The Roztocze National
Park is situated in the Central Roztocze. It was established in 1974
and now covers an area of 8,481.76 ha, 92 % of which is occupied by
forests. An area of more than 880 ha (approx. 10 %) of the Park's
forest is under protection. It is surrounded by a 38,000 ha-large
The Roztocze is
located in an area which separates the old geological sediments of the
East-European Platform from the younger deposits of Western Europe. It
was of great significance to the formation of the European continent.
The Roztocze remains geologically active, rising by nearly 2 mm a year.
The relief of the
Central Roztocze is diversified. Limestone hill ranges of an altitude
up to 350 m a.s.l., overgrown with magnificent forests with ploughland
enclaves intertwine with valleys strewn with post-glacial sands.
diversity, rich surface features, the hydrographic, climatic and soil
conditions acount for the presence of as many as 47 plant assemblages
(19 forest and 28 non-forest ones) in the area. The most precious of
them include fir coniferous forest and Carpathian beech wood,
characteristic of the lower forest zone of the Carpathian Mountains.
The forest of the
Park is characterised by a high growth dynamics and longevity, as well
as by a large size of the trees, many of which are of nature monuments.
Pine, fir and beech are the prevalent species. Among the remaining 30
indigenous tree species, oak, alder, linden, birch, spruce, larch,
hornbeam, sycamore, ash-tree and maple-tree are the most numerous. For
many of them (e.g. fir and beech) this is the range of their dense
The flora of the Park
is rich and varied. Its more than 700 vascular plant species include
plants typical of lowland areas, as well as mountain species
(Manchurian monkshood, toothwort), northern species (twin-flower),
south-eastern species (European bugbane, ground clematis) and Atlantic
species (long-leaved sundew, marsh club-moss) may be encountered,
depending on the biotope and the surface features. Among the rare and
protected species, the most noteworthy ones include: garlic (Alium
victorialis) and ram-son (A. ursinum), snowdrop windflower, three
sundew species, numerous orchid species, the most beautiful of them
being the ladies' slipper.
The fauna of the Park
is equally abundant. There are all animals typical of the forest: deer,
roe deer, wild pig, wolf, lynx, fox, badger, common marten, and otter
in the proximity of water. Elk is observed seasonally. Protected
insectivorous mammals (shrews), rodents from the dormice family (common
dormouse, fat dormouse) and bats are numerous.
In 1979 beavers (once
present in the area) were introduced, and in 1982 a refuge of the
Polish pony (descendant of the tarpan and native breeds) was
Among the more than
210 bird species, about 130 nest regularly in the area of the Park
(among others: lesser-spotted eagle, honey buzzard, black stork,
white-backed woodpecker, collared and red-breasted flycatcher).
include numerous lizards, with the turquoise limbless lizard, grass
snake, common northern viper, smooth snake and mud turtle. The
occurrence of the once present Aesculapian snake has not been
represented by newts, fire-bellied toads, garlic toad, tree frog, green
and brown frogs.
The world of
invertebrates abounds in molluscs, myriapods, arachnids and insects,
which testifies to the uniqueness of the Park's nature by both local
and European standards.
For nearly 400 years
(until the end of World War II), the present-day forests of the Park
were part of the Zamoyski Estate. In 1934, the first reserve, named
"Bukowa Góra," was set up in the area. In 1938, the first
Polish directive on the protection of predatory birds was issued here.
After the war, between 1954-1974, 11 reserves were established, later
incorporated into the Park.
The fortunes of the
local inhabitants have long been connected with the area of the
present-day Park. During the wars, forest provided shelter and was the
site of many battles, while in time of peace it fed the people and was
a source of timber. The many forest graves and monuments from various
periods of the Polish history in Zwierzyniec and its vicinity testify
to the turbulent past of the land.