“Let’s make our world more green and clean”
Comenius 2012 – 2014
Book about National Parks
and Fauna & Flora
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National parks of Greece (Fauna and flora)
National parks of Latvia (Fauna and flora)
National parks of France (Fauna and flora)
National Parks of Spain (Fauna and flora)
National parks of Sicily (Fauna and flora)
National parks of Romania (Fauna and flora)
National parks of Poland (Fauna and flora)
National parks of Norway (Fauna and flora)
National parks of Slovenia (Fauna and flora)
National parks of Turkey
National parks of Lithuania (Fauna and flora)
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National parks of Greece
Greece is characterized by a highly fragmented, rugged
landscape hosting a great variety of ecosystems and an outstanding
biodiversity. It is a relatively small country with a population of up to
eleven (11) million people and an area of 132.000 km2, which,
however, is positioned at the crossroads of three continents (Europe,
Asia and Africa) and therefore played a key role in communication and
development of the surrounding area. The natural environment of
Greece is characterized by dramatic changes of ecosystems and
It has a very long coastline (16,000 km), numerous peninsulas
and islands. It is mainly a mountainous country with a great variety of
geological formations and rocks. It is estimated that forests cover 20%
of the surface. and over 50 % of its territory is 200-1000 meters above
There is a wide geographical variation (mountains, hills, valleys,
plains, rivers, islands, beaches, lakes and lagoons. All these features
create a unique landscape, with unique specificities from region to
Moreover, in our country we find many different types of
climates (from dry - Crete until cold - continental Rhodope), creating a
large mosaic of vegetation and contribute to the isolation of certain
habitats, which in turn generate a relatively large number of endemic
and rare species of plants and animals.
At the same time, the paleogeographic history of the site in
conjunction with changes in the global climate and glacial periods
resulted in the enrichment of flora and fauna. In addition, many
species were widespread in Central and Northern Europe, remained in
our country as a residual and considered quite rare today.
The Greek forests are among the richest in flora and fauna
rare species in Europe.
H form and composition depends on their geographical
In the northern part of the country, one encounters the green
forest of the Rhodope mountains and Pindos, and the famous Mount
Olympus. The tree species that grow there firs , poplars - trees ,
dogwood , elm , cedar , wild walnut tree , hazel , trees , cherry trees ,
cypresses , etc.In the southern parts of coniferous trees dominated by
different species of pine trees ,mountain and oak in the lower parts.
Even at 700 meters above sea bushy formations are developed
covering 13.5 % of the total forest area of country.
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The species grown there consist of small trees, laurels as
arbutus, willow trees and shrubs, such as ivy, thyme, oregano, holly,
mullein . etc. as a series of wild flowers such as orchids , saffron ,
cyclamen , irises , anemones , dragon flowers , daisies , chamomile ,
wild pansies , violets , poppies , etc.
Also , there are riparian forests in Greece which is on par with
those in other European countries and deserves to be protected as a
forest of ash in the delta of Achelous , the forest of the river ( Kotza
Orman ) and forest Delta Lokrou – Arachthou
Also one of the important elements that constitute the Greek
landscape is natural and ecological fences develop rural areas , help to
protect the crops from the natural environment and the land from
erosion and flood prevention and is an important habitat for many
plants and animals. These hedges are formed by more than 150 species
of plants, shrubs and trees (Such as wild roses, willows, elms, trees,
Over 1200 species of animals , birds and insects find shelter ,
food and shelter in these places , such as partridge , blackbird mouse,
mole , butterfly , grasshopper , Wasp , etc.
It is understandable, therefore, that our country has enormous natural
wealth and conquered the first place in Europe in this field.
Unfortunately, the environment in Greece is facing multiple threats of
degradation, even destruction.
Feature is that the Greek wetlands have been destroyed by three
quarters, while the rate of reforestation is only 25 % and is the lowest
in the Mediterranean
Almost 5% of the Greek coastline consists of ecologically sensitive
wetlands, especially in areas experiencing rapid growth of tourism.
The risk of disappearance of the natural environment of our
country led to the designation of certain areas, habitats, plants and
animals are protected. With national laws and presidential decrees,
but also with international resolutions, conventions and directives, a
sizable percentage of species and regions of the country are protected.
Climate change and biological diversity, along with its rich flora
and fauna associated with it, has necessitated the creation of national
Greek national parks (protected areas)
National parks usually consist of an area of absolute protection
, the core, and a protective zone.
According to Greek law, the kernel can not be less than
15,000,000 square meters, with the exception of marine national
parks. The area should be greater than or at least equal to the size of
the core. At the heart of the national park, only scientific research,
mild recreational activities, and collection of information related to
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the environment. In the wider area of the national park allowed
outposts, aquaculture, construction of forest roads, hiking camping,
in conjunction with infrastructure and controlled logging. Some of the
activities that are prohibited in national parks cores are industry,
creating settlements, houses, cottages and huts, grazing, logging,
hunting, cutting, uprooting, collecting plants etc.
In Greece the demarcation National Parks, ie areas of natural
wealth protected by state regulations began to be consolidated from
The national parks in Greece, known for its lush vegetation and
fauna and has enormous ecological value. Rare species of plants,
animals, reptiles and birds nesting in these shelters and deserve every
possible protection and attention.
The first National Park established in the country in 1938 is
So in our country are:
10 national forest parks, two water parks and 27 national
National forest parks
• Olympus National Park
• National Park of Parnitha
• Parnassos National Park
• National Forest Enos Kefalonia
• Sounio National Park
• Iti National Park
• White Mountains National Forest (Samaria)
• Pindos National Park (Valia Calda)
• National Park Prespa
• Gorge Aoou
National marine parks
(National Marine Parks are marine areas declared as protected areas) .
In Greece have set up two sites as National Marine Parks
• National Marine Park of Allonisos, Northern Sporades, 1992
which includes land and sea areas of the high sea,
because they are the refuge of the Mediterranean monk seal
• National Marine Park of Zakynthos, 1999
for the protection of the sea turtle Caretta caretta
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There is an abundance of protected areas, particularly wetlands
specifically designated after the 2004 National Parks.
These, in order of approval are as follows :
• National Park Ropes Marathon 2000
• Park wetlands and lake Koroneia Macedonian Tempi , 2004
• Northern Pindos National Park , 2005
• National Park Messolonghi ( lagoons ) , wetlands and estuaries
Aitolikou Achelous and Evinou and islands Echinades , 2006
• National Park of Dadia Lefkimmis and Soufliou, 2006
• National Park Lake and Lake Kerkinis Pamvotidas , 2006
• National Wetland Park Evro Delta , 2007
• National Park wetlands Ambracian , 2008
• National Park of East Macedonia - Thrace 2008 ( Nestos )
• Tzoumerkon National Park and Canyon Arachthou , 2009
• National Park Kotychi - Strofylia , 2009
• National Park Axios , Loudias and Aliakmona , 2009
• Rhodope Mountains ( virgin forest fence ), 2009 , and
• National Park Chelmos Vouraikos 2009 .
According to the Greek Biotope - Wetland Goulandris today
in Greece are :
• 10 National Forest Parks ( 687,320 hectares)
• 14 National parks (713,480 hectares)
• 51 Preserved natural monuments ( 168,400 hectares )
• 585 Wildlife Refuges
• 7 Controlled hunting areas ( 1,070,860 hectares )
• 21 game farms Treasure ( 36,030 acres)
• 2 Protection of Nature (Psalidi Kos western Milos )
• 1 - area house development in the area ( Lake Pamvotida )
• 10 Wetlands of International Importance (Convention Ramsar)
• 390 Areas of the NATURA 2000 network
• 16 Districts biogenetic reserves ( 222,610 ha)
• 2 Biosphere Reserve ( Parks and Samaria Olympus )
• 2 World heritage sites (Metsovo and Athos )
• 1 area ( Samaria , which has been awarded Eurodiploma)
Nowadays , designated 234 NATURA 2000 sites across the country ,
covering a total of 18% of the land area of Greece , which is about
2,360,000 hectares , excluding purely marine areas .• 19 Aesthetic
forests ( 325,060 hectares )
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Map of Greece with the positions of National Parks and National
Parks (including water parks
The national parks in Greece, famous for its rich vegetation and fauna
and have tremendous ecological value. Rare species of plants, animals,
reptiles and birds nesting in these havens and
deserve every possible protection and attention.
What follows are just a few of the most important national parks in
1. Parnassus, the sacred mountain of the Muses of ancient Greece
2. Mount Iti, where Hercules met terrible fate.
3. Parnitha, with more than 1000 species of plants and 120 species of
4. Mount Sounio (important passage for migratory birds)
5. Olympus, the living part of the ancient Greek gods, with over 1700
species of plants live, including 25 points in the world
6. National Park Aoou - gorge with two of the biggest natural
7. The Vikos Gorge with rich flora consisting of rare species at risk of
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8. The chasm Aoou, which is also rich in flora and fauna where one
can find , among other species , the rare otter in the river
9. The National Park Valia Calda - the most important park of our
country , where more than 80 species of birds nest , while 30 of those
listed in Annex I to 79/409 EEC direction .
It is a place of considerable ornithological value presents 11 species of
raptors and 68 species of woodpeckers.
Also , is the living part of the brown bear (Ursus arctos) and wolf
(Canis Lupus), while an ideal habitat for otters and amphibians are
rich region (6 species) and reptiles (9 items)
10. Another important park is park of Samaria in Crete with the
unique canyon. The Cretan wild goat and one of the rarest raptors
necrovorous in Greece, the Vulture.
11. The National Park of Ainos Kefalonia the island is famous for
its magnificent fir (Abies Kefalonia )
The fauna of all these areas consist of a large number of
mammals , such as badgers , foxes, squirrels , hares , bears , wolves ,
deer , badgers , wild boars , wild cats , a few jackals , deer and rare
species of birds, especially raptors , such as vulture , vultures , golden
eagle and the golden eagle , the snake eagle , the robin and owl .
The vegetation is also awesome abundant and therefore, these
parks are fairly characterized as a botanical paradise and living spaces
of the ancient gods!
Greece also has a great reputation for several surfaces of water.
Setting the humidity and climate regulation is their function. The play
important role in wintering birds and migration, breeding in northern
Europe and the former Soviet Union.
In this way you will becme an integral environmental supply
chain that connects the northern areas to the south.
