Shatsky National Natural Park

Shatsky National Natural Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Map showing the location of Shatsky National Natural Park

Map of Ukraine

Location Volyn Oblast, Ukraine
Coordinates 51°31′01″N 23°49′12″E / 51.517°N 23.82°E / 51.517; 23.82Coordinates: 51°31′01″N 23°49′12″E / 51.517°N 23.82°E / 51.517; 23.82[1]
Established 1983

Shatsky National Natural Park (SNNP) is a park in Ukraine which was established in 1983 and aimed to preserve, reconstitute and to use effectively Volyn Polissia natural complexes and objects of special environmental, recreational, educational and aesthetic value. The park is located on the territory of Shatsk Region in northwest part of Volyn Oblast. The general area of the park is 490 square kilometres (190 sq mi), 188 km2 (73 sq mi) of which are handed over for its permanent use. Lesia Ukrainka, Volyn State University is a scientific curator. Two ecological paths, Svitiazianka and Lisova Pisnia, are working in the Shatsk NNP.

General information

Shats'k lake group is one of the biggest in Europe. On its territory there are more than thirty lakes of varying sizes. Their total area is almost 70 square kilometers. They constitute one of the biggest European groupings of lakes. Among them is Svitiaz, the deepest lake in Ukraine, with an area of 28 square kilometers and a depth of 58 metres (190 ft). The water reserve is 310 million cubic meters; 180.8 million cubic meters of them are kept in Svitiaz.

The majority of lakes are joined to each other by soil-reclamation canals of Soviet or earlier times, or natural channels.

As long as the main European watershed goes through Shatsk Region, surplus water from them periodically replenishes basins of the Baltic and the Black seas via the Bug and the Vistula, the Prypiat and the Dnieper rivers accordingly.

Forests occupy 52.5% of general park area, grasslands 7.3%, marshes 2.8%, and water reservoirs 14.2%. The rest of the area is taken by farms and roads.

According to the Ramsar Water and Moor Protection agreement, the Shats'k lakes' lands which are situated between the Prypiat and the western Bug are considered to be one of the most important areas in the Ukraine. In this territory, migrating birds can find places for their reproduction as well as food and rest on their way from the north to warmer countries.

The SNNP, together with the local administration, manage the main nature protection tasks. Due to these achievements, the park was included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (as West Polesie Transboundary Biosphere Reserve) within the frameworks of the UNESCO "Man and the Biosphere Programme" on April 30, 2002. By this act, the Shats'k lakes were referred to as some of the most precious complexes of the Earth. In Ukraine, Svitiaz Lake is considered to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Ukraine.

Lakes of Shatsk National Natural Park

No. Name Water-surface area, hectares Length, m Width, m Maximum depth, m Average depth, m Water volume, million m³ Height above sea level, m
1 Svitiaz 2750 9225 4000 58.4 6.9 180.8 163.2
2 Pulemetske 1569 6125 3375 19.2 4.1 64.3 162.7
3 Luky 673 5950 1400 3.2 2.1 14.1 161.8
4 Peremut 146 1800 1300 6.7 2.2 3.2 161.8
5 Ostriv'yanske 257 2500 1450 3.8 2.3 5.9 162.6
6 Pisochne 189 1750 1450 16.2 6.9 13 162.2
7 Chorne Male 36 875 575 2.5 1.2 0.4 162.3
8 Somynets 43 1175 525 2.8 1.7 0.7 163.4
9 Moshno 36 800 600 3 2 0.7 160.7
10 Klymivske 29 850 450 3 1.5 0.4 162.4
11 Lynovets 9.5 450 325 3.7 1.6 0.2 163.3
12 Zvedenka 4 225 225 3.7 1.6 0.2 163.1
13 Rytets 4.4 250 200 3.7 1.6 0.2 163.1
14 Liutsymer 443 3075 1875 11 4.4 19.5 164.7
15 Krymno 145 2175 925 5.5 2.9 4.2 161.7
16 Chorne Velyke 82 1375 750 6 3 2.5 164.7
17 Ozertse 13.4 600 375 3 1.6 0.2 163.1
18 Krasynets 13.9 550 375 1.8 1.1 0.2 163.2
19 Dovge 12 550 300 3 1.4 0.2 164.1
20 Plotychchya 11 475 325 2 0.5 0.1 163
21 Krugle 8.6 400 300 2 1 0.1 164.4
22 Navrattya 2 175 150 2 1 0.1 163.3
23 P'yavochne 1 120 80 2 1 0.1 163.3
24 Oleshno 5.8 350 300 2 1 0.2 162.5
Total 6354.6 311.5

