based (Biele, Kaliniak, Bojarski Grąd, Podjabłońskie), fauna-based (Moczydło, Mokry Jegiel), ornithological (Dzierżenińska Kępa), peat bog – based (Śliże) and landscape-based (Wilcze Błota). In addition, there were over 200 natural monuments established. This type of environmental protection was mostly used for pedunculate oaks (quercus robur), small-leaved lindens (tilia cordata), European ashes (Fraxinus excelsior), but also geological inliers and outliers, ant colonies, glacial erratics and hypogeous fungi. On top of that, the nature is protected in 62 ecological spots.
The visitors can admire the beauty of the landscape along established environmental trails: Huta Gruszyno – Treblinka, Korczew – Mogielnica, Uroczysko Ceranów, Torfowisko Kules, Uroczysko Sterdyń, Jerzyska, Jeziorka Kałęczyńskie.
The Bug Landscape Park plays an important role in protecting environmental values on international scale. Significant parts of the Park were incorporated into Natura 2000 system. Within the Park there are seven Natura 2000 areas: four Special Protection Areas, SPAs (Lower Bug Valley, Lower Narew Valley, Liwiec Valley, Puszcza Biala) and three Special Areas of Conservation, SACs (Dąbrowy Ceranowskie, Ostoja Nadbużańska, Ostoja Nadliwiecka). Bug is mentioned in Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy (1995), as one of the rivers of crucial importance for maintenance of biodiversity.
Due to meridian-oriented connections, wildlife corridor of Bug Valley is a convenient resting place for waterfowls and marsh birds, making their seasonal migrations easier. It is also used by land and water organisms, moving from Caspian area to the west. The unique ecological role of Bug Landscape Park valleys requires integrated activities, including – above all – recognition and prevention of current and potential threats.