New Ramsar sites for Poland

New Ramsar sites for Poland

31 October 2005

Poland designates five new Wetlands of International Importance

The Secretariat is pleased to announce that the Government of Poland has designated five new Ramsar sites, including some with strong mire values, some with extraordinary cultural heritage, and two with potential for identification as collaborative transboundary Ramsar sites, with Ukraine and the Czech Republic respectively. Poland now has 13 Ramsar sites covering a surface area of 125,760 hectares. Ramsar's Dorothea August has prepared these brief site descriptions based upon the RISs submitted by the Polish authorities, and the extraordinary photographs below have been contributed by the respective National Park authorities.

Druzno Lake Nature Reserve. 29/10/02; Warminsko-Mazurskie; 3,068 ha; 54°05'N 019°26'E. Natura 2000 SPA, Nature Reserve. A shallow and largely overgrown lake in the Vistula Delta region near the Baltic Coast, with surrounding wetlands, reedbeds, and swampy alder forests which are a relict of a much larger water body formerly part of the Vistula Lagoon. The most widespread aquatic vegetation is represented through floating communities of different associations of water lilies. The site is important for birds migrating along the Baltic coastline and provides refuge for more than 150 bird species during the summer. The region owes its origins to human draining and damming activities. In several settlements typical old Dutch buildings have been preserved and religious memorials such as 18th-century Mennonite cemeteries, pumping stations, sluices from the 19th century and inclines on the Elblag Canal are industrial monuments of European significance. While the lake was formerly used as a water route for rafting timber, it is now appreciated mainly for tourist cruising and recreational activities. Ramsar site no. 1563.

Narew River National Park. 29/10/02; Podlaski; 7,350 ha; 53°04'N 022°52'E. National Park. A 35-km section of a natural swampy valley with a well-developed system of bends, oxbows and highly sinuous riverbed breaking through moraine hills. Depending on water table, several vegetation zones from aquatic, immersed with mosses and sedges to softwoods with xeric vegetation can be distinguished. That includes about 30 associations of reed bed and aquatic plants, such as communities of water lilies, whirled water milfoil and common frogbit, besides meadow and xeric as well as willow shrubs and forest communities. Traditionally the meadows were used for cattle grazing and haymaking, but recent social and economic transformations led to a cessation of mowing and grazing management, causing a shrinking of open biotopes and a decrease of local biodiversity. The main potential threat is a diminished water input upstream in view of the Siemianowka dam at the Belarus-Polish border and the water pollution caused from towns upstream. A local historical mansion hosts both a visitor centre and the museum of the Narew river swamps, and there are tourist trails, two observation hides, and an educational path. Ramsar site no. 1564.

Poleski National Park. 29/10/02; Lubelskie; 9,762 ha; 51o17'N 023o27'E. National Park, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, NATURA 2000 SPA. A unique complex of shallow lakes and mires, ranging from raised bogs to transitional and calcareous mires and rare alkaline fens with vegetation indicating some features of tundra and woodland tundra in its most westernmost location, situated at the watershed between the basins of the Bug and Wieprz rivers in southeastern Poland bordering with Ukraine and part of the European Ecological Corridor of the Bug River. Forest communities vary from pine woods to alder swamps with a typical hollow-and-mound structure. The site supports a wide range of about 146 breeding bird species including very rare raptors such as Lesser Spotted Eagle, Hen Harrier and Montagu's Harrier. The only sparsely populated area, which hosts a rich cultural heritage of traditional wooden cottages, is used for extensive agriculture, fishing and forestry. Agricultural facilities in the surrounding area are affecting the site through water pollution. Since 2002 the National Park is also forms the core zone of the West Polesie Biosphere Reserve, and it is planned to be identified as a transboundary Polish-Ukrainian Ramsar site in the future. Ramsar site no. 1565.

Subalpine peatbogs in Karkonosze Mountains. 29/10/02; Dolnoslaskie; 40 ha; 50°45'N 015°36'E. National Park, UNESCO Bilateral Biosphere Reserve. Three subalpine bogs situated on mountain flats in the dwarf pine zone, along the Polish-Czech border in the Karkonosze Mountains. Situated at the European watershed dividing the Baltic Sea and North Sea basins, the area has special importance for groundwater recharge and flood control in the mountains. The vegetation is dominated of endemic dwarf pine communities with cloudberry vegetation and surrounded with spruce forest growing on hanging bogs. Most typical of the site are bog moss communities including associations resembling subarctic tundra with a combination of alpine and arctic species and association of alpine tufted common bog. Numerous hummocks and permanent pools that support a unique flora of algae form the rich relief of the area. The major threat for the bogs is trampling, littering and water pollution from tourist and recreation activities in the area. Since 1992 the site has been part of a MAB Bilateral Biosphere Reserve, and discussions are under way with Czech authorities of the Krkonoská raseliniste Ramsar site about management collaboration as a transboundary Ramsar site. Ramsar site no. 1566.

Wigry National Park. 29/10/02; Podlaskie; 15,085 ha; 54o00' N, 023o06'E. National Park. A diverse wetland system around Wigry Lake and 42 smaller lakes of glacial origin and associated peatbogs. It is dominated by woodlands of boreal character with a majority of the swampy forest communities as well as aquatic and mire vegetation in close to natural state. Amongst almost 90 non-woody plant communities, notable are mire communities, in particular those of raised bogs and transitional bogs including floating moss mats. The site shelters three globally endangered bird species, Red Kite, White-tailed Eagle and corncrake, and a further 150 bird breeding species. The numerous small rivers in natural state are habitat for beavers and affected by their damming activities. The site also includes Paleolithic archaeological sites, with remnants of Stone and Iron Age nomadic hunter settlements, a graveyard of the Jacwing people with mounds from the 3rd and 4th centuries, and a valuable baroque monastery. Timber production is a predominant land use, followed by crop production and recreational activities such as water sports or angling. Unfortunately the massive tourism with about 100,000 visitors per year brings an increasing threat for the site. Ramsar site no. 1567.

Narew River National Park

Poleski National Park

Subalpine peatbogs in Karkonosze Mountains

Wigry National Park