Svitiaz Lake

Svitiaz Lake is of karst origin; it was formed due to progradation of chalk rocks and subsequent huge cenotes. Nowadays the length of the lake is 9.3 km, its width is 4.8 km, and its surface is more than 27 square kilometers. The lake is fed by either artesian springs or precipitation.

Water in Svitiaz is extremely transparent (in sunny weather a submerged white circle is visible to a depth of 8 m), clean and soft. It is determined that it is rich in silver ions and glycerol.

Along the lakeside, especially in the area of the tract "Hriada" and hotel "Shatski Lakes", Svitiaz is mostly shallow and on sunny days warms up quickly. On a clean sandy bottom one can go a half or even two hundred meters until the water reaches the chest of an adult man. However, the depth of two meters has an area of 1.2 square kilometers, up to three meters – 7.2, up to five meters – 10.6, to ten meters – 4.2, more than ten – 5.3 square kilometers.

Therefore, Svitiaz is mainly a very deep lake. Yet by already mentioned "shallow" "Hriada" there are underwater pits: Vovcha – 20 meters, Ohriadna – 15, Kamin – 14, and Verteneva – 17 meters. The maximum depth of the lake is 58.4, and the average – 7 meters.

The lake has an island near the deepest place in Svitiaz – the Holodnetska cavity (58.4 m). One of the legends tells that all the Polissia used to be a sea with whales. When the sea dried out and only the deepest places remained, it became Svitiaz now and its whale became an island.

At the beginning of 1970, several European rabbits were settled there for the experiment. In a short time they quickly multiplied and practically destroyed all vegetation. They did not pose a threat only to the highests island trees – giant poplars which had very rough bark. In order to save the island, foresters had to kill them.

The island is one of the few places in Ukraine where Bufo calamita toads live. There is also mass bird nesting, many species of which are rare. During nesting, visiting the island is prohibited.

In Svitiaz and other lakes of the park, the use of motor boats that may pollute water with fuel or oils is prohibited.

Flora and fauna

In the Shatsk Lakes territory, 1180 species of plants belonging to 124 families are found. Among them there are 795 species of higher vascular plants and 112 bryophytes. 332 vertebrate species have been noted in the park: 55 mammals, 241 birds, 7 amphibians, and 29 fish (11 families).

Pine and blueberry forests dominate the territory of the park. Alder and birch forests grow in the lowlands. Fauna is represented by typical woodlands species: elk, wild boar, roe deer, rabbits, squirrels. Otter, badger, polecat, marten are rarer. In the waters of the park are about 30 species of fish: Common roach, Common bream, Northern pike, carp, Wels catfish, European eel and others.

Three major faunal types are represented within Shatsk National Park: forest, wetland and synanthropic. In proportion, the first and second types dominate.

The composition of the forest complex includes a third of the mammals and more than a half of the entire fauna in the park. Most characteristic representatives of a forestry complex are:


De Selys Longchamps, Apodemus sylvaticus L., Dryomys nitedula Pall. and Glis glis L., Sciurus vulgaris L., Erinaceus, europeus L, Talpa europaea L., Sorex araneus L., Sorex caecutiens Laxm.S. minutua L., Crocidula suaveolens Palb. and C. leucodon Herman, Vespertilio serotinus Schreb., Mustela putorius L., Martes martes L., Mustela erminea L., Lepus europaeus Pallas, Vulpes vulpes L., Sus scrofa L., Capreolus capreolus L., Alces alces L.;
birds – Columba palumbus L., Streptopelia turtur L., Accipiter gentilis L. and A. nisus L., Buteo buteo L., Strix aluco L. and Asio otus L., Cuculus canorus L., Caprimulgus europaeus L., Upupa epops L., Jynx torquilla L., Dryocopus martius L., Dendrocopus major L., Dendrocopos medius L. and D. minor L., Lullula arborea L., Anthus trivialis L., Troglodytes troglodytes L., Erithacus rubecula L., Luscinia luscinia L., Oenanthe oenanthe L., Turdus merula L., T. philomeios- L. and T. pilaris L., Sylvia curruca L., Phylloscopus trochilus L., Ph. collybitus Vieill. and Ph. sibilatrix Bechst., Ficedula hypoleuca Pall. and Musticapa striata Pall., Parus montanus L., Sitta europaea L., erthia familiaris L., Emberiza citrinella L., Fringilla coelebs L., Acanthis cannabina L., Sturmis vulgaris L., Oriolus oriolus L., Garrulus glandarius L., Corvus cornix L., С. corax L. and other.

