Alina Blyum’s Diary
Belarus Wetlands

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August 5, 2009: Bogs! Bogs!

Klyasticy Pancakes for breakfast were awesome! We couldn’t get enough. Special thanks to our cook Zinaida! After breakfast Natasha gave an introductory presentation about bogs. It was very informative! We found out that bogs cover about 14% of Belarus. There are more than 10,000 bogs in the country, which absorb large volumes of atmospheric CO2. One hectare of bog is 7-15 times more effective than a comparable area of forest for removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. Bogs act as reservoirs of fresh water, which can add to the flowing rivers, and since bogs accumulate water, they modify the climate on surrounding areas. Bogs are habitats for a wide range of both floral and fauna species, and 56% of all berry resources are situated in bogs. It's unbelievable that Presentation people drain and destroy bogs! After the presentation we had a tour around Klasticy. It was a long but very informative day. We were surprised to find out that in July of 1812, during  Napoleon's invasion of Russia, there was a battle in Klasticy between Russian and French troops. The French, led by Marshal Oudinot, had a plan to take Klasticy on the way to St. Petersburg, but General Wittgenstein decided to hit from the flank and the French were brushed aside, which ruined their plans to attack toward St. Petersburg. In general the village is very picturesque, with nice small houses, the beautiful river Nishcha and cattle here and there. In the afternoon we headed to our first bog. An amazing view! Natasha explained what we had to do and the work started. That day I worked together with Fabio (Alcoa, Brazil) and Mastura from British American Tobacco. The task we were Big trees performing was called "Big trees". We had to count all the big trees in the TSP (Typological Sample plot), define their species, measure their diameter and height and mark them after counting. Later on the data will be used by scientists to measure forest productivity on the bog.
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