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01 October 2019, 16:10

Belarus, Netherlands to expand cooperation in forestry sector

MINSK, 1 October (BelTA) – The Netherlands has shown its interest to expand cooperation with Belarus in forestry management, Deputy Director of the Dutch State Forest Service Kees Lever said during the meeting at the Belarusian Forestry Ministry, BelTA learned from the press service of the Belarusian Forestry Ministry.

According to Kees Lever, the Kingdom of the Netherlands made a landmark decision two years ago to enhance cooperation with Belarus. The results were not long in coming as one project has already been carried out this year. Wild horses of the Konik horse breed have been transferred to Belarus free of charge. “This is a unique project for us. In my opinion, it is a logical outcome of the effective cooperation between the State Forest Service of the Netherlands, the Naliboki reserve of Belarus and the Belarusian Forestry Ministry. The horses are under quarantine right now and we're looking forward to releasing them in the wild. We want to learn how the animals will adapt in your country and behave with predators. Wild horses lived on the territory of Belarus 400 years ago and they have returned to their homeland,” Kees Lever noted.

The deputy director expressed hope that the transfer of horses will contribute to the development of the Belarusian forestry industry and also urged to continue successful cooperation. He also suggested that the two countries exchange their expertise and knowledge in forest management, as well as in eco-tourism.

Belarus First Deputy Forestry Minister Valentin Shatravko, for his part, highlighted that Belarus is interested in studying Dutch experience in forest management. “We would be happy to learn more about how the forest is managed in your country and how effectively forest reproduction technologies are used. Your experience in hunting wildlife service is also of great interest for us. Furthermore, we can continue the animal exchange program. We have bison and you have noble deer,” he said. According to Valentin Shatravko, studying the best practices in grouse restoration is another area that represents a great interest for cooperation.

A reminder, the Netherlands transferred 151 wild horses of the Konik horse breed free of charge to Belarus in June 2019. This is the result of the mutually beneficial cooperation as part of a new environmental concept called rewilding. Rewilding is a progressive approach to conservation that provides for gradual restoration of the most productive ecosystems in the region by reintroducing keystone species. The horses are now undergoing an adaptation period under quarantine in the Naliboki reserve. They are expected to be released in the wild in the nearest future.

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