In Greece 410 regional surfaces importance of water has been
recorded, while 11 have been declared as “Water Surfaces international
importance” RAMSAR- February 1971,
like the Messolonghi lagoon - Aitolikou - Achelous mouth
Ambracian Coast ( breeding area of marine turtle Caretta - Caretta),
the delta of the Euro (one of the most important bodies of water in
the Mediterranean lagoons Thrace Porto - Lagos and Acetabulum
, the Prespa National Park ( two lakes) , Nestos and Axios and
earthscapes and bulbs.
All these places are home to more than 300 species of birds
such as Pelicans onocrotalus, the cormorant, the cinder Goose, the
black stork, the Agathocalimana (unique species in Europe), the
Aegioglarus etc. Also, a large number of amphibians, reptiles,
mammals and insects nest to find food and shelter there.
However, these areas are not seriously undermined by
excessive cultivation of the land, drainage, pesticides, destruction of
riparian forest, open channel, hunting, construction of new dams etc.
regardless of high ecological, scientific and cultural costs.
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The pollution of the natural environment and the degradation
of forests and other natural ecosystems, although dating from the
beginning of the industrial revolution, however, took place during the
last 40 or so years.
Industrial development of the country follows inevitably to
a greater or lesser extent, depending on the concentration of industry
size urban centers, local climate, etc., destruction of the environment.
In industrialized Western countries (Germany, France, England), and
in countries of the former Eastern bloc necrosis observed from plants,
pollution of surface and groundwater, a dramatic reduction of species
and populations of fauna and flora.
From this general rule could not be differentiated our country.
The rapid and unregulated development of the two major urban
centers (Athens, Thessaloniki) created, among other things, a serious
pollution problem. Athens until 1960 had 1,000,000 residents and
several factories, without '' cloud ‘‘, except perhaps in Eleusis and
Piraeus, where heavy industry is concentrated.
In 15 years (1975) the population tripled (3,000,000
inhabitants), cars proliferated and gathered to bowl three quarters of
industrial and economic activity. This led Attica previously had one of
the best climates in the world, become the most polluted region of our
country, as demonstrated by systematic studies on the effect of
emissions from these activities in natural ecosystems of Attica.
Thus, one of the big threats is air pollution.
Series are human interventions (uncontrolled logging,
dams, creating settlements, etc.
At the same time , other activities , such as recreation in the national
forest and natural phenomena (sometimes artificial of course) such
as fires , creating a threat to the forests of our country , especially
during the summer months , when tourism increases and high
temperatures create flammable forests .
Another serious threat is the human intervention
All these positions seriously undermined by excessive cultivation land
, drainage , pesticides , destroying riparian forest , open channel ,
hunting , construction of new dams etc. regardless of high ecological,
scientific and cultural costs .
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Conclusions on environmental protection
It is reasonable that every part of the planet Earth is a
It is vital to keep on improving our own quality of life and as a
legacy for future generations.
It is our duty to protect our environment, our forests and our
shores. There will be no life on our planet, without the
awakening of environmental awareness and environmental
responsibility are values that must be guided in future citizens
who will influence legislation and environmental policy through
voting, pressure or involvement to make our world their best!
Let's not waste time!
Let's all try, citizens and state together in every part of
the earth to save the environment, or at least save
what is left of it, before it is too late for all of us!
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National Parks of Latvia
Latvian has four national parks. They take up about 3.2% of the
Name Founded Territory (km²)
Latvian nature reserves
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Latvian is the four nature reserves. They take up about 0.4% of the
Name Founded Territory
Grīņu Nature Reserve 193
Moricsalas Nature Reserve 1912 8,18
Teiču Nature Reserve 1982 193,37
Gaujas National Park
Gauja National Park is the largest and oldest Latvian
National Park, founded in 1973. on the 14th september. The
park is located in Vidzeme. The area is 91,745 ha. Gauja
National Park was created to protect the existing animal and
plant species. Gauja National Park is the most popular
tourist destination outside the Latvian capital region.
Flora and fauna
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47% of the park area is covered by forests. The main forest
types in the deciduous, pine forest and spruce forest. River
valleys grows in deciduous and mixed forests.
Gauja National Park found nearly 900 species of plants and
ferns. The park area found 48 mammals, 149 birds, 5
reptiles, 8 amphibians and 2 species of cyclostomes.
The park area is home to several lakes. The largest is Lake
Ungurs - 393,6 ha, but deepest lake Kaņepu - 18 m.
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Fauna and Flora
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National Parks in France
France has 10 national parks within its territory, including 3 overseas
territories. Each space is bringing a natural, cultural and landscape
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Parc national des Calanques
Création du parc : 18 avril 2012
Department : Bouches du Rhône
Region: Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Commons: 3 heart (Marseille, Cassis and La Ciotat) and 3
membership (Marseille, Cassis and La Penne-sur-Huveaune) area
Biodiversity: 140 terrestrial plant and animal species protected;
60 heritage marine species.
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Parc national des Cévennes
Création du parc : 2 septembre 1970
Departments: Lozère (48) Gard (30) and Ardeche (07)
Region: Languedoc-Roussillon and Rhone Alps
Commons: 152 (55 partially Heart Park)
Flora : rich and diverse (11,000 species, 2,250 flowering plants),
with remarkable and endemic plant associations, particularly in
peatlands Mont Lozère and Mont Aigoual in the pseudo-steppe
caussenarde, unique in France, and in the anthropogenic Cevennes
Fauna: 2410 species of vertebrates, 45% and 2/3 of mammals
that are found in France. 20 bat species on 30 recencés in France.
Many raptors highly threatened: golden eagle, short-toed Jean-le-
Blanc, peregrine falcon, great horned owl ... Site privileged
location of griffon vulture, Egyptian monk, and the bearded
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Department: Hautes-Alpes (05) and Isère (38)
Region: Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Rhône-Alpes
Common: 61 (including 26 partially Heart Park)
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Departments: Alpes-Maritimes (06) and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence
Region: Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Common: 28 (27 partially in the heart of the park)
Flora: the highest diversity at the national level with 2,000 species of
plants, including 200 rare and 30 endemic.
Fauna: 58 species of mammals - including seven wild ungulates found
in France and the wolf - and 153 species of birds, unique encounters
with the world as the Siberian boreal owl or owl little Duke of North
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Department: Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64) and the Hautes-Pyrénées (65
Region: Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrenees
Common: 86 (including 16 partially Heart Park)
Flora: 1200 species recorded, of which 107 are protected.
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Wildlife: 2600 ibex, chamois 6000, 125 breeding bird species - twenty
pairs of golden eagles and three pairs of bearded.
FAUNA IN MERCANTOUR NATIONAL PARC
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NATIONAL PARKS IN SPAIN (CACERES REGION)
Monfragüe is roughly in the centre of the province of Cáceres,
at the confluence of the rivers Tajo and Tiétar. It is at present the only
National Park in Extremadura, with 18,118 ha under this protection. The
park and its immediate surrounding area, a total of 116,151 ha, are protected
by the Natura 2000 network as a SPA. The centre of the park consists of
several small, parallel mountain ranges, between which flows the River Tajo.
The River Tiétar and other lesser watercourses carve out deep gorges as they
flow towards the Tajo, creating a spectacular system of rocky cliffs in which
a huge number of birds breed. Nowadays the river courses are dammed up by
the reservoirs of Alcántara, Torrejón-Tajo and Torrejón-Tiétar.
Despite the area’s low height, the uneven relief and the water
barrier has meant that areas of Mediterranean forest and scrubland of
extremely high value in terms of their fauna and flora have been conserved.
But what really gives the area its value are the large dehesa areas that extend
to the north and south of the National Park, providing an abundant food
supply for Monfragüe’s most valuable birds.
Fauna and flora in Extramadura
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Etna Park was the first Park established in Sicily in March 1987. And
not by chance. As a matter of fact, Etna is not only the highest active volcano
in Europe, but also a mountain with recent lava flows where no form of life
has settled yet and very ancient lava flows housing natural fomations of
Austrian pines, beech trees, and birches.
To protect this unique and extraordinary landscape marked by the
presence of man, Etna Park has been divided into four areas.
In the "A" area, 19,000 ha that are almost all public property, there are
no human settlements. It is the area of the big uncontaminated spaces, the
realm of big birds of prey like the Golden Eagle.
The "B" area, 26,000 ha, is partly formed by small private agricultural
lots and is characterized by wonderful examples of rural houses, shelters for
animals, palm groves, and noble houses witnessing the ancient and current
human presence. Besides the "A" and "B" Park areas, there is a pre-Park area
in the "C" and "D" areas: 14,000 ha, to guarantee the presence of eventual
tourist facilities in the respect of the safeguard of landscape and nature.
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Valle del Leone
Etna with lava fountain from the south-eastern crater
Snow-clad steaming Etna
About one and a half century ago, Galvagni, describing the wildlife of
Etna, talked about the presence of animals which nowadays have almost
disappeared such as wolves, wild boars, fallow deer, and deer. The opening
of new roads, deforestation, and hunting activities contributed to the
extinction of these big mammals and continue to threaten the life of other
species. In spite of this, porcupines, foxes, wild cats, martens, rabbits, and
hares can be seen on the volcano together with weasels, hedgehogs, dormice,
and several species of mice and bats.
In the area, many bird species live. In particular, birds of prey which
witness the existence of large uncontaminated sites. Among the diurnal birds
of prey, there are sparrow-hawks, buzzards, kestrels, peregrines, and the
golden eagle. The nocturnal birds of prey include the barn owl, the scops owl,
the tawny owl, and the long-eared owl. Herons, ducks, and other aquatic
birds can be observed in Gurrida Lake, the one and only stretch of water in
the mountain area of Etna.
In the woodlands, it is possible to sight jays, rock pigeons, and the rock
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partridge, as well as many song birds like the warbler, the tit, the cuckoo, and
many others. In the upper areas, around the lava fields, the wheatear will
surprise you with its rapid and irregular flying style. Among the various
snake species populating the woodland with green lizards and lizards, the
most dangerous snake is the viper, whose presence has increased in recent
years because of a decrease in its predators. The world of insects is also
worth a mention: butterflies, grasshoppers, crickets, locusts, bees, etc. with
their essential role in the ecological balance.