The wet-land complex (lakes’ waters, marshes, wet meadows) contains approximately of one-third of all the Park warm-blooded (about 30 mammals species and 60 birds). The most characteristic representatives are:

mammals – mole, common shrew, white-toothed shrew, ermine, vole (Arvicola terrestris L.) and Microtus agrestis L.;


Podiceps cristatus L., Ardea cinerea L., Cygnus olor Gm., Anas platyrhynchos L., A. querquedula L, Aythia fuligula L., Porzana porzana L., P. parva Scop., Rallus H L., Fulica atra L., V. vanellus L., Tringa totanus L., G. gallinago L., Scolopax rusticola L., L. Limosa L., Larus ridibundus L., Sterna hirundo L. and Chlidonias nigra L., Circus aeruginosus L., Motacilla alba L. and M. flava L., Anthus pratensis L., R. riparia L., Lanius excubitor L., Locustella fluviatilis Wolf., Acrocephalus schoenodaenus L., A. palustris Bechst., A. scirpaceus Herrn. and A. arundinaceus L., Emberiza schoeniclus L., P. pica L., hooded crow and others.

The synatrophic complex (farmland, settlements) consists of the smallest amount of warm-blooded, only about 20% of the total amount in the Park. The most characteristic representatives are:


Mus musculus L. and Apode- mus agrarius Pall., Microtus arval- is Pall., Rattus norvegicus Berktnhout, Erinaceus eiiropaeus L., Talpa europaea L., Plecotus aiiritus L., Muscardinus avellanarius L. and Gris gris L., Lepus europaeus Pall., Mustela nivalis L., Mustela putorius L., Martes foina (Erxleben);
birds – P. perdix L., C. ciconia L., Columba livia Gm., Streptopelia decaocto Friv., Athene noctua Scop., Strix aluco L., A. apus, Alauda arvensis L., Motacilla alba L., swallows: Hirimdo rustica L. and Delichon urbica L., Luscinia luscinia L., Phoenicurus ochruros Gm., thrushes: Turdus merula L. and Turdus philomelos Brehm, warblers: Sylvia borin Bodd. and S.atricapilla L., Serinus сапала L., Ch. chloris L., C. carduelis L., linnet, sparrows: Passer domesticus L. and P. montanus L., Sturnus vulgaris L., magpie, rook (Corvus frugilegus L.), jackdaw (C. monedula L.) and others.

Functional zones

In order to perform its tasks and in accordance with the general plan and the Ukrainian Law "About the Nature Reserve Fund of Ukraine", the park's territory is divided into four functional zones. The zones were pointed out by taking into consideration such factors as a level of the natural complexes preservation, a landscape type, traditional economic activities, a state of flora and fauna objects, cultural and aesthetic values of the objects. The distinguished zones are the following:

On the territory of the SNNP different scientific investigations are conducted to prevent any possible deterioration of the ecological situation in the Shats'k lakes district. The Park's scientific department also works in the frames of the "Nature Chronicle Program for the Sanctuaries and Nature National Parks".

