It’s International Biodiversity Day and Poland has around 63,000 animal and plant species to boast of – The First News

Białowieża Forest is the oldest forest in Europe and stretches over 140,000 hectares across Poland and Belarus. It has eleven trees that have been named, including the 135-foot-tall Dąb Car (Czar Oak). The Polish part of the forest has also been immortalized, tree by tree, to scale in the popular video game Minecraft with more than 50 billion 1m³ blocks used when mapping it.
Robert Pastryk/Pixabay

Although Poland is modernizing and building national road and railway networks, the percentage of forest land is increasing, currently at about 30 percent of the land area, it is expected to reach 33 percent by 2050. This is essential for the maintenance of the 63,000 species because more than 65 percent or nearly 41,000 species live in forests.

The European bison is the largest land animal in Europe and Poland is home to around 1,900 of them. Although the white eagle features on the Polish coat of arms and is the national bird, the bison is the country’s national animal . These land beasts can weigh between 550 and 800 kilograms, but have been known to reach speeds of 60 kilometers per hour while running.Michał Zielinski/PAP
The Mazury region of Poland is a series of over 2,000 interconnected lakes and waterways. Popular with sailors and tourists, the area is home to a wealth of wildlife. Mosquitoes and other biting insects will find you if you venture there, but you may also encounter an otter and many other wildlife in the area.Pawel Kula/PAP
The gray wolf was the only wolf in Poland until 2015 when golden jackals started to be sighted. In Poland, wolves can be found in three regions: in the Polish part of the Carpathians, in the eastern part of the country and near the German border. There are about 2,000 wolves left in Poland and it is a protected species.Wojciech Pacewicz/PAP
Bees and Poland are inextricably linked. Honey and honey products are part of Polish culture as much as anything else, the bee population is carefully guarded and cultivated by many Poles who understand the important work the bee population does even beyond the production of honey. Natural beehives in hollow trees are found in Spalskie Forest, Świętokrzyska Forest and Biebrza and Wigry National Parks.Darek Delmanowicz/PAP
There are nine species of native reptiles in Poland: the European swamp tortoise, 4 types of lizards (slow worm, sand lizard, common lizard and European green lizard) and 4 types of snakes (grass snake, aesculapian snake, smooth and viper). .) Only the pit viper is venomous but the smooth snake is often confused with the zig-zag pit viper, both species are protected so even if a walker comes across one they must not capture or damage them .Tomasz Gzell/PAP
So far, more than 3,000 species of butterflies have been identified in Poland, but this number is increasing every year. Butterflies can be pollinators but some varieties, during their larval stage, are considered pests that eat flowers and crops. Butterflies can be found all over Poland, even in cities and have been known to land on humans as some varieties are attracted to salt in sweat.Wojtek Jargilo/PAP
The national flower of Poland is the poppy, more precisely the poppy. The distinctive red petals and black center are known throughout Europe and at Christmas the poles enjoy poppy seed cake. The poppy is a symbol of the blood of Polish soldiers killed in the Battle of Monte Cassino, there is even a military song called “Red Poppies at Monte Cassino”.Lech Muszynski/PAP
There are about 2,500 species of flora in Poland, about a third are considered endangered to some degree, but only 124 are listed as critically endangered. Flowers that can commonly be seen in Poland include the purple Siberian iris, yellow globe flower, white daisy as well as common lilacs in a variety of colors including pink, white and purple.Tomasz Gzell/PAP
Poles love to hunt mushrooms in the forest. There are about 50 edible varieties in Poland, but mushroom pickers should be careful as there are poisonous varieties that look like edible varieties. It is, however, taboo to tell strangers the location of mushrooms and is often a carefully guarded skill passed down from generation to generation.Kalbar/TFN
There are about 700 known species of moss in Poland and moss plays a vital role in the country’s biodiversity. Moss helps retain water and slow soil erosion, it can be a vital source of water and nutrients during droughts and hot summers, it also provides moist cover to roots and soil. Moss can also provide a breeding ground for bugs and insects.Elena Mojvilo/Unsplash
Conifers make up around 55% of Poland’s forests, with pine dominating around 65% of government-owned forests. Pine trees are an important source of wood, resin, essential oils and even produce edible seeds. Pines are found on a number of coats of arms in Poland and during archaeological work in Kowalewko it was discovered that pine wood was used during cremations in Poland.Darek Delmanowicz/PAP

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