Nature protection in the Roztocze National Park
Nature conservation and the ways of its protection are governed by the law passed by the Polish Parliament. According to the law, the Roztocze National Park has the following zones of protective measures:
I. Strict protection zone
Strict protection allows no interference in the forces of nature. Strict protection allows freedom of ecological processes. It includes only the land owned by the State. The area of strict protection zone in the RNP is 1029.22 hectares and covers five areas:
- Jarugi – 353,67 ha
- Bukowa Góra – 135,32 ha
- Nart – 275,72 ha
- Czerkies – 160,57 ha
- Międzyrzeki – 103,94 ha
II. Active protection zone
Under the law,active protection "is expressed in an active influence on the condition of ecosystems and their components by the use of protective treatments, breeding and care." Its goal is to restore or maintain a particular state of nature, the living and non-living elements, through the use of a variety of treatments depending on the type of ecosystem. The surface of the active protection zone covers an area of 7242.22 ha of the RNP and is solely owned by the State.
III. Landscape protection zone
It involves maintaining the characteristics of the landscape. The park landscape protection maintains the economic use of the land. This status is given to developed areas (buildings, beach, parking, and parts of agricultural land). The landscape protection covers also the land of the park, which is not owned by the State. The total area of landscape protection area amounts to 211.39 hectares.
The protection zone of game animals with a total area of 2118.98 hectares was created inside the Park buffer zone. These areas are excluded from the hunting grounds and together with The Park area they form an ecologically compact unit, allowing for the protection of populations of large mammals: deer, wild boar, wolves and lynx.
The Park has a protection Plan developed by the Minister of Environment. The Project Plan is worked out by the Park Director for the time of 20 years and the works of the project implementation include:
- assessment of resources, objects and elements of nature, landscape values, cultural values, and existing and potential internal and external threats that can be made in the form of detailed descriptions;
- development of the conservation concept of wildlife components and cultural values, as well as the elimination or reduction of existing and potential internal and external threats;
- the specification of protective tasks with their kind, range and location.
National Park, in accordance with its legal definition, covers an area of outstanding environmental, scientific, social, cultural and educational values, in which all nature and landscape values are subject to protection.
The objectives of the Roztocze National Park are as follows:
- maintenance and ensuring the smooth running of ecological processes,
- continuity of the existence and stability of ecosystems,
- conservation of biodiversity and geological and paleontological heritage
- ensuring continuity and sustainability of species of plants, animals and fungi, including their habitats, by their maintenance or restoring to the appropriate conservation status,
- maintenance of landscape values and woodlots,
- developing appropriate human attitudes towards nature through education, information and promotion in the field of nature conservation.
Protective measures can take many forms depending on the different ecosystems, existing threats and the possibility of eliminating these threats. These are set out in the Park protection Plan or conservation tasks and include the definition of danger, the active protection methods, space available for research, education, tourism and recreation. Park designated strict, active and landscape protection areas are a way to protect the particular surfaces. The purpose of strict protection area - 12.1% of the Park - is to maintain the course of natural processes. Active conservation area in which human interference is possible to obtain the desired effect of protective measures is 85.4% of the surface. Landscape protection, having the lowest conservation status in the Park amounts to 2.5% of the area. Its aim is to maintain or restore the regional characteristics of the cultural landscape.
The main purpose of the protection in the Roztocze National Park refers to forest ecosystems occupying 95% of its surface. The protection also includes:
- inanimate nature;
- forest ecosystems;
- non-forest land ecosystems
- water ecosystems;
- plants, fungi and their habitats;
- animals and their habitats;
- cultural values.
Protection of inanimate nature (structures and geological formations, forms of morphology of the terrain and the area of water resources and soils) involves liquidation of erosion processes initiated as a result of human impact, reducing water runoff through drainage ditches, and the prevention of surface exposures and rocky outcrops from overgrowth. Active protection of forest ecosystems is to restore their composition- appropriate to the habitat of species, as well as age and spatial structure of the forest . Non-forest terrestrial ecosystems in the past were used economically in the vast majority of their areas: the former arable land, pastures, meadows extensively used in river valleys. Their active protection primarily involves the inhibition of secondary forest succession by cutting, mowing and grazing of old livestock breeds. Aquatic ecosystems are subject to active measures to prevent the pollution of waters flowing from external sources and removal of solid deposits of water during periods of high water. The protection of flora and fauna is conducted primarily through the protection of habitats and microhabitats, anti-treading and browsing by wild herbivores. In the case of animals, the objective is to provide the necessary conditions of reproduction (especially for amphibians and reptiles), places of refuge and a suitable base for feeding. It is also important to create opportunities for safe movement of animals across the routes. Both in the case of flora and fauna, the protective measures involve the elimination of invasive alien species. The national park also protects landscape and cultural values of the area. Landscape protection consists of maintaining a specific mosaic of different types of ecosystems. Active protection also applies to such landscape elements as historic buildings existing in the park area and the park complexes, the forestation of settlements, and other installations and structures of material culture.
Most of the tasks related to the active nature conservation in the Park area owned by the State are carried out by the staff of the National Park. They are also responsible for the organization of scientific research and environmental monitoring, Park preparation for sightseeing, educational activities and fighting the offenses related to the protection of nature. The Park, to achieve its objectives, cooperates with many institutions and organizations and uses the domestic and foreign sources of funding.
Effective protection of natural and landscape values requires the cooperation between the Park administration and local governments, institutions, organizations. This includes investments related to the environment, such as the expansion of water and sewage networks, construction and modernization of sewage treatment plants and troubleshooting connected with waste management. The cooperation between the Park and local governments in the preparation of local development plans or preparation of location decisions is of an utmost importance.