The vegetation of Etna Park is characterized by a series of factors,
first of all the volcanic nature of the mountain. The Park flora is extremely
rich and varied, and shapes the landscape with its continuous changes. This
depends on the compactness of the soil and the continous changes in the
substrate due to different lava flows, as well as on the variability of the
temperature and rainfall in relation to altitude and slopes. In the lower areas,
once characterized by holm oak forests, there are vineyards, hazelnut tree
groves, oak forests, apple and chestnut tree orchards. At 2,000m asl or even
higher, it is possible to find the beech tree, reaching in Sicily its southernmost
distribution limit, and the birch, considered by most of the authors an
Beyond the woodlands, the landscape changes and gives way to astragalus
formations offering shelter to other mountain plants, like senecio, violets, and
cerastium. Beyond the limit of astragalus, between 2,450 and 3,000m asl,
there are a very few elements able to survive in the harsh environmental
conditions of Mt. Etna. Beyond this level and up to the summit, no vegetable
species can survive.
Alcantara River Park
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The first evidences of human settlements in the valley date bake to the
late Copper Age/beginning of the Ancient Bronze Age (necropolis in Marca).
After the arrival of the Greeks in Naxos in 735 BC, the Sicilians were forced
to look for shelter in the hinterland: some time after the area of Francavilla
housed a Calcidese colony, of which we know the rich sanctuary of Demetra
and Kore (6th century BC).
The 48 km of river Alcantara, developing among Nebrodi, Etna, and
Peloritani Mountains, are characterized by river or torrent environments,
mesoxerophilous vegetation, and rural areas.
Semi-submerged hydrophytic plants
Citrus tree area (lower-medium valley)
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The morphological differences characterizing the river environment
allow different animal species to populate it. In the mountain area, near the
spring and at the confluence with Nebrodi Park, it is not rare to sight brids of
prey reaching the Alcantara in search of food.
The naturalistic, historical, and artistic heritage of the area is of
considerable importance. In a context characterized by harsh mountains
facing the Sicilian sea, the human signs still represent the evidence of a
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millenary presence (Prehistory) which in some cases has been handed down
in current activities. The territory is scattered with several religious buildings,
monasteries, hermitages, and churches, often isolated on the top of the
mountains. Along the watercourses you will find abandoned mills which,
together with the old farmsteads (the so-called "masserie") often built on the
more ancient ruins of Roman farmhouses, witness the ability of a culture to
live in symbiosis with nature.
In the Madonie there are the most ancient rocks of Sicily, dating back
to the Triassic period. The several fossils of lamellibranchs, algae, and
sponges found in the calcareous areas of the mountain chain are an evidence
of it. The highest and most spectacular peaks of the chain are: Pizzo
Carbonara (1,979m), Monte San Salvatore (1,912m), Monte Ferro (1,906m),
Monte Ouacella (1,869m), Monte dei Cervi (1,656m). Although they are part
of the same complex, each of them has a different aspect. Gentle or harsh,
covered in vegetation or bare, they are scattered over the territory shaping
valleys, plateaus, cliffs, and gentle hills. In the Madonie - which cover only
the 2% of the surface of the island, there are more than a half of the Sicilian
vegetable species, among which endemic species.
The area of the Madonie with its geomorphological and climatic
features leads to the identification of three different areas: the coastal strip of
the northern slope, protected by the African winds and covered by thick
woods, centuries-old olive groves, cork tree woods, chestnut tree woods, ash
trees, oak woods made of Downy oak and the holly nuclei of Piano Pomo. On
the contrary, the large mountain chain preserves the woods of ilex and beech
trees, and is characterized by several endemic species, among which Abies
Nebrodensis, a relict of ancient glaciation. The southern and sunny slope,
bare or luxuriant and mild in the changing succession of the seasons is "The
aspect of real Sicily; however, it is also a gentle series of mountain and hilly
slopes cultivated with wheat and barley.
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It is impossible to make an exhaustive list of the mammals, birds,
reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates populating this territory. Some data
can however give an idea of the value of this heritage - both as far as quantity
and quality are concerned. Madonie house all the mammal species living in
Sicily, about the 70% of the nesting birds, and about the 60% of the
invertebrates of the island. Among them, there are several endemic, rare, and
If you enter Madonie Park and reach its central area, you can grasp
landscape features linked to the local vegetation, rich and diversified, also
considering the extension and orographic articulation of the territory which
includes altitudes going from a few meters above sea level to altitudes
reaching the 2,000m. A crossroads for botanists and researchers, Madonie
Park is the cradle of a vegetal variety unique in the world. This aspect
characterizes a mountain chain including an area which is considered a "real
botanic barden in the middle of the Mediterranean".
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Nebrodi Mountains, together with Madonie in the west and Peloritani
in the east, form Appennino siculo (Sicilian Apennines). They face in the
north the Tyrrheanian Sea, while their southern border is marked by the Etna,
in particular by the river Alcantara and by the high course of the Simeto. The
main elements characterizing the natural landscape of Nebrodi are the
asymmetry of each slope, the different shaping of the relief, the very rich
vegetation, and the wetlands. The essential peculiarity of the orographic
situation is the gentleness of the relief deriving from the presence of wide
banks of clayey-arenaceous rocks: the peaks, reaching with Mt. Soro the
maximum height of 1,847 meters a.s.l., have rounded slopes and open in wide
valleys crossed by many rivers flowing into the Tyrrheanian Sea. Where the
limestone prevail, the landscape presents dolomitic aspects, with irregular
profiles and harsh forms with many fissures. It is the case of Monte
San Fratello and, above all, Rocche del Crasto (1,315 meters a.s.l).
Finally, it is important to underline the widespread process of progressive
acculturation of the Park's territory, which led throughout the centuries to the
transformation of Nebrodi from a natural to a cultural landscape.
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Further information (Italian text)
Maulazzo Lake Wild peony (Paeonia mascula)
The Arabians defined the Nebrodi as "an island within the island": the
reason will become clear to the visitor the first time he/she will set about a
visit to this surprising territory: its richness in charming woods, high
mountain green pastures, silent lakes, and flowing streams clashes with the
more common image of a dry and sunburnt Sicily. If you leave the coast and
you climb the mountains, it is possible to immediately recognize precise
vegetational levels depending not only on the altitude distribution but also on
the singular physical factors that, together with temperature and abundant
rain and snow, determine favorable ecological conditions. The Mediterranean
level (from the sea-level up to 600-800 meters) is characterized by the typical
evergreen Mediterranean maquis, where the Spurge, the Myrtle, the Lentisk,
and the Broom dominate and where you can find narrow leaf arboreal
elements like the Strawberry Tree, the Cork Oak and the Ilex. The cork
plantation (interesting formations can be mainly found in the territory of
Caronia) is present in its original state when the climate and the soil are
favorable; however, it mainly appears together with other species like the Ilex
and the Downy oak with a thick underwood.
Above the 800 meters of height and up to the 1,200-1,400 meters
a.s.l., there is the supramediterranean level, where the deciduous oaks grow.
Among the several species, we quote the widespread Downy oak, Sessile
oak, Quercus gussonei, which form more or less large groups depending on
the geological substrata and the exposure of the slopes. The Turkey oak is
also widespread; it dominates in the coolest areas, especially with a north
Above the 1,200-1,400 meters of height, on the mountain-Mediterranean
level, there are the beech woods, marvellous wood formations covering the
whole ridge of Nebrodi for more than 10,000 hectares and characterizing
environments of great value for their naturalistic aspects and their landscape.
At the highest altitudes, the Beech is almost the only one growing species:
only some rare specimens of Sycamore maple, Maple, and Ash tree are
present. Among the species of the undergrowth there are the Holly, the
Butcher's-broom, the Hawthorn, the Daphne, and the Yew, a relict species
surviving in very localized microclimatic conditions.
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If in the past they were the kingdom of yearlings, (as well as of fallow
deer, bears, and roe deer), Nebrodi (whose name derives from the Greek
nebros, meaning yearling) still are the richest part of Sicily in fauna, despite
the progressive environmental impoverishment. The last wolves were killed
at the end of the 1920s and the bearded vultures, which flew above Rocche
del Crasto, disappeared at the beginning of the 60s because of the poisoned
bites scattered over the territory to kill foxes. Thanks to its great
environmental variety, Nebrodi Park houses rich and complex wildlife
communities: there are several small mammals, reptiles and amphibians,
many species of nesting and migratory birds, a huge number of invertebrates.
The first group includes the Porcupine (Hystrix cristata), the Wildcat (Felis
sylvestris), and the Marten (Martes martes), all very rare species; among the
reptiles there are the Hermann's tortoise (Testudo hermanni) and in particular,
the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis); finally, the amphibians include
the Painted frog (Discoglossus pictus) and the Edible frog (Rana esculenta).
In the Nebrodi, about 150 species of birds have been classified; among them
there are some very interesting endemic species, like the Sicilian Marsh tit
(Parus palustris siculus) and the Sicilian Long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus
siculus). The open areas at the edge of the woods are populated by many
birds of prey, like the Buzzard (Buteo buteo), the Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus),
the Lanner (Falco biarmicus), the Red kite (Milvus milvus), and the Peregrine
(Falco peregrinus), while the harsh rocky areas rich in fissures of Rocche del
Crasto are the kingdom of the Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). The Little
grebe (Podiceps ruficollis), the Coot (Fulica atra), the Grey wagtail
(Motacilla cinerea), the Dipper (Cinclus cinclus), and the Kingfisher (Alcedo
atthis) prefer the wetlands, while in the pasture zones it is not difficult to
sight the rare Sicilian Rock partridge (Alectoris graeca whitakeri), the
unmistakable erectile tuft of the Hoopoe (Upupa epops), and the powerful
flight of the Raven (Corvus corax). Among the migratory avifauna, the
Black-winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus) and the Grey heron (Ardea
cinerea) are worth a mention. The invertebrate fauna is very rich. Recent
researches have led to surprising results: out of the 600 registered species
concerning a small part of the existing fauna, 100 are new in Sicily, 25 are
new in Italy, and 22 are new to science. Among the most relevant forms from
the point of view of the landscape, butterflies (over 70 species) and Carabids
(over 120 species) are worth a mention.
Moreover, within the territory of the Park there are many specimens
of Sanfratellano horses; native to these mountains, they are a precious breed
for their characteristic features and their limited number.
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It is the horse of Nebrodi, which has become the object of important
scientific studies in the last decades and more and more relevant among the
NATIONAL PARKS OF ROMANIA
Romania is situated in the southeastern part of Central Europe and
shares borders with Hungary to the northwest, Serbia to the southwest,
Bulgaria to the south, the Black Sea to the southeast, Ukraine to the east and
to the north and the Republic of Moldova to the east.