Rare plants and animals

The Green Book of Ukraine includes 14 plant communities among them rare for Ukraine pine forests with undergrowth of juniper communities featuring spruce, located on the southern edge of the range, as well as rare for Polissia leucobryum pine forest, bearberry pinery, thorny ground-pinery, arctic dwarf birch grouping and others.
Red Book of Ukraine indicates categories depending on the state and degree of threat to the population:
– (0) – extinct species, any information about their stay in the wild is absent after repeated searches conducted in common areas or other prominent locations and possible places of spread,
– (1) endangered species under threats of extinction, preservation of them is unlikely if the pernicious effect of factors that affect their condition continues,
– (2) – vulnerable species which in the near future can be categorized disappearing, if effect of factors that affect their condition continues,
– (3) – rare species of small populations, which are not classified as endangered or vulnerable, although they are in danger,
– (4) – undetermined species known as endangered or rare, but reliable information that would allow to determine to which of these categories they belong is absent,
– (5) – insufficiently known species which could be possibly be attributed to one of the above categories, but in the absence of other reliable information question remains not determined,
– (6) – recovered species, which populations not cause concern thanks to the measures taken for their protection, however, is not to be used and require constant monitoring.
27 species of plants belongs to the Red Book:

Aldrovanda vesiculosa L. – (3)
Betula humilis Schrank. – (3),
Cephalanthera rubra Rich. – (2),
Neottia nidus avis Rich. – (3),
Botrychium lunaria Sw. – (2),
Diphasiastrum camplanatum Holub. – (2),
Liparis loeselii Rich. – (2),
Oxycoccus microcarpus Turcz ex Rupr. – (1)
Orchis coriophora L. (3),
Listera ovata L. – (3),
Cypripedium calceolus L. – (2),
Epipactis palustris L. – (3),
Epipactis atrorubens Schult. – (3)
Epipactis helleborine L. – (3)
Lycopodium inundatum L. (3),
Lilium martagon L. – (3),
Platanthera bifolia Rich. – (3),
Cladium mariscus (L.) Pohl – (2)
Carex davalliana Smithjg-(2)
Carex umbrosa Host. – (2),
Dactylorhiza incarnata L. 1 (3),
Dactylorhiza maculata L, – (3)
Dactylorhiza majalis Hunt. – (3),
Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Druce). – (3),
Lycopodium annotinum L. – (3),
Drosera anglica Huds. – (2),
Drosera intermedia Naune. – (2),
Pinguicula vulgaris L. (2),
Scheuchzeria palustris L. (2).

33 species of vertebrates:

Neomys anomalus Cabrera – (3)
Lutra lutra L. – (2),
Mustela erminea L. – (4),
Meies meles L. – (2),
Pelecanus onocrotalus L. – (2),
Ardeola ralloides L. – (2),
Ciconia nigra L. – (2),
Cygnus bewikii Yarr. – (3),
Aythya nyroca Guld. g (2)
Bucephala clangula L. – (3),
Somateria mollissima L. – (3),
Oxyura leucocephala L. – (4),
Pandion haliaetus L. – (3),
Milvus milvus L, – (1)
Circus cyaneus L. – (1)
Circatus ferox Gmelin. – (3),
Aquila pomarina Ch. L. Brehm – (3)
Aquila chrysaetos L. – (3),
Haliaetus albicilla L. – (2),
Falco cherrug Gray. – (3),
Grus grus L. – (2),
Haematopus ostralegus L. – (3),
Tringa stagnatilis Beehst – (2)
Himantopus himantopus L. – (2),
Numenius arquata L. – (2),
Numenius phaeopus L. – (2),
Hydroprogne caspia L. – (3),
Bubo bubo L. – (2),
Lanius excubitor L. (4),
Acrocephalus paludicola L. (3),
Regulus ingicapillus L. – (4).


In summer Shatsk’ population (6.3 thousand people) increases threefold. The number of people in the area (in winter 17.3 thousand) increases to 40 thousand and more.

See also


  1. "Shatskiy National Park".


  1. Шацький національний природний парк. Історія та сьогодення / В. Мельник, О. Бірюліна; Шацький нац. прир. парк, Проект Програми розвитку ООН/Глобального екологічного фонду "Зміцнення управління та фінансової стійкості національної системи природоохоронних територій в Україні". – Луцьк: Волиньполіграф, 2010. – 130 с.
  2. Шацьке поозер'я: краєзнавчі штрихи з минулого і сьогодення / В. Мельник. – Луцьк: Волиньполіграф, 2010. – 40 с.
  3. Основи заповідної справи: Навчальний посібник / Ю. М. Грищенко – Рівне: РДТУ, 2000. – 239 с.
  4. Red Book of Ukraine

Shatsky ozera

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