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Ecoregions in Poland

Terrestrial ecoregions of Poland
Ecoregion PA0412
Ecoregion PA0405
Ecoregion PA0445

Poland is part of two global ecoregions as defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) with a branch in Poland; working on issues regarding the conservation, research and protection of the environment.[1] The two global habitat types extending into the country are the European-Mediterranean Montane Mixed Forests,[note 1] as well as the Northeast Atlantic Shelf Marine ecoregion,[2] encircling all of Continental Europe.



Most of Poland is covered by the deciduous woodlands,[3] known as the temperate broadleaf and mixed forests; a vegetation zone also referred to as the Central European mixed forest, designated PA0412.[4] It is identified as one of three Palearctic ecoregion zones of the European continent present in the country.[5] The geographic location of the continental mixed forest life zone,[6] spans all the way from Lithuania to Romania in the south, and Germany to western Russia in the east.[5] Meanwhile, the north-western part of Poland belongs to the Palearctic Northern European temperate broadleaf and mixed forests eco-zone (PA0405),[7] known also as the Baltic mixed forest, extending across the sea up to Sweden and Denmark. Part of Poland's habitat is made up of the temperate coniferous forest (PA0504) as well, but only around the mountains.[8] It is known as the Carpathian montane conifer forest.[8]

Rare European bison at PA0412

In total, the temperate broadleaf and mixed forest of Europe is 282,300 square miles in size, with a status of the critical/endangered ecoregion featuring one of the last herds of European bison known as wisent, the heaviest surviving wild land animal on the continent,[9] grazing the protected Białowieża Forest (Puszcza Białowieska) of north-eastern Poland.[5] Historically, the wisent's range encompassed all lowlands of Europe, extending from the Massif Central to the Caucasus. Its range decreased as growing human populations cut down trees. The European bison became extinct in southern Sweden in the 11th century, and southern England in the 12th century. The species survived in the Ardennes and the Vosges until the 15th century before being hunted to extinction. In mid-16th century King Sigismund II Augustus of Poland pronounced a death penalty for poaching a European bison in Białowieża.[10] Despite these measures, its population continued to decline. During World War I, occupying German troops killed 600 wisent for food, hides, and horns.[11] The last wild European bison in Poland was killed in 1919. They were reintroduced from captivity.[10] There are also pockets of the Western European broadleaf forests in Poland (PA0445) centered around the Upper Rhine; such as, in the area of the Polish Jura.[12]

The World Wide Fund for Nature in PolandEdit

A branch of the World Wide Fund has operated in Poland since the early 1990s.[13] In 1993, the WWF Polska succeeded in the creation of the Biebrza National Park followed in 1998 by the opening of its first permanent office in Białystok, which led to the creation of additional protected areas including Ujście Warty Landscape Park, Krzesin Landscape Park and the Muskau Park (Mużakowski Park Krajobrazowy, added to UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004). In 2000, the new permanent office in Warsaw became the headquarters of the foundation. An additional branch was set up in Wrocław which helped create the Ujście Warty National Park in 2001. The next year, WWF Poland petitioned the government into signing the Kyoto Protocol. In 2004 it organized a campaign against the illegal trade in endangered species resulting in new laws enacted by Polish Parliament, and in 2008 caused the cancellation of the Via Baltica expressway across the Rospuda valley. In recent years, WWF Polska volunteers removed the estimated 20 tons of abandoned nets from the Baltic sea, among numerous other projects.[14]


  1. ^ The European-Mediterranean Montane Mixed Forests consist of 8 terrestrial ecoregions spanning the continent (also outside Poland). A complete list of the terrestrial ecoregions of the European-Mediterranean montane mixed forests includes: the Carpathians (PA0504) in Poland, but also the Appennines, Crimea, Dinaric Alps, the Rhodope Mountains, the Mediterraneans, the Pyrenees and the Alps, outside Poland.[2]


  1. ^ Thaddeus C. Trzyna (1996). "International Non-Governmental Organizations" (Google books preview). World Directory of Environmental Organizations: A Handbook of National and International Organizations and Programs. Earthscan. p. 118. ISBN 9781853833076. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Ecoregions by country - Poland". WWF Global. Our Earth » Places. World Wide Fund for Nature. 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  3. ^ Tod F. Stuessy (2009). "Ecology: Vegetation zones" (Google books preview). Plant Plant Taxonomy: The Systematic Evaluation of Comparative Data. Columbia University Press. p. xix. ISBN 0231147120. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  4. ^ Will Blozan; Robert Leverett (2011). "Central European mixed forests (PA0412)". European Trees And Forests. The Native Tree Society (NTS), Florence, MA. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c "Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  6. ^ Jodi A. Hilty (May 29, 2012). "Introduction to the Region" (Google books preview). Climate and Conservation: Landscape and Seascape Science, Planning, and Action. Island Press. p. 129. ISBN 1610912039. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  7. ^ "Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  8. ^ a b "Carpathian montane conifer forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  9. ^ Olech, W.; IUCN SSC Bison Specialist Group (2008). "Bison bonasus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2008: e.T2814A9484719. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T2814A9484719.en. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  10. ^ a b Zdzsław Pucek, European Bison (Bison Bonasus): Current State of the Species and Strategy for Its Conservation published by Council of Europe, 2004, ISBN 92-871-5549-6, 978-92-871-5549-8
  11. ^ "Large herbivores". European bison (Bison bonasus). WWF Global. November 13, 2005. Archived from the original (Internet Archive) on August 13, 2006. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  12. ^ "Western European broadleaf forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  13. ^ "Historia WWF" (in Polish). WWF Global. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  14. ^ "Rezultaty naszych działań". WWF Polska. WWF Global. Retrieved January 20, 2013.

  Media related to Palearctic SVG maps of WWF ecoregions at Wikimedia Commons