Located halfway between the Equator and the North Pole, Romania is
the 12th largest country in Europe having a population of about 20 million
Romania’s terrain is almost evenly divided between mountains, hills
and plains.Romania's territory features splendid mountains, beautiful rolling
hills, fertile plains and numerous rivers and lakes. The Carpathian Mountains
traverse the centre of the country bordered on both sides by foothills and
finally the great plains of the outer rim. Forests cover over one quarter of the
country and the fauna is one of the richest in Europe including bears, deer,
lynx, chamois and wolves. The legendary Danube River ends its eight-
country journey at the Black Sea, after forming one of the largest and most
biodiverse wetlands in the world, the Danube Delta.
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About a third of the country consists of the Carpathian Mountains
(also known as the Transylvanian Alps). Another third is hills and plateaus,
rich with orchards and vineyards. The final third is a fertile plain, largely
devoted to agriculture.
Although not as high as the Alps, the Carpathian Mountains extend
over 600 miles in Romania, in the shape of an arch. They are divided into
three major ranges: the Eastern (Oriental) Carpathians, the Southern
Carpathians (also known as the Transylvanian Alps), and the Western
Carpathians. Each of these ranges feature a variety of landscapes, due to the
different types of terrain (glacial, karstic, structural, and volcanic).
98% of the Romania’s rivers spring from the Carpathian Mountains.
The upper streams are usually more spectacular, featuring numerous gorges,
caves and precipices. The main rivers in Romania are Mures (473 miles on
Romania's territory), Prut (461 miles on Romania's territory), Olt (382 miles),
Siret (347 miles on Romania's territory), Ialomita (259 miles), Somes (233
miles on Romania's territory) and Arges (217 miles). In the east, river waters
are collected by Siret and Prut rivers. In the south, waters flow directly into
the Danube and in the west most of them are collected by Tisa River.
Europe’s second longest river, the Danube, flows through southern
Romania forming part of the country’s frontier with Serbia, Bulgaria and
Ukraine. Its blue waters run along 621 miles, from Bazias to the Black Sea.
Virtually all of the country's rivers are tributaries to the Danube, either
directly or indirectly.
There are around 3,500 lakes in Romania, most of them small or
The largest are the lagoons and coastal lakes on the Black Sea shore, such as
Razim (164 sq. miles) and Sinoe (66 sq. miles), or lakes along the Danube
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bank - Oltina (8.5 sq. miles); Brates (8.1 sq. miles).Formed at the end of the
last Ice Age, the glacial lakes in the Carpathian Mountains are small, but
spectacular. Worth mentioning are the glacial lakes in the Retezat Mountains:
Zanoaga, the deepest lake in the country (95 feet) and Bucura, the largest
(24.7 acres) as well as the lakes located in the Transylvanian Alps (Balea,
Capra, Caltun, Podragu).Lake St. Ana, located in Ciomatu Mare Massif, near
Tusnad is the only volcanic lake in Romania, sheltered in a perfectly
preserved crater and surrounded by vast fir-tree forests. The lake is solely fed
by rain. Therefore, its waters are nearly as pure as distilled water. The Red
Lake (elevation 3,215 feet), located in the Hasmas Massif, near Bicaz
Gorges, is unique in shape and landscape. It is a natural dam lake created in
1837 after a major landslide. The name “Lacul Rosu” (Red Lake) comes from
the reddish alluvia deposited by its main tributary.
Danube River ends its journey of almost 1864 miles through Europe
in south-eastern Romania. Here the river divides into 3 frayed branches
(Chilia, Sulina, Sfântu Gheorghe) forming the Danube Delta. It is the newest
land in the country, with beaches expanding almost 65 feet into the sea every
year. Overall, the delta is a triangular swampy area of marshes, floating reed
islands and sandbanks. It is a UNESCO Biosphere Reservation as well as a
protected wetland and natural habitat for rare species of plants and animals.
The Romanian Black Sea Coast stretches a little over 150 miles.
The Black Sea is a continental sea, with a low tide and salinity and water
temperatures of 77 - 79˚F in the summertime. Its wide, sandy beaches facing
east and south-east become a major tourist attraction from May until
Due to its varied terrain and climate Romania has a diverse flora and
Over 3,700 species of plants and 33,792 species of animals can be found in
Romania. Oak, beech, elm, ash, maple and linden made up 71 percent of
Romania’s forests while conifers (fir, spruce, pine and larch) account for the
remaining 29 percent.
The mighty Danube River flows 1,788 miles from its springs in
Germany’s Black Forest to the Black Sea. Just before reaching the sea it
forms the second largest and best preserved of Europe's deltas: 2,200 square
miles of rivers, canals, marshes, tree-fringed lakes and reed islands. The
Danube Delta is a wildlife enthusiast’s (especially a bird watcher’s) paradise.
The Danube Delta is comprised of an intricate network of waterways
and lakes divided between the three main estuary channels of the Danube.
This area of floating reed islands, forests, pastures and sand dunes covers
3,000 square miles and is home to a fascinating mix of cultures and people as
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well as a vast array of wildlife. Located at the tip of the three channels,
Tulcea makes a great starting point for exploring the Danube Delta.
Romania’s national and natural parks, displaying a unique variety of
landscapes, vegetation and wildlife, protect some of the largest remaining
areas of pristine forest in Europe. Grasslands, gorges, subterranean caves,
volcanic lakes, and extensive river network add to the richness of the park
system that also includes the Danube Delta, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
and Europe’s largest wetland.The maze of canals bordered by thatch, willows
and oaks entangled in lianas, offers the perfect breeding ground for countless
species of birds, some of them from as far away as China and Africa.
Millions of Egyptian white pelicans arrive here every spring to raise their
young, while equal numbers of Arctic geese come here to escape the harsh
winters of Northern Europe.
Some 300 species of birds make Danube’s Delta their home, including
cormorants, white tailed eagles and glossy ibises. The bird watching season
lasts from early spring to late summer. Birds are not the only inhabitants of
the Delta. There is also a rich community of fish and animals; from wildcats,
foxes and wolves, to even an occasional boar or deer. Altogether, 3,450
animal species can be seen here, as well as 1,700 plant species.
Formed over a period of more than 10,000 years, the Danube Delta
continues to grow due to the 67 million tons of alluvia deposited every year
by the Danube River. The Delta is formed around the three main channels of
the Danube, named after their respective ports: Chilia (in the north), Sulina
(in the middle), and Sfantu Gheorghe (in the south).The Danube Delta
Biosphere Reserve has the third largest biodiversity in the world (over 5,500
flora and fauna species), exceeded only by the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
and the Galapagos Archipelago in Ecuador.
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The Danube Delta is home to over 60% of the world’s population of
pygmy cormorants (phalacrocorax pygmeus), 50% of red-breasted geese
(branta ruficollis) and the largest number of white pelicans (pelecanus
onocrotalus) and Dalmatian pelicans (pelecanus crispus) in Europe.It also is
home to the world’s largest reed bed expanse– 625, 000 acres / 240,000 ha.
Some 15,000 people inhabit the Delta area, living in 28 villages and one city
(Sulina). The area was first attested by Herodot of Halicarnas (484 – 425
B.C.). More then half of the Delta Biosphere Reserve is virtually intact.
National parks encompass extensive areas of particular geographical
interest or outstanding natural beauty. They have an important conservation
role and offer protection to many rare species of animals and plants. In
addition to nature conservation, Romania’s natural parks also play an
important role in preserving local customs, traditional crafts, historical
settlement patterns, and regional architecture.
Most of Romania’s national parks have arrangements for outdoor
activities with a network of marked paths and trails and overnight
accommodation in either staffed lodges or local guesthouses. In vulnerable
areas where it is desirable to limit the impact of visitors, paths and
accommodation are minimal.
Cheile Bicazului (Bicazului Gorges) – Hasmas
Domogled – Valea Cernei (Cerna Valley)
Muntii Macin (Macin Mountains)
Cheile Nerei (Nerei Gorges) – Beusnita
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Muntii Rodnei (Rodnei Mountains)
Cheile Semenic - Carasului (Semenic – Carasului Gorges)
Balta Mica a Brailei (Small Moor of Braila)
Muntii Maramuresului (Maramures Mountains)
Portile de Fier (Iron Gates)
Romania's natural areas captured scientific attention early in the 20th
century. The first law on environment protection was passed in 1930; the first
forest reservation (Domogled-Baile Herculane) was set up in 1932, the first
National Park (Retezat) in 1935 and the first geological reservation (Detunata
Goala - Apuseni Mountains) was recognized in 1938.
Piatra Craiului Natural Park features the longest and highest
limestone ridge in the country (over 15 miles long and 6560 ft. high).
Bordered by glacial lakes, the ridge is regarded as one of the most beautiful
sights in the Carpathians. The two-day north–south ridge trail is both
challenging and rewarding. Starting at either Plaiul Foii in the northwest
or Curmatura in the northeast, hikers climb up to the ridge along the narrow
spine of the range. The descent at the southern end leads into a karst
landscape of deep gorges and pitted slopes where water penetrating the rock
has carved a series of caves. Sheltering one of the largest biodiversity of
wildlife in the country, the national park is home to about 300 fungi species,
220 lichen species, 100 different mosses, and 1100 species of superior plants
(a third of the number of all plant species found in Romania). On the high
cliffs there are chamois, wild boar, red and roe deer, pine martens and red
squirrels. Some 270 butterflies species, 110 birds species, 17 bats species,
many large carnivores (wolfs, brown bears, lynx) can be observed in the park.
The gorges are a good place to see wallcreepers and alpine swifts, three-toed
and white-backed woodpeckers and Ural owls in the forested areas.
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Hiking in Retezat National Park you may well lose your breath, not
from the climb, but from the breathtaking views of nature at her wildest.
Peaks of differing heights, many topping the 8,028 ft. mark (such as Peleaga
Peak), provide hikers with plenty of challenges. Local communities and
cultural sights from around the park area add a special value to that of the
landscape and the biodiversity inside the park. Wildlife enthusiasts will find
here many species of animals, including chamois, red and roe deer, wild boar,
bear, wolf, and fox, and may come across lynx tracks. Otters find themselves
at home in the park's rivers. Chaffinch, song thrush, ring ouzel, red-breasted
flycatcher, chiffchaff, nutcracker and the rare golden eagle, leaser spotted
eagle, eagle owl, pigmy owl, crag martin, scarlet rosefinch, three toed
woodpecker, horned lark are among the 120 nesting bird species of Retezat.
Retezat National Park was included in the Important Bird Areas
Network. Butterflies are abundant in Retezat, in number and species, and
specialists designated two Prime Butterfly Areas here.
