Status and Trends of Biodiversity
Poland’s biodiversity is among the richest in Europe. This is a reflection of both favorable natural conditions (location at the centre of the continent, lack of natural barriers to the east and west, transitional climate, diverse geological structure and relief), and an influence of human activity that has taken a different route to that seen in other European countries (uneven industrialization and urbanization, retention of traditional extensive agriculture over large areas and the extent and historical persistence of forests). As of 2005, there are 23 national parks, 1395 nature reserves, 120 landscape parks and 449 protected landscape areas in Poland, covering a total of 32.5% of the country’s territory. Yet the global trend in regard to biodiversity loss also occurs in Poland. About one third of the country’s mammals are threatened with extinction. Changes in the Polish mammal fauna consists of, population decline on the one hand, and the arrival of new alien species that threaten indigenous species on the other. Those species include the racoon dog and the American mink. Furthermore, population numbers and number of occurence sites of most amphibian species have declined all over Poland.
Number and Extent of Protected Areas
The national protected area network of Poland includes 8711 sites covering a total area of 10,175.9 thousand hectares, or 32.5% of the country’s surface area. The network is as follows: 23 national parks on 317,400 ha (1% of Poland); 1395 nature reserves on 165,200 ha (0.5% of Poland); 120 landscape parks on 2,516,900 ha (8% of Poland); 449 protected landscape areas on 7,044,500 ha (22.5% of Poland);The Natura 2000 network includes: 184 proposed habitat Natura 2000 sites (SACs) on 125,800 ha (3.6% of Poland) 72 bird Natura 2000 sites (SPAs) on 3,312,800 ha (7.8% of Poland)
115 documentary sites on 700 ha (0.01% of Poland); 6421 ecological lands on 44,500 ha (0.1% of Poland); 188 nature-landscape complexes on 86,800 ha (0.3% of Poland).
Percentage of Forest Cover
Forest cover: 9,000,000 hectares or 28.8% of Poland.