Narew

The Green Lungs of Poland

© Lutz Ribbe
© Lutz Ribbe

At the gates of Belarus in the North-East of Poland we meet a touch of South America: in a labyrinth of countless meanders, oxbows and ramified backwaters the Narew, “Amazon of Europe”, snakes its way through one of the best preserved natural river systems of Europe.

Green walls of reeds rise on both sides of the river. Here Reed Bunting, Bittern and the Aquatic Warbler - a threatened species world-wide - live in among the reed stalks and wet meadows, Western Marsh Harriers glide elegantly over the river and Terns swoop and race after insects. In spring, particularly, when migratory birds arrive at this resting place, the sheer variety of the bird world here is matchless. And then, too, Otter, Beaver and Elk still roam through the whole range of woodland, swamp and meadow in the Narew National Park.

The threat to the natural paradise of Narew

The future of the nature paradise hung by a thread: in the 70s and 80s extensive parts of the Narew River were chanellised. That was the moment when EuroNatur's work in north-east Poland began. At first the goal was to restore the section of the river affected and recreate conditions for the labyrinth of meanders and ramified backwaters to return.

But from the start EuroNatur's activities were not limited to nature conservation measures alone, because if the local population is not behind such measures there can be no successful protection of nature. The restoration project was to be a motor and an opportunity for the further development of local and regional economic activities. And in effect over time with careful explanation and counselling EuroNatur has managed to win the local farmers over to a sustainable development of the region.


Indeed today there are quite a number of successful model projects showing how economic perspectives can be created in activities which at the same time enable the preservation of a unique natural heritage in the Narew region.

Read more about the EuroNatur projects in the Narew region here


Read more about an absurd airport project near the Narew National Park


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