CEAHLĂU NATIONAL PARK
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Surrounded by watercourses and dam lakes, Ceahlau Mountain, the
Olympus of Romania, displays an incredible concentration of flora - over
2,000 flower species, and wildlife. Fossil limestone, the rock formations
Dochia, Cusma Dorobantului, and the Duruitoarea waterfall are just some of
the main attractions in the park. The park is bounded to the east by the
Bistrita River and Lake Bicaz, and to the south by the Bicaz River.
Some of the most exciting Romanian legends refer to the strange
stone shapes spread around the peaks in the park. The Dochia rock
formations are said to represent a mean old woman ("baba") who came on
Ceahlau to feed her sheep. Deceived by the sunny days of early spring, she
took off, one by one, all her nine-sheepskin waistcoats. When the frost came,
it turned both her and her animals into ice, which over the years transformed
into the stones we see now. ver 90 species of birds can be seen in the Ceahlau
National Park. The capercaillie (Tetrao urogalus), the biggest among the
birds in the park, can be seen in Piciorul Schiop and Poiana Maicilor, during
the mating period in April. With a little luck you can also spot in the same
area: the three clawed wod-pecker (Picoides tridactylus) a glacial relict, and
the wall creeper (Tichodorma muraria). The raven (Corvus corax) usually
builds its nest in the high areas of the mountain.
Among the rare birds nesting in the park are the cliff butterfly (a bird
that could be found also in Cheile Sugaului and in Cheile Bicazului), the
aquila (Aquila chrysaeltus) and the mountain cock (cocosul de munte).
The park is also home to the black goat (Rupicapra rupicapra), which
has been colonized here, the lynx (Lynx lynx), the wolf (Canis lupus), the fox
(Canis vulpes), the brown bear (Ursus arctos) and the pine marten (Martes
martes). The elk (Cervus elaphus var. carpathicus) - monument of nature and
the most valuable species of Ceahlau - can be admired in: Izvorul Alb, Poiana
Maicilor, and Izvoarele Bistrei Mari.
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CĂLIMANI NATIONAL PARK
Massive eruptive rocks and craters of old volcanoes in the Calimani
National Park (Parcul National Calimani) are spawned over breathtaking
landscapes, matched by the presence of large areas of natural ecosystems and
the abundance of Swiss stone pine and juniper trees.
The Calimani Mountains features the
highest massif in the Romanian volcanic chain, the Pietrosu Peak (standing at
The natural erosion process in the volcanic plateau has led to the
formation of the unusual shaped12 Apostles (Cei 12 Apostoli), Red
Stones (Pietrele Rosii) andNefertiti geological reserves. For those interested
in botany, Calimani National Park makes it possible to observe 774 species of
plants, many of them marked as rare: alpine leek (Allium victorialis),
narcissus anemone (Anemone narcissifolia), and mountains soldanella
(Soldanella Montana). In juniper tree forests or on soils of volcanic nature,
the rose bay (Rhododendron myrtifolium) is frequently encountered.
Calimani National Park is home to several endangered species,such
as: the bear (Ursus arctos), the elk (cervus elaphus), the wild boar (sus
scrofa), the roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), the wolf (Canis lupus), the tree
marten (Martes martes) and the lynx (Lynx lynx). The cedar forest and
juniper trees area on the western slope of the Calimani Mountain is home to
the black grouse (Tetrao tetrix), a very rare species in Romania.
Carbon footprint, global warming, deforestation are threats to the
Earth's environment. When a region loses its biodiversity, it becomes more
vulnerable to other environmental elements.Deforestation disrupts the natural
balance of ecological systems in the area where the trees have been harvested
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and far beyond. Food production can be impacted due to drought and erosion
directly linked to the loss of forests.
Chemicals and chlorofluorocarbons pollutants are created by industry
and agriculture. They have a negative impact the ozone layer. The lack of
strict enforcement of laws to prevent the use of such pollutants compounds
the situation. World governments that continue to allow various pollutants
into the environment impede the recovery of the ozone layer.
Acid rain is created by excessive sulfuric and nitric acid being
pumped into the atmosphere, rivers, oceans, and land. While some acid rain
is the byproduct of the natural processes of decaying vegetation and volcanic
activity, the current crisis comes directly from the burning of fossil fuels.
Water becomes toxic when acid rain imbues the oceans or lakes with an
absorption quality that cause the water to absorb soil-based aluminum and
poisons the aquatic plant and marine life.
The oceans' eco-systems are dependent upon the natural process of
organic ocean matter known as phytoplankton, which is found on ocean
surfaces. This eventually breaks down and filters to the bottom of the ocean
floor where it's broken down further by ocean floor bacteria. This process is
called bacterial respiration.When too much nitrogen feeds the phytoplankton,
like any fertilized crop, it begins to overproduce. The bacteria are unable to
break down the plankton fast enough and the chemical processes that convert
carbon dioxide into oxygen can't keep up. The oxygen is used up quicker than
it can be produced. The plankton chokes out the flow of water and oxygen so
that marine and plant life die from the lack of oxygen.
An alarming rate of species extinction is happening worldwide. As of
2010, the rate of loss is estimated to be more than 1,000 times the normal
rate. Greater preservation tactics and strategies are needed with laws put into
place to protect species. Once more, manmade pollution is the culprit along
with land encroachment by developers. Both causes are created by consumer
demands as people branch out into areas that were once remote habitats for
various species.More and more animals and other forms of wildlife are being
added to the endangered species list each year. It makes sense to become
better land stewards, instead of encroaching on forests and wetlands.
A growing world population might seem like an obvious threat to the
environment that goes far beyond the debatable theory of global warming.
The bigger threat is far more complex and directly linked not to the
controversial idea of a carbon footprint, but to the unique system of supply
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Consumers place more and more demands on the earth's natural
resources as the population increases year after year. These demands leave
pollution and waste in the wake of human daily activity. Compound this with
each world government doing its own brand of commerce, many without
environmental consciences, and you get the formula for environmental chaos
A prime example of higher consumption demands can be found in the
fishery industry, where the world's marine life is being harvested with few to
no renewable methods in place. Consumers are also responsible via industry
for hundreds of hazardous chemicals used in the production of various
products. Heavy metals continue to contaminate land, water and air.
The power of a consumer can be mighty when each person in the
world realizes that action can be taken and changes made by carefully
choosing how consumer money is spent.
Conclusions on environmental protection
Environmental protection is influenced by three interwoven factors:
environmental legislation, ethics and education. Each of these factors plays
its part in influencing national-level environmental decisions and personal-
level environmental values and behaviors. For environmental protection to
become a reality, it is important for societies to develop each of these areas
that, together, will inform and drive environmental decisions.
Clearly the responsibility for protecting the environment rests with the
individual. For example, you may choose recycled products and recycle the
products you no longer want or use organic cleaning products and buy other
organic items as much as possible. Be careful with the amount of electricity
that you use in your home and work place! Shop locally and try not to have
items shipped from long distances. There are many more things that each
person can do to limit the amount of air pollution they create. Making a few
small changes every month can result in a cleaner environment over a long
period of time. At the very least, you will know that you are doing your part.
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WW ZZPPOO WW WWOOLLII FFIILLIIPPOOWWSSKKIIEEJJ
NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKKSS OOFF PPOOLLAANNDD
Poland is among the most diverse European countries in respect of its nature.
From the Baltic coastline in the north through the lake district, lowlands and
highlands to mountain ranges in the south one can find areas of dominant
wild life. Many such places, like the Białowieża National Park or Biebrza
National Park, are natural gems of Europe and of the world. The most
valuable areas are subject to national park protection. Poland lists twenty
three national parks. All of them are accessible for tourists and their tourist
infrastructure is of very good quality.
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TTHHEE BBAABBIIAA GGÓÓRRAA NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
The Babia Góra National Park is located in
Beskid Żywiecki, about 90 kilometres to the
south-west of Cracow. Babia Góra National
Park is a mountain park with the highest summit
being Babia Góra (1725 meters above sea level).
One of the reasons of creation of the National Park in 1954 was a model
layout of plant layers. In this respect, Babia Góra is a model mountain,
perfect for mountain studies. When climbing to the top of Babia Góra, in
short time we can see all plant layers well-known from geography classes:
from arable land, through beech forests, beech and spruce forests, and with
increased height only spruce forest, which is later replaced by dwarf
mountain pine. The top belt is the alpine layer with scree formations, slightly
decorated with grasslands and lichen. The landscape is great especially in the
transitional zone between the forest and dwarf mountain pine. In winter,
hundreds of dwarf spruce trees covered with a thick layer of hoar frost and
snow create an unforgettable landscape of snow sculpture galleries.
The animal world of Babia Góra is very rich. As far as large mammals are
concerned, you can encounter bears, which, together with lynx, like
especially the southern slopes. Wolves, deer, foxes and badgers also live in
the forests. Among birds, a special attention should be paid to the
capercaillie, almost extinct species. The capercaillie is a bird from
Galliformes order also known as the “wood grouse”. There are more than 120
bird species in the Babia Góra National Park as: black grouse, owls and rare
The climate of the Babia Góra National Park is rough. There are often
unexpected weather changes. It is necessary to always remember about it
when going hiking in the mountains. Snow appears in October and stays until
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May. There is often an avalanche risk on northern slopes; that is why
northern tourist route (the “academic” route) is closed in the winter.
An interesting hydrological fact about the mountain is the watershed of Baltic
Sea and Black Sea basins crossing the ridge of Babia Góra. That means that a
rain drop falling on the northern slopes of the mountain goes to the Baltic
Sea, while falling on southern slopes, starts its descent to the Black Sea.
Thanks to the special natural values of the Babia Góra mountain range, this
National Park acquired the status of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1977.
TTHHEE BBIIAAŁŁOOWWIIEEŻŻAA NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
If somebody wants to see a forest the way
it was hundreds years ago, they have to
visit Białowieża Forest. A visit to
Białowieża is a journey to the past when
Europe was covered with impenetrable
Białowieża Forest is the last primary compact forest complex. It is one of the
most important natural treasures not only in Poland, but also in Europe.
Therefore, in 1979 Białowieża Forest was included in the UNESCO World
The Forest is located approx. 260 km to the east of Warsaw and approx. 70
km to the south-west of Białystok. Its most precious parts are protected
within Białowieża National Park. The forest is inhabited by a wide variety of
species, some of which grow to unusual sizes. The predominant forest types
are: a broadleaved and coniferous forests, and in humid locations, alder
swamp forests and riparian forests. A typical element of the forest landscape
is a large number of old fallen tree trunks. The forest landscape is formed
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best in a separated part of the National Park, to which the access is possible
only when accompanied by a licensed guide. Visiting Orłówka is a must
during each trip to Białowieża.
European bison is the symbol of Białowieża Forest. This biggest wild animal
in Europe is a close cousin of the American bison. The area of Białowieża
Forest is inhabited by a live few hundred of bison, gathering in smaller or
larger herds. It is called “the King of the Forest”, is a huge and dignified
animal and meeting it is always an important experience for a nature admirer.
A part of the National Park is a separate show reserve presenting European
bison. The show reserve is located near Białowieża by the road towards
Hajnówka. It is worth to visit the show reserve to closely observe the animals
which are very difficult to meet in the forest. Apart from the bison, you can
see wolves, elks, deer, and wild boars there. Another interesting animal
which you can find there is called żubroń, a hybrid of domestic cattle and
European bison. A visit in the show reserve may be advised to guests who do
not have much time for individual walks and would like to see the King of
the Forest with their own eyes.
TTHHEE BBIIEEBBRRZZAA NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
The Biebrza National Park is located in
northeast Poland, between Łomża and
Augustów. A protective area covers almost the
entire Biebrza River, together with the valley
from the source down to the mouth of the Narew
Biebrza Valley is a very important stopping place for birds during their
annual travel, and a location of nesting for many marsh bird species. Flora
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admirers can find protected rare plant species there, including 20 species of
orchid. Those who like to get up before sunrise should see an incredible
spectacle of the nature waking up – delicate fog wisps, clanging of cranes,
squawking of snipe and elk sighting. For those who prefer to sleep in the
morning, the nature begins its next spectacle several hours later when
predatory birds start hunting.
Ornithologists from all over the world visit the Biebrza National Park. Here,
they meet, exchange experience, together observe and discuss birds chirping
in the bushes. Bent over telescopes, they point out strange Latin names such
as: Acrocephalus paludicola, Picus canus, Numenius arquata or Cirrus
aeruginosus. Yet, before an ordinary tourist reaches such a level of expertise,
they are enchanted by huge, endless space of the Biebrza National Park. The
civilization accustomed us to a landscape which seems safe – you can see
almost always a house, a fence, a chimney or at least a pole nearby.
Meanwhile, you cannot find things like that here! As far as you can see –
only flat plain stretching to the horizon. At beginning it seems strange and
unnatural. Then, you can compare it to a prairie, a savannah, but these are
actually marshes and peat bogs spreading for dozens of vast kilometres. The
Biebrza National Park is the biggest national park in Poland, and one of the
biggest in Europe. It has almost 100 kilometres in a straight line, that is more
than Luxembourg from its north to south.
Additional attractions: An unconquered Russian fort in Osowiec.
TTHHEE BBIIEESSZZCCZZAADDYY NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
The Bieszczady Mountains are one of the most
interesting regions in Poland when it comes to the
natural environment. Located far from civilization,
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at the southeast end of Poland, they still maintained their natural charm.
They are a cult location, a must see for every tourist who admires wild
nature, quiet and open stretches of land. Bieszczady forests are inhabited by
wolves, bears, European bisons and deer. You can meet a rare golden eagle
there. The Bieszczady National Park covers a significant part of the
It has a unique landscape. The scenery is mountain and gentle at the same
time. The most characteristic element of this region are mountain pastures –
extensive meadows located in the top parts of the mountains. Thanks to the
mountain pastures, hiking in Bieszczady is easy and provides a tourist with
an incredibly attractive view. Panoramas are visible for dozens of kilometers.
In autumn, the pastures become golden. They look like prairies on a
mountain peaks. A long-hour hiking will be rewarded with a sip of żentyca (a
local drink made of fermented sheep milk whey) and a piece of sheep’s milk
cheese you can try in a shepherd’s hut. Bieszczady Mountains embody the
atmosphere of the past. In the second half of the 19th century there was “the
oil rush” in Bieszczady. Here is the first-ever oil extraction site in Bóbrka,
here worked Ignacy Łukasiewicz, the inventor of the kerosene lamp. The
atmosphere of the past is created by the shepherd communities. Sheep and
shepherds are an inherent element of this landscape. This is supplemented
with smoking retorts where charcoal is being produced. Wooden architecture
of Bieszczady’s Orthodox churches is also really impressive, and remnants of
Lemkos villages stand as a proof of the difficult war times that Bieszczady
encountered. The ride in a famous Bieszczady’s narrow-gauge steam train is
a big tourist attraction.
TTHHEE AARREEAA OOFF DDRRAAWWAA NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
The area of Drawa National Park and its
neighbourhood lies in the a plain called Równina
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Drawska, which is a fragment of the lake district Pojezierze
Południowopomorskie, in the north-western part of Poland. It encompasses
for the central part of a forest complex called Drawa Wilderness (Puszcza
The DNP represents a landscape of early-glacial outwash plains. It lies
entirely within the reception basin of Drawa River, which – along with its
tributary Płociczna – constitute for its main hydrographic axis. Both these
rivers run through a wide lane of outwashes that originated from the sands
left by a melting glacier’s waters running down to the Toruń-Eberswald
postglacial stream valley. All activities performed within the DNP borders
have to conform to the rules of nature preservation.
The main function of the DNP is to observe the natural biotope and evaluate
the current state of natural processes, surface and subterranean waters,
climate, and other aspects of the inanimate nature. Based on those
observations, we can forecast the direction and pace of ecosystem changes,
and the reaction of live organisms to those changes.
The Park area is directly related to the Drawa reception basin of 567km². The
rapid currents of these rivers have sculpted many attractive canyons and
ravines wedged into the outwash plain, some close to 30 metres deep and
overgrown with diverse standing timber. In those valleys take place the most
crucial land-shaping processes: the river current is causing, on one side, spot
erosion of the valley slopes, and on the other – accumulation of river residues
on the dry ground forests on the drainage terraces.
The Drawa Wilderness, presently a dense forest complex, only 100 years ago
used to be a mosaic of woods, pastures, and fields. Its present-day landscape
has been shaped mainly by the traditional local economy, especially the
forestry, of which some elements are now the relics of past human activities.
Presently, the DNP stands out for its diversity of ecosystems. There are 224
documented plant communities. The surface is dominated by forests (80% of
the total park area), mainly beech woods, alder-lined meadows and swamps,
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and patches of pine forests. Another characteristic element is peatbogs, along
with water and meadow ecosystems.
The lakes within the DNP are largely diversified by their trophicity, area, and
depth. Some of them stand out with their characteristic fauna and flora.
The Park’s fauna is represented by over 200 species of vertebrates, among
which the most numerous are birds. There also is an abundance of
invertebrates, among which one finds some uniquely valuable endangered
species. The crest animal of the DNP is the otter.
TTHHEE GGOORRCCEE NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
The Gorce National Park was established in 1981. It
includes the central and north-east parts of the
Gorce Range. The total cover of the GNP is 7,030
hectares and roughly a half of this area is under a
strict nature conservation regime. GNP protects not
only the Gorce Range’s nature but also a rich
The Carpathian forest is the most important treasure in the GNP. Lower
elevations are covered with mixed forest called the Carpathian Beech Forest.
It is only slightly affected by human activities in the past. The
highest elevations are occupied by sub-alpine spruce forests. The
forest dynamics is mostly of natural character – trees get old then
die giving place for new generations of woody vegetation.
The glades spread out among comprehensive forest cover enrich
the Gorce’s biodiversity and elevate its landscape values. The
glades along with regional Zagórze or Podhale type woody huts are remnants
of the traditional pastoral activities in this area.
A wandering lengthwise Gorce tourist trails is very attractive since one may
watch even other ranges, especially the Tatra Mountains.
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TTHHEE KKAAMMPPIINNOOSS NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
Only a few kilometres from the
administration border of Warsaw,
Kampinos National Park is probably the
only such big natural complex in the world
located in the “suburbs” of a two-million city.
Kampinos National Park protects remains of the former Mazowsze Forest. Its
landscape is dominated by two elements: marshes and neighbouring dunes.
Dunes in Kampinos are one of the best maintained inland dune complexes in
Europe. The dunes are covered with pine forest, and partially exposed.
Biggest exposure of the dunes, so called Grochalskie Piachy in the northern
part of the Park reminds more a desert than a landscape in Central Poland.
In the Park area, 22 reserves have been created, of which
the most famous and precious from the nature point of
view is Sieraków marsh reserve, surrounded by tourist
routes starting from Sieraków, Dziekanów Leśny and
Dąbrowa. The centre of the reserve is an extensive marsh
of Cichowąż, surrounded by sand dune hills. Isolation of
the reserve causes that it is a habitat of rare plant species and numerous
animal species. A plant curiosity is a small shrub – Leatherleaf
(Chamaedaphne calyculata) – a relic of ice age. In the reserve you can meet
elks, black storks and listen to clanging of very timid cranes.
In 1992, a programme of lynx reintroduction was started. Today, there are
approximately 10 lynx living in the wild. Elk is very numerous. There’s an
interesting curiosity – the thickest tree in Poland – a poplar with
circumference above 11 meters, growing in Leszno.
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Mazowsze Forest reach in wood has been well known and valued for a long
time. Here mast pines were cut down and floated by Vistula river to Gdańsk.
In 2000, Kampinos National Park was entered into UNESCO list as a
TTHHEE KKAARRKKOONNOOSSZZEE NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
Karkonosze, located 130 km southwest from
Wrocław, are the biggest mountain range in
the Sudetes. In the past it was known as
Gigant Mountains or Snowy Mountains.
First “tourists” here were Walloons,
legendary prospectors searching for
precious stones and minerals who came to Karkonosze in the 11th century.
They left after themselves mysterious castles on rocks and legends fascinating
modern enthusiasts of these mountains.
The Karkonosze National Park covers the main Karkonosze range from
Mumlawski Wierch on the west to Okraj mountain pass on the east. The
Park also includes two separate enclaves: Szklarka Waterfall and
Chojnik Mountain with a castle: The highest mountain in Karkonosze is
Śnieżka (1602 m above sea level) which can be reached by trail leading
from the chairlift to Kopa. On Śnieżka top there is Saint Lawrence
chapel (17th century), a meteorological observatory and a restaurant.
The Park landscape is very special, and this because of its direct
proximity of typical mountain forms and marshes. Extensive, plane top parts
with peat bogs and marshes are accompanied by steep rock walls of
postglacial cirques. The landscape is completed with mountain lakes and
rocks in unusual shapes, and names stimulating imagination, such as:
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Pilgrims, Horse Heads, Three Little Pigs, Raven Rocks... Near the Park
border, there is the highest waterfall in the Polish part of Karkonosze –
Kamieńczyk waterfall (27 m high), and in a separate Park enclave, Szklarka
waterfall – one of the most recognizable and picturesque waterfalls in Poland.
The biggest mammal living in Karkonosze is the Red
Deer. You can also find there roe deer, wild boars and
mouflons. The last animal is the wild mountain sheep,
brought on the European mainland from Sardinia and
Corsica. In Poland, a small number of those can be found in the Sudetes. The
climate of Karkonosze is cold. Average annual temperature at the main ridge
is from 2 to 4°C, and at Śnieżka mountain, 0°C.
In 1993, at the Polish and Czech side of Karkonosze UNESCO Bilateral
Biosphere Reserve was established.
TTHHEE MMAAGGUURRAA NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
Magura National Park is located in the
south of Poland, approx. 80 km east of
Nowy Sącz and 90 km south of Tarnów.
The Park covers a part of Low Beskids,
seemingly ordinary mountains. From the
name you can guess these are not very
high mountains. Gentle summits, wide valleys, Orthodox churches, remains
of Lemkos villages – they are the landscape of Beskids, where time stood still.
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The almost entire area of Magura National Park consists of beech,
fir and rarely sycamore forests, all in naturally preserved condition.
Large stretches of forest are a sanctuary for animals,
including many endangered species. There are 117
breeding bird species within the Park area.
Particularly numerous are birds of prey – especially
buzzard and lesser spotted eagle. The population density of Ural Owl is
probably the highest in Europe. The forests are inhabited by large mammals:
bears and wolves, on Magura Wątkowska: lynx and disappearing wildcats.
Roe deer, deer and wild boars are common animals there.
TTHHEE NNAARREEWW NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
Natural, almost virgin river system is one of
the biggest natural attractions in Poland. The
most interesting example of a wild lowland
river is Narew. From Suraż to Rzędziany, the
river creates a very complicated, branched
network of canals, channels and old river beds. Hydrologists classify Narew
as an anastomosing river. There are only several rivers of this type
worldwide, e.g. the Amazon River and the Congo River. In Europe, this river
type can be seen only here.
Narew National Park is located only 15 km from Białystok borders. The
National Park covers dozens of kilometres in the Narew valley between Suraż
and Rzędziany. The main reason to create a national park was a unique
character of the river which flows simultaneously in many channels.
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Narew river is the most beautiful in
early spring when strong turquoise
colour of water contrasts with warm
sandy colour of reeds. At this time,
Narew valley is one of the most
important stops for migrating
birds. The water labyrinth shelters thousands of breeding and
migratory birds. A symbol of Narew National Park is Western Marsh
harrier (predatory bird from Accipitridae family) whose number of
breeding couples is estimated at over 30. In spring, it's easy to watch
numerous ducks, seagulls, terns, ruffs, black-tailed godwits, peewits, snipes,
cranes and harriers. Of 203 bird species present in the Park, 28 is threatened
The biggest mammal in Narew Park is elk. By Narew you can also meet
beavers, muskrats, otters, badgers and foxes. In Narew National Park there
are over 20 protected plant species, e.g. early marsh orchid, heath spotted
orchid, Siberian iris, Dianthus superbus, round-leaved sundew.
TTHHEE OOJJCCOOWW NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
The smallest national park in Poland
located in a short distance from Cracow
city borders. It used to be called “Polish
Switzerland”. Although small in size – it's
over twenty times smaller than Biebrza
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National Park – it charms with its landscape – especially the iconic Maczuga
Herkulesa (Cudgel of Hercules) by the castle in Pieskowa Skała.
Ojców National Park is located around Prądnik Valley which traverses
limestone rocks of Cracow-Częstochowa Upland. Geological structure and
later karst processes led to development of numerous caves which had been
inhabited by people from time immemorial. The oldest traces discovered in
Jaskinia Ciemna (dark cave) are dated to 120 thousand years BC. Many
objects were found in Ojców caves such as: stone bifaces, knives, blades
made of mammoth tusks, decorated animal bones, stone tips and flint spears.
Many legends are connected with the caves in this area, and the most famous
is a legend on Władysław the Elbow-high. Apparently, when escaping from
Cracow from the Czech king army he sheltered in one of the caves. A huge
spider spun a web in the entry to the cave, thus stopping the pursuit. The
"spider trace" of the legend is even more interesting considering the fact that
Jaskinia Łokietka (Elbow-high Cave) is populated by meta menardi – the
most venomous spider living in Poland. Jaskinia Łokietka, similarly to
several other caves in this area is open to the visitors. When travelling a
winding road from Cracow, it's impossible to miss Maczuga Herkulesa
(Cudgel of Hercules) and the castle in Pieskowa Skała located behind it. In
nearby Ojców, there are ruins of another castle which gradually fell into ruin
since the “Swedish Deluge” (Swedish Invasion). An interesting attraction is a
chapel on water. Its construction is related to the order of the Russian Tsar
Nicholas II. The Tsar prohibited construction of religious buildings on Ojców
land. The constructors of the chapel circumvented the Tsar's prohibition and
built the chapel on water.
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TTHHEE BBOORRYY TTUUCCHHOOLLSSKKIIEE NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
Bory Tucholskie National Park is situated
about 120 km south-west of Gdańsk and
approximately 100 km north of Bydgoszcz. It
occupies only a part of the vast forest
complex called Bory Tucholskie (Tuchola
The local landscape is dominated by woods and lakes, including unique mid-
forest lobelia lakes characterised by very high water transparency. The largest
lake adjoining the Park’s western
border is the channel
Charzykowskie Lake: almost 18
km long and up to 2 km wide.
One of the Park’s major attractions is
Struga Siedmiu Jezior (the Seven
Lakes’ Stream): a rivulet connecting seven glacial channel lakes. The total
length of this unusual stream is 13 km, but the river sections between the
lakes only total 2 km. River banks are inhabited by many rare bird species
including white-tailed eagle, western marsh.
TTHHEE TTAABBLLEE MMOOUUNNTTAAIINNSS PPAARRKK
Considering the landscape, the Table
Mountains are one of the most original places
in Poland. Extensive, flat summits, cut with
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deep ravines, and unusual shapes of eroded sandstone create an atmosphere
of fantasy movies. The Park is located in Kłodzko Valley, a dozen kilometres
west from Kłodzko. On the north-east it neighbours Kudowa Zdrój.
Initial exploration of the Park can be started by driving the “road of hundred
bends”. You can also use a hiking trail or bicycle route from Kudowa. A
great base for hiking is Karłów located between the biggest attractions of the
Park: Szczeliniec Wielki and Błędne Skały.
The Park has a very well developed tourist infrastructure. In a small distance,
there are three mountain hostels: in Pasterka, Karłów and at Szczeliniec
Wielki. The last one, located over a rock edge, is the most beautiful
viewpoint in the Table Mountains. The hiking and bicycle route network is
very dense. Cross-country skiing trails are prepared in winter. Within the
Park, six locations for rock climbing are indicated.
TTHHEE WWAARRTTAA MMOOUUTTHH NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
Formed in 2001 Warta Mouth
National Park covers a surface of
8074 hectares. It lies near the Polish-
German border, in a fragment of
Toruń-Eberswald proglacial stream
valley, the so called Gorzów Valley.
Flat, wide terrains of the Park are situated within the lower bench of Warta
The Warta River flowing through the middle of the Park is a natural border
between two areas, Northern Polder and the
floodland. The floodland is a semi-natural area in
which annual water level fluctuations may reach
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up to 4 meters with its maximum in the spring months (March and April).
The Northern Polder is separated from a direct influence of Warta by a levee
build along the river bed. The water level is here definitely lower than at the
left bank and relatively stable. Nowadays Park’s landscape is a mosaic of
meadows, pastures and areas overgrown by sedge and reed. The existing
plant communities are typical for agriculturally developed valleys of big
lowland rivers. The remnants of its original character are willow shrubs that
formed secondarily at the Warta River bed, communities of carr forest as well
as single, grand willows and elms. The record of bird species of Warta Mouth
National Park includes over 270 species along with 170 breeding ones. Some
of them are listed in the Polish Red Data Book of Animals: Little Bittern,
Shelduck, Common Teal, Little Gull, Eurasian Curlew.
Many bird species living in the Park are regarded as species requiring special
care according to the so called Birds Directive, one of the documents on
which Natura 2000 protected area network is based. Among the 190 bird
species listed in the Directive, 64 have
been affirmed in the Park. These are
breeding birds like: Bittern, Black-
crowned Night Heron, Corncrake, Spotted
Crake, Black Tern, Little Tern, Aquatic
Warbler and also species present during
migration season like: Eurasian Golden Plover, Hen Harrier, and these
wintering ones: Whooper Swan and Tundra Swan.
Regarding the breeding as well the molting and migration seasons, the
floodlands and meadows of Warta Mouth National Park are of vital meaning
for birds across whole Europe. Numerous plovers like: Wood Sandpipers,
Spotted Redshanks and Ruffs stop here. In autumn the meadows at Warta
River are being taken over by geese, numbering usually about 60-80
thousand, and maximally even 200 thousand. The flocks of arctic geese are
dominated by Bean Geese, a bird that is a symbol of our Park. The Park is
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also a crucial wintering place for many species like: Whooper Swans, Mute
Swans, and White-tailed Eagles.
Not many places in Poland can boast such a incredibly high and diverse
amount of birds. Sometimes during only one day 250 thousand of birds may
be observed, so it is not odd that the meadows at Warta River are under
protection within The Ramsar Convention.
TTHHEE PPIIEENNIINNYY NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
Pieniny National Park is a mountain park
located 120 km south of Cracow. The
easiest way to reach the Park is via a road
from Cracow towards Zakopane, in Nowy
Targ turning in the direction of Krościenko.
The Pieniny Park was created in the area of
Pieniny, a 35 km long and 6 km wide mountain range. The interest in nature
protection in the Pieniny area reaches 1920s, when a flora reserve was
created in Czorsztyn. Vegetation in Pieniny Park is extraordinarily
abounding. You can find 167 mountain plant species here, including two
endemic species: Pieniny wallflower and Pieniny dandelion. There are many
orchids, on the meadows you can find Veratrum Lobelianum, a plant with
beautiful, large leaves. The best month to see flowers and plants is June.
Large mammals in Pieniny are not numerous, but the Pieniny meadows are
famous for abundance of butterflies; the best known one is the Mountain
Apollo, which can be found only here.
TTHHEE PPOOLLEESSIIEE NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
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Located 50 km northeast of Lublin,
Polesie National Park is a unique
complex of marshes, swamps, lakes,
ponds and forests. It is a last fragment of
Polesie landscape which withheld
intensive land reclamation activities in
the 1960s. Here you can find something that used to be called “the Charm of
The famous Polish swamps can be crossed dry-shod walking on specially
prepared footbridges, e.g. the nature trail Dąb Dominik (Dominic Oak). The
trails start near Łomnica village, and at the beginning lead through different
types of forests, through broadleaved and swamp forests. Near Moszne Lake
we reach a peat bog, on which there is a footbridge leading up to the lake,
which is in the last phase of overgrowing. A tour is fascinating especially for
persons interested in flora. On the way through the peat bog, you can meet
many rare plant species: downy willow, round-leaved sundew or
Perehod path in the northern part of the Park is prepared for
bird admirers. There are two observation towers. A path is led
around complex of ponds, partially on a causeway in the
middle of the reservoirs. Depending on the season, on the 5-
kilometre route, you can see dozens of bird species, e.g.:
white-tailed eagle, western marsh harrier, spotted eagle, white heron, bittern,
mute swan, whooper swan, many species of duck, goose and Ciconiiformes.
The biggest resident of the Polish swamps is the elk. In the forests we can
encounter roe deer, deer and wild boars, sometimes wolves. In Polesie
National Park occurs European pond turtle, the only Polish species of turtle,
in the past very common, now the most endangered reptile in Poland.
TTHHEE RROOZZTTOOCCZZEE NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
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Roztocze National Park is situated in the
south-east of Poland, approximately 30 km
southwest of Zamość and includes the most
precious natural areas of
Roztocze. Environmental protection in
Roztocze has a tradition reaching the end of the 16th,century when fragments
of Central Roztocze were included in Zamoyski Estate. A type of zoo –
menagerie was then established and surrounded by a 30-kilometre fence,
within which wild animals were kept.
Roztocze National Park is a typical forest location. 95% of the area is
covered by beech, pine and fir forests. In the Park, there are more than 400
monumental trees; local fir trees grow up to 50 metres. Large
mammals are represented by deer, wild boars, wolves, lynx and
badgers. The biggest attraction of the Park is a wild Polish Pony
herd living in an allocated enclave. Polish Pony is a species
coming from Przewalski's Horse. Until the end of the 18th
century they lived in forest areas of Eastern Poland. All year, Ponies live in
the wild, human interference is limited only to feeding in the winter season.
Every year, a couple of foals are born in the herd. The Ponies may be
observed from a special observation tower by Echo pond, few hundred
metres behind Zwierzyniec in the direction of Górecko Stare. Wild herds of
Polish Ponies may be seen also in Biebrza National Park, Popielno and
A natural attraction of Roztocze are Szum and Nad Tanwią reserves located
south of the Park. The reserves include valleys of small forest rivers with
picturesque waterfalls and river steps called here szumy, szypoty or porohy.
TTHHEE SSLLOOVVIINNSSKKII NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
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Apart from Wolin Park, Slovinski National
Park is one of two seaside national parks in
Poland. The Park is located between Łeba and
Rowy, 115 km northwest of Gdańsk.
One of attractions of Slovinski National Park are moving dunes, which in the
Park reach the height of dozens of meters, and are one of the largest in
Europe. Huge sand mountains are deceptively similar to Sahara deserts. With
a bit of luck, it is even possible to experience a sandstorm. Just like on a real
desert, when going for a couple-hour hike, you cannot forget to take solid
Slovinski National Park is unusual because in direct neighbourhood there are
moving dunes, marshes, peat bogs, lakes and forests buried by dunes. In other
locations, wind discovers dead stumps of trees buried in the past under the
sand. It is worth to visit the Park early in the morning, before the crowds of
Slovinski National Park is located on the route of seasonal bird passage, and
you can meet here eagle owls, cranes, black storks, ruffs. In winter, the Park
is visited by birds from the north. In the forest you can encounter elks, foxes,
racoon dogs and badgers.
The Park was named by Slovincians, a group of people who used to live by
Gardno and Łebsko lakes. Slovincians called themselves Kashubians and
used Kashubian dialect. Those who are interested in the history of this land
should visit the open-air ethnographic museum in Kluki, located east of
Considering unusual natural diversity, in 1977 Slovinski National Park was
included in UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
TTHHEE SSWWIIĘĘTTOOKKRRZZYYSSKKII NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
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The Świętokrzyskie Mountains are the oldest
and the lowest mountains in Poland,
characterised by unique geological features
to be found nowhere else in Europe.
Świętokrzyski National Park occupies the
highest ridge of the Świętokrzyskie
Mountains, called the Łysogóry. The Park is situated about 20 km east of the
city of Kielce. It covers the entire Łysogóry Ridge and parts of Klonowskie
and Pokrzywiańskie Ridges.
The highest peaks in the Park are Mount Łysica (612 metres above sea level)
situated in the western part of the Łysogóry, and Mount Łysa Góra (595
metres above sea level) with a former Benedictine monastery, which towers
over the eastern part of the ridge. The slopes of the Łysogóry ridge are
covered by the so-called gołoborza (screes): vast areas of rock rubble formed
by the weathering of Cambrian quartzite. Tourists trekking in the Łysogóry
tread the oldest and the hardest rocks in Poland. As they pick a splinter of
quartzite from under their feet, they are touching a petrified piece of the sea
bed from 500 million years ago.
The Świętokrzyskie Mountains are famous for their natural fir woods.
Dominant tree species include fir, but also oak and beech. This type of mixed
forest can only be found in Poland in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains and
certain parts of the Roztocze hill range. Its endemic character is emphasised
by its Latin name Abietetum polonicum.
The Łysogóry ridge is a land of legends. Every Polish kid has heard of
mysterious Witches’ Sabbaths held on Mount Łysa Góra. The myth of Łysa
Góra has its factual roots: the mountain top is surrounded with nearly 1.5 km-
long wall built of Cambrian quartzite. In the ancient times, the peak was
probably a place of worship. The inner area enclosed by the wall could once
witness magical pagan rituals. According to the legend, witches headed to
their Sabbaths on Mount Łysa Góra riding broomsticks or carts pulled by
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goats. Today it is hard to believe that the belief in the existence of witches in
Europe continued for more than three hundred years. The last witch trial in
Poland was held in 1775: 14 women were convicted of witchcraft and burnt
at the stake.
TTHHEE TTAATTRRAA NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
The Tatra Mountains, located at both
sides of Polish and Slovak border are
part of the Carpathian Mountains – huge
mountain range running from Romania,
through Ukraine, Slovakia and Poland.
In Poland, which is mainly a lowland country, the Tatras are loved. Every
season, tourists from all over Poland and abroad hike the Tatra Mountains
trails. Located 100 km south from Cracow, Tatra National Park is the most
visited national park in Poland with unique mountain landscape. It is created
of jagged mountain peaks and ridges, steep precipices, deep valleys, glacial
cirques, gullies, lakes and swift streams. The highest summit in Poland is
Rysy located at the Polish and Slovak border at 2499 metres above sea level.
In Tatra National Park there are more than 270 km of hiking trails of different
difficulties: from very easy, suitable for walks, to requiring significant skills
and equipped with safety devices such as chains, step irons, ladders. There
are also climbing routes. For a few years it's been possible to cross the Polish
and Slovak border in the locations where trails from these countries meet.
Flora and fauna in the Tatras is very rich and diverse. Typically mountain
plants present in the Tatra Mountains are: Swiss pine, Leontopodium
alpinum, Crocus scepusiensis, stemless carline thistle. The remaining of the
ice age are relict plants: net-leaved willow and mountain avens. The animal
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world is also unique. You can meet here chamois and marmots. The Tatras
are one of rare places where you can meet brown bear, lynx and very rare
golden eagle. Another reason for which the Tatras are a special place is the
harmonious connection between the beauty of nature and the Goral
(highland) culture present in the dialect, clothes, music and architecture.
Polish settlers form Cracow region settling at the foot of the Tatras mixed
with a Vlach pastoral people travelling from the south, creating the Podhale
region's Goral culture. For every tourist a visit in the Tatras leaves the taste of
local traditional cheeses: bunc, oscypek, bryndza as well as żentyca –
delicious and refreshing drink made from sheep milk. Typical Goral music
can be heard in the streets and restaurants. The Goral culture popular at the
turn of the 19th and 20th century propagated the Goral wood architecture
whose great examples can be found in Zakopane and the entire Podhale
TTHHEE WWIIEELLKKOOPPOOLLSSKKAA NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
The National Park of Wielkopolska was
created on April 16, 1957 pursuant to a
regulation by the Council of Ministers,
the area within its borders was 9600ha,
and 5100 was to be administered by the
Park. In 1996 a new regulation by the
Council of Ministers concerning the National Park limited its area to 7584ha
and created a protected buffer zone around the Park. This zone's area,
together with the area of the Park, totaled 14840ha. Some areas were
excluded form the Park, such as the urban areas of Puszczykowo, Mosina and
Stęszew. The National Park of Wielkopolska is located around 15 km south
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of Poznań and has a very convenient bus and train connection with this city
(Poznań- Wrocław rail line), and through Poznań, thanks to many fast trains,
also with Warsaw. The National Park of Wielkopolska is one of the most
attractive areas around the city of Poznań.
TTHHEE WWIIGGRRYY NNAATTIIOONNAALL PPAARRKK
Wigry National Park is an essence
of all postglacial forms. A
“specialist” armed with geology
textbook can find here bottom and
terminal morains, eskers, kames,
outwash sand plains and other
forms left by the glacier. A tourist
can see hills pleasing to the eye with depressions filled with ponds and lakes
– a landscape reminding partly Scandinavia, and partly green Hobbiton from
The Park is situated in the northern part of Augustów Primeval Forest, south-
east from Suwałki. The area is a cultural borderland between Poland, Belarus
and Lithuania an interesting place, not only for its natural values. Here is an
old Camaldolese monastery which in the past was one of the most powerful
monasteries in Poland and one of the richest in Europe.
Geological history of the area includes mainly the last glaciation which ended
approximately 12 thousand years ago. A result of the glacier activities is the
most beautiful and the biggest lake in the Park – Wigry. The
lake is S-shaped and 20-kilometre in length. Its shores are
irregular, as though jagged, with many islands and smaller
ponds surrounding the lake. The bottom of Wigry lake is a
postglacial channel, uneven and locally very deep (73