Poland


The total area of Poland is 312,679 km² and the country has a population of over 38.5 million people. More than half of the land is devoted to agriculture. Presently, the total area under agricultural cultivation is declining, but the remaining farmland is cultivated more intensively.
 
Forests cover almost 29% of Poland. Because of agricultural clearing and extreme devastations during both wars of the 20th century after the World War II forest covered only 21 % of Poland. During the following 50 years forest cover increased by about 8 %-units and presently it is about 8.5 million ha. Most of the forest (7 million ha) is owned and managed by the State and the rest (1.5 million ha) is private. Because of a history of forest clearing associated with agricultural development in Poland, the forests are fragmented into distinct isolated patches. State owned forests encompass almost thirty thousand such patches. Privately owned forest patches are even smaller, in average 1 ha/owner.

The natural environment of Poland is characterised by great diversity at all levels, due to diversified area, well-developed network of rivers and lakes, presence of swamps, forests and areas characterised by beautiful landscapes with great recreational value. According to Act on Natura Conservation from 2004 there are several forms of land protection: (1) national parks,, (2) nature reserves, (3) landscape parks, (4) protected landscape areas, (5) NATURA 2000 areas, and (6) other, smaller forms like: monuments of nature, documentation sites, ecological arable lands, landscape-nature complexes.

One of the management forms in Polish forest that promotes sustainable management of forest resources is a Promotional Forest Complex (PFC). Presently there are 19 PFCs in Poland, covering together 990 469 ha. The main goal of a PFC is promotion of pro-ecological forest management.