Green infrastructure

1.  POLICY SETTING

There is a hierarchical system of development strategies in Poland, differing in the time horizon and the degree of generality, consisting of documents drawn up on the basis of two acts: the Act on the Principles of Development Policy (Journal of Laws 2016, item 383) and Spatial Planning and Development Act (Journal of Laws 2016, item 778). At the national level, a long-term strategy is being developed - by 2030, the Spatial Development Concept, the mid-term strategy and 9 integrated strategies. The strategies in force are:

  • The concept of Spatial Development of the Country (KPZK 2030) (MP of 2012.252) is an act of the spatial policy of the state and as such is a spatial element of the Long Term National Development Strategy (DSRK), MP of 2013. 121. Provisions relating directly to green and blue infrastructure: ecological connectivity and coherence of the nature conservation area network, including the designation of ecological corridors at national level, and the interconnection between open space and urban areas are the content of objective 4 of spatial policy: Developing spatial structures supporting the achievement and preservation of Poland’s high-quality natural environment and landscape; and maintaining high quality natural environment and landscape values of Poland. The KPZK 2030 monitoring indicators include, among others, the Farmland Bird Index (FBI) and the percentage of protected area in the Natura 2000 network and in large-area forms – National Parks, Landscape Parks and Protected Landscape Areas. Strategic monitoring indicators are available on the Central Statistical Office website (www.strateg.stat.gov.pl).
  • The Strategy for Responsible Development (SRD) is the basic development strategy (to 2030), adopted by the Council of Ministers on 14.02.2017. The main objective is to create conditions for increasing incomes of the inhabitants of Poland, while increasing cohesion in the social, economic, environmental and territorial spheres. The strategy treats environmental resources as an important part of development capital, requiring an active approach in the pursuit of the country's development goals. It takes into account the management of the development of the impact of anthropogenic factors on the environment, indicating the need for adaptation of production techniques and technologies and the operation of ecosystem sustainability. It also supports the adaptation of cities and agricultural areas to climate change through the development of green and blue infrastructure (able to absorb rainwater) in cities and their surroundings, indicating the need for spatial connectivity of open natural space to urban areas and changes in spatial management.
  • The Strategy for Energy Security and Environment (ESE) sets the objective of halting the decline of biodiversity and ensuring a good conservation status for as many species as possible and natural habitats by 2020. To achieve this, it is essential to define, introduce and design a green infrastructure system that encompasses rich mosaic landscape areas, and a high proportion of natural / semi-natural ecosystems, river valleys with floodplain areas, areas with high retention rates, and refugee biodiversity. The document emphasizes the importance of space ordering for the quality of life in cities, including the maintenance of their cultural and aesthetic qualities and the protection of cultural landscapes and historic buildings. It is particularly important to preserve green areas that not only serve as aeration for cities, but also for biological, health and recreational functions for urban residents, and increase the retention of precipitation water. One of the priorities of urban space management should be to protect green areas from being built. 
  • Over the course of 2017, the existing development strategies will be aligned with the SRD. The ESE strategy will be replaced by two documents: State Environmental Policy until 2030 and Energy Strategy/ State Energy Policy (name to be determined). The National Urban Policy, prepared in 2015, is an expression of an integrated territorial approach in the urban dimension. The National Urban Policy on urban greenery transfers the provisions of NSDC 2030. It is a document defining the planned activities of governmental administration regarding urban policy. It sets out purpose-oriented, state-directed action for the sustainable development of cities and their functional areas, and making the most of their potential in the country's development processes. In the field of green infrastructure, the document recommends the mixing of land functions and designations within the city and the shaping of coherent and accessible urban green spaces, waterways, green belts and ventilation wedges. Management of the "blue-green" infrastructure should combine its ecological functions (including the shaping of microclimate and slowing down of storm water runoffs) with recreational ones. The document indicates various forms of introducing vegetation into urban structures: green areas, along streets, on roofs and walls of buildings, on land temporarily excluded from use, or in the form of so-called urban agriculture. The inclusion of green infrastructure in urban policy serves the purpose of: countering the negative effects of uncontrolled suburbanisation (by shaping of the compact and sustainable city), increasing energy efficiency, protecting the environment, adapting to climate change and revitalization.
  • In practice, the ecological network consists of individual GI elements which are subject to national law. In addition to these regulations, there are diverse recommendations (including scientific maps and articles) which are also used for the spatial development strategy, e.g. regarding wolf and bear corridors. A network of ecological corridors was elaborated by the Ministry of Environment in 2005 mainly for large carnivores like wolf, lynx, bear and has to be taken into consideration under the Environmental Impact Assessment procedures in relation to planning transport infrastructure.
  • In Poland, Strategic Environmental Assessment Legislation is regulated in an act on Access to Information on the Environment and Its Protection and on Environmental Impact Assessments (section IV, articles 46-58).
  • Poland also has an elevated Natura 2000 network and protected area ratio, which are core areas of the new "Programme of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity” and “Action Plan for the period 2015-2020" that were approved in late 2015.
  • The Nature Conservation Act (2004) provides the following forms of protected areas: national parks, nature reserves, landscape parks, protected landscape areas, NATURA 2000 areas, documentation sites, ecological areas and landscape nature complexes. These areas comprise over 40% of the Polish territory.
  • Within the framework of the Prioritized Action Framework for Natura 2000 for the EU Multiannual Financing Period 2014-2020 (PAF), the vast majority of activities are focused on Natura 2000, which is the backbone of green infrastructure. However, the document also proposes priority actions to ensure the benefits of Natura 2000's ecosystems, in particular mitigation and adaptation to climate change, for example, afforestation within ecological corridors (50,000 ha) and clearing ecological corridors and waterways corridors (29 animal passages and river clearing in the Odra and Vistula river basins) whose impact will extend beyond the Natura 2000 network.
  • The Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment 2007-2013 (Ministry of Economic Development) aimed to support environmental and nature protection, prevention of natural hazards, the low-carbon economy, transport and energy security. The largest stream of funds was directed to water and waