Map of Belarus

Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. Over 40% of its 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) is forested. Natural resources include peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomite (limestone), marl, chalk, sand, gravel, and clay. About 70% of the radiation from neighboring Ukraine's 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster entered Belarusian territory, and about a fifth of Belarusian land (principally farmland and forests in the southeastern regions) was affected by radiation fallout. The United Nations and other agencies have aimed to reduce the level of radiation in affected areas, especially through the use of rapeseed cultivation, which is meant to decrease soil levels of caesium-137. (Wikipedia)

Quick Facts

Land use

Total land area
20,291,000 hectares
Area of forest
42.5% of land area
Area of agriculture
42.5% of land area
Area of permanent cropland
0.6% of land area


9.5 million
Population growth
0.3% annually
Rural population

Economics and development

GDP from agriculture
GDP per person
5740.50 USD

Climate change and biodiversity

CO2 emissions
6.70 metric tonnes per person
Threatened animal and plant species
National Restoration Targets
6th National Communications (in Russian) (2015)

Policies and Measures – LULUCF (pg. 143):

  • State Program for Development of Forestry for 2011-2015
  • As a result of the activities of reforestation and planting forest cover will increase from 38.5 to 39 percent
Fifth National Communication of the Republic of Belarus (2009)

Forestry – Reforestation (pg. 94):

  • Forest Planting: 217,921 ha (2000-2008)
  • Facilitating natural reforestation and preservation of young growth: 33,078 ha (2000-2008)
Intended Nationally Determined Contributions of the Republic of Belarus (2015)

Measures to increase carbon removals

  • Increase the area under forest from 39.4% in 2013 to 41% in 2030
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Country Profiles – NBSAPs, National Reports (5th)
National Action Plan for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity for 2016-2020 (2015)
  • The area occupied by forests continues to grow. The portion of forests in Belarus increased from 38% of the total Republic's area to 39.3% over the period from 2006 till 2014. Considering the high resistance of forest ecosystems and increase in the total area of forests, as well as adoption of ecologically oriented forestry, it could be predicted that stability of forest ecosystems and associated biodiversity will be preserved.
  • Target 11 (corresponds with the Aichi Biodiversity Targets 14 and 15) – to ensure the restoration of 15% of degraded and inefficiently used ecological systems (pg. 10)
  • National Action Plan (Annex, pg. 7)
    • Measure 24: Phased transfer to forest fund of inefficient agricultural and degraded lands, suitable for afforestation and growing of forests and target tree plantations (2016-2020)
      • Planned Result: Inefficient agricultural and degraded lands are transferred to the forest fund, the afforestation of treeless areas included in the forest fund has been implemented, the forested area has increased to 40.1% of the Belarus’ area
    • Measure 25: Reforestation and afforestation aimed at increasing of the share of broad-leaved tree species in the total reforestation and afforestation area (2016-2020)
      • Planned Result: The overall amount of trees planted - the share of mono-dominant forest plantations decreased to 40%, and share of broad-leaved tree species increased to 10%. Timely reconstruction of low-value plantations by means of forestry methods the Action Plan for forestry adaptation to climate change till 2030 is elaborated
    • Measure 28: Inventory of forest hydro amelioration systems, located on lands of forest fund, and identification of ways of their effective use
      • Planned Result: The inventory of forest hydro amelioration systems is implemented on forest fund lands at area about 150,000 ha
    • Measure 29: Development of tree nurseries and adoption of new technologies of growing of planting stock of forest forming tree species with closed root system
      • Planned Result: The management of tree nurseries is improved, 4 centers is built and put into operation for growing of planting stock of forest forming tree species with closed root system. Growing of up to 30 million seedlings with closed root system is ensured till 2020.
Republic of Belarus Fifth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity (in Russian) (2014)
  • Forest cover increased from 38.8 to 39.1% during 2010-2012 (pg. 4) 
  • Results of the Strategic Plan for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity for the period 2011-2020 and targets for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, Aichi
    • Target 5 aligned national targets (pg. 26)
      • Reduce the proportion mono-dominant plantations during regeneration while increasing forest cover sparsely wooded areas, to increase the area of ​​old-forest, as well as to introduce the concept of conservation of forests with high biodiversity, to carry out forest management in accordance with international requirements for certification of forest management and use. 
      • Develop a proposal to increase the percentage of forest-poor areas and improving species and age structure of forests and their implementation;
      • Implement state forest inventory, to develop and implement proposals for improvement of its management, taking into account the conservation of biological diversity
      • RESULTS: Key indicators of the forest industry indicate that the objectives to reduce the proportion of mono-dominant plantations during regeneration while increasing forest cover sparsely wooded areas and the increase in the area of ​​old-forest successfully performed. Forest cover in the country has grown in comparison with 2010 from 38.5 to 39.1% of the total forest area in Belarus in 2013 amounted to 8,087,600 ha. The plans of the forestry sector in 2015 to bring the forest area in Belarus up to 39.5%, which is quite feasible, taking into account the rate of increase in forest area
      • The action plan to implement the strategy for the conservation and sustainable use of forests is planned for 2011-2015 activities such as: Development of proposals to increase the forest cover sparsely wooded areas, improvement of species and age structure of forests and their implementation actions; 
      • There conducting reforestation by creating forest plantations of high-species: oak, ash, linden, maple. According to the norms of the new draft Code in this category plan to include spruce, pine, larch. The draft Code included provisions aimed at increasing the country ripe and overripe forests with 12% of the forest area in 2012 to 18% in 2025.
    • Target 15 aligned national targets (pg. 45)
      • Implement measures to reduce emissions and increase removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the energy, industry, agriculture and forestry;
      • Ensure the protection and improvement of forest quality as a storage and sinks of greenhouse gases, the use of rational methods of forest management, including afforestation and reforestation.
United Nation Forum on Forests (UNFF) National Reports
Voluntary National Report to the 11th Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (2014)
  • Since 2007, what activities has your government undertaken to reverse the loss of forest cover and/or to enhance the area and quality of forests? (pg. 6-7)
    • Afforestation: 35,200 ha 
    • Reforestation: 44,200 ha
    • Restoration: 198,700 ha
    • Other: Transfer of unproductive agricultural lands to the forest lands for afforestation; Implementation of the State Program for the Development of Forestry in the Republic of Belarus for 2011-2015 and of the State Program for the Development of Forestry in the Republic of Belarus for 2016-2020
  • UNFF10 National Report – no submission
Other (National Strategies and Plans, Rural Development Programs, Natura 2000 areas, projects, and goals)
National Programme of Measures to Mitigate Climate Change 2013-2020 (2013)
  • Council of Ministers Resolution 510 (6/21/2013)
  • The aim of the Programme is to implement measures to mitigate the effects of climate change, while ensuring sustainable development of the economy. It aims to cut GHG emissions by 12% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, implement adaptation measures in various economic sectors, taking into account the socioeconomic development of the country; develop recommendations for energy and resource conservation, expand forest ecosystems, restore peatland swamps to act as a carbon sink; improve the legal framework in climate change
State Program for the Development of Forestry in the Republic of Belarus for 2011-2015 (in Russian) (2011)
  • Chapter 4: Forestry - Increasing the productivity of forests (pg. 6-7)
    • In order to improve the productivity of forests provides: increase in felling age in production forests for softwood up to 90 years with regard to improving the age structure of the stands and the market demand for large timber; Wider adoption of a system of selective cutting (gradual and selective); scaling up maintenance of forests in terms of reconstruction of low-value and low-density stands; Optimization of forest area and the first group of specially protected forest areas by clarifying the criteria for inclusion in this group of protection; ensuring the annual observance of thinning in young stands; implementation of intensive silviculture techniques (based on the multi-operational machines and eco-machines)
  • The Reproduction of Forests: The major reforestation objectives are the rational use of forest land, the optimization of the formation and the age structure of forests, increasing their productivity, sustainability and quality, preservation and restoration of biodiversity, improvement of the environment (pg. 7-8)
    • Carry out reforestation and afforestation in the area of ​​not less than 119.9 thousand hectares, including sowing and planting forests - 94.8 thousand hectares, including afforestation on the area of ​​not less than 4 thousand hectares; optimize the structure of forests by increasing by 2015 the proportion of conifers and hardwoods by 1.5 percent (100,000 ha)
  • Security and protection of forests, conservation of biodiversity - In order to maintain and improve the ecological stability of forests, prevent or minimize the negative impact on their natural and anthropogenic factors, fire safety Woodland planned (pg. 9-10):
    • Implement a set of measures for the conservation and restoration of oak; increase the area of ​​natural regeneration of forests by increasing the proportion of non-clear felling; create mixed forest plantations, increase the proportion of forest cultures created by breeding plants for planting; optimize the forest cover in the sparsely wooded areas through the establishment of forest plantations on marginal lands, transferred agricultural organizations;
Strategy of Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (2015)
  • Approved UNCCD Strategy - Council of Ministers Resolution No. 361 (4/29/2015).
  • Expected Outcomes and Mechanism of Implementation of this Strategy
    • Share of environment-stabilizing land types (natural meadows, forest land, woodlands and forest plantations, bogs and land of water bodies): at least 57% of the national territory by 2020; at least 60% of the national territory by 2030
Global Environment Facility (GEF) projects
6947: Belarus Forestry Development Project (CEO endorsed 12/23/2014; cost: $43,453,726; duration: 60 months)
  • Component 1: Improving silviculture and the sustainability of forest management
    • Project Outcomes: Forest structure improved in terms of species and age class diversity, stocking density, carbon capture and storage enhanced, reduced GHG emissions due to fossil fuel substitution, and forest conservation values enhanced. Intensive forest management standards will have been adopted in one of the regions, and improved standards and regulations drafted (from PID: 67% of the forested land in the forest fund is currently young or middle aged and requires thinning) (pg. 5)
    • From PID: Sub-component: development of improved forest nurseries for afforestation and deforestation (In Belarus wherever possible, restocking of selectively felled areas is done through the use of natural regeneration. However in some cases this is not the most appropriate approach as sometimes the areas need to be restocked with different species (due to climate change), there is a need to restock damaged areas (wind falls, snow, fire, drying spruce and ash stands etc.), and in some areas natural regeneration may not be successful.
7993 (PIF): Conservation-oriented Management of Forests and Wetlands to Achieve Multiple Benefits (Council approved 6/4/2015; duration: 60 months; cost: $18,483,561)
  • Component 2: Sustainable forest and wetland ecosystem management in buffer zones and economic landscapes adjacent to Protected Areas (pg. 2)
    • Outcome 2.1: Changed paradigm of forest management at areas with internationally important biodiversity introduced across 150,000 ha outside PAs: biodiversity-important forests identified and mapped, forest management plans updated with inclusion of biodiversity-conservation requirements; species-focussed forest management activities launched
    • Outcome 2.2: Degradation of peatland forests prevented as a result of: complete up-to- date stocktaking and decision-making mechanism for 250,000 ha of the drained and degrading peatland forests across the country 
  • Project’s Target Contributions to Global Environmental Benefits
    • Improve management of landscapes: The project improves forest and wetland management at key biodiversity areas with a total area of 280,500 ha.
    • Sustainable Land Management in production systems (agriculture, rangelands, forest landscapes: Through Activity 2.1 the project improves the status of 150,000 ha of forest landscape. Further, through Activity 2.2 it improves the condition of soil and ground water in peatland forests at 250,000 ha. The total area reported already accounts for about a 70,000 ha overlap.
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