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Sergei catches fish illegally with a net on a frozen lake near the village of Sporova in the Sporovski Nature Preserve on April 1, 2006. Net fishing in the lake and surrounding streams is only allowed by the local collective farm. But Sergie comes out twice every day with his son Sasha to catch fish, earning $1,000 in a good month and providing enough money for his family to live. Known as the "Lungs of Europe," the lake and surrounding peat bogs, swamps and forests are ecologically important for their ability to soak up tons of carbon dioxide emissions and create oxygen.

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belarus_ch2-18.jpg
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© Dean C.K. Cox
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Sergei catches fish illegally with a net on a frozen lake near the village of Sporova in the Sporovski Nature Preserve on April 1, 2006. Net fishing in the lake and surrounding streams is only allowed by the local collective farm. But Sergie comes out twice every day with his son Sasha to catch fish, earning $1,000 in a good month and providing enough money for his family to live. Known as the "Lungs of Europe," the lake and surrounding peat bogs, swamps and forests are ecologically important for their ability to soak up tons of carbon dioxide emissions and create oxygen.