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February 23, 2012 3:09 PM   Subscribe

A walk through Białowieża Forest. Białowieża Forest is a primeval (old-growth) forest on the border of Poland and Belarus, first set aside as a preserve for wisent (European bison) in 1638. posted by zabuni (27 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
Also previously.
posted by zabuni at 3:11 PM on February 23, 2012


The same guy also runs Pinboard, subject of this MeFi post, this one, this one, this one, and this one. He also runs the Bedbug Registry, featured in many AskMe answers. A very prolific fellow to say the least.
posted by zsazsa at 3:18 PM on February 23, 2012


Love the wisent. But page me anytime day or night if you see an aurochs. I know they're out there, probably partying with the ivory-billed woodpeckers and the trilobites, and they're way overdue to phone home.
posted by jfuller at 3:24 PM on February 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Stuff I'm pleasantly surprised I don't know.
Reason #1 I come to Metafilter.
Favorite added.

*reads*
Ticks wait on the tips of leaves and drop on you from above when they detect a plume of your sweet breath. Or else they climb on grass or bushes and will hitch a ride on you as you brush past them. Their instinct is to climb before attaching, so you have a few minutes to intercept them before they reach the Klondike of your scalp or armpit. If you are really tough, you’ll just ignore them and wait until they’ve inflated to their full raisin size a day or two later. “Check your groin when you take a shower!” Romek warns. “They sure do love the groin!”

....let me rephrase that.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:35 PM on February 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


I first heard about the Białowieża Forest in the book The World Without Us which uses it as an example of the closest thing to untouched wilderness in Europe.
posted by euphorb at 3:39 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's where I'd heard about it before!
posted by benito.strauss at 3:41 PM on February 23, 2012


Talk about differences in scale. The forest seems to be about 20 km long by 5 km wide, about the same size as the reservoir watershed for my home town here in Canada.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:50 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


KokuRyu, I agree! From the description I was imagining Yosemite. Still, very cool! And it looks lovely and wet and green. Was it just the season or is it rain-foresty?
posted by small_ruminant at 4:08 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


jfuller: Love the wisent. But page me anytime day or night if you see an aurochs. I know they're out there, probably partying with the ivory-billed woodpeckers and the trilobites, and they're way overdue to phone home.

You may see them again, and if not specifically true aurochs, then some primitive breeds cross-bred to resemble aurochs (which is an interesting study of its own).
posted by filthy light thief at 4:14 PM on February 23, 2012


If you'd like to see some Białowieża tree porn go here.

Actually, that site has discussions and photos of big, tall, and old trees from all over, but the link is specifically for Białowieża.
posted by Red Loop at 4:26 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Beautiful. Looks like scenery straight out of Andrei Tarkovsky's "Stalker." Dreamy.
posted by but no cigar at 4:42 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


> Ticks wait on the tips of leaves ...

This sounds a bit like Virginia where I'm from. We also have poison ivy. Ticks love sunny grass and bushes, especially when frequented by prey species like people and dogs. Poison ivy grows luxuriously along roads and areas that have been cut. Snakes like to hide and sun themselves in the brush that grows up in land that's been cleared of trees and will bite anything that walks through it and steps on or near them. (They do this because they like the warmth and cover, and they bite in self-defense.)

But deep in the woods, there is no poison ivy, there are very few ticks, the snakes are easy to spot before you step on them, and you rarely see them.

The forest has ways of defending itself, and fights the infection when it's been cut.
posted by nangar at 5:47 PM on February 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


I had a dog in Japan, and I couldn't take her hiking between May and October - too many ticks. Once we asked a friend to look after her, and he put her in an old kennel on his farm. She came home covered in tiny ticks that crawled all over our carpet. Luckily they didn't prey on humans.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:49 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


European bison are my nemesis, my competition. They feed on bison grass, the key ingredient in making the most delicious vodka on the planet, Żubrówka. The more of these creatures inhabit the earth, the more dear this vital resource becomes.
posted by LiteOpera at 6:11 PM on February 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


Actually, Lite Opera, they mention in the article that bison hate the eponymous grass (so in slavic humor, they name the grass after the creature). I will agree that bison vodka is fuckin' a-may-zing.
posted by notsnot at 6:26 PM on February 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Belovezhskaya Pushcha is also the place where the agreement about Soviet Union dissolution was signed in December 1991.
posted by egor83 at 6:48 PM on February 23, 2012


Wow, notsnot. That's...peculiar. With this new revelation, I believe we may one day learn to live alongside these noble creatures.
posted by LiteOpera at 7:00 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Damn, I want to go to there. I literally had no idea there were European bison (or moose, for that matter). How did I miss that? Whatever, at least I know now...

Regarding terrible forest bugs... I live in Louisiana, and the ultimate, the supreme, the ur-text of bug repellent is Avon Skin-So-Soft. The lotion is pretty good, but if you're out in buggy nature, you want the bath oil. It's sold in every little bait shop in Cajun country, and it's a thousand times better than DEET, it smells better and it's less toxic. Seriously, you guys.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 8:59 PM on February 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


the ultimate, the supreme, the ur-text of bug repellent is Avon Skin-So-Soft. The lotion is pretty good, but if you're out in buggy nature, you want the bath oil.

I'll stick with actual bug spray, thanks.
posted by zamboni at 9:45 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


This makes me love, even more, where I grew up; where I was the buffalo.
posted by vicx at 11:04 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for posting this; I didn't know about this forest, and am always glad to be reminded to read a new entry on Idlewords.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:06 PM on February 23, 2012


I will agree that bison vodka is fuckin' a-may-zing.

Śledzik lubi pływać! Sto lat!
posted by Meatbomb at 11:20 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I had a chuckle at the description of the mushroom craze in Polish culture. My wife is from Latvia, where it's similar. Good mushroom spots are closely guarded secrets. The forests are stripped bare of edible mushrooms every atumn. I chuckled at that until I remembered it's the same with cloudberries here in Norway. People stoop to putting out false rumours of bear sightings to keep strangers out of "their" cloudberry patch.
posted by Harald74 at 12:14 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Polans has another interesting tiny biome: The Błędów Desert. Supposed to have been used by the German Afrika Korps for excercises before shipping out to North Africa during WWII.
posted by Harald74 at 12:20 AM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I did know about European bison and Aurochs. The Spanish Fighting Bull is said to resemble Aurochs. I refer you to any and all cave paintings. There are some other animals which live in both Europ and the Americas.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 6:41 AM on February 24, 2012


Beautiful. I just wish they would have taken something other than a phone to take pictures with.
posted by HumanComplex at 4:06 PM on February 24, 2012


HumanComples: I took those pictures with a camera. You can do an image search on Bialowieza and find some spectacular photos by more competent people.
posted by pinboard at 7:00 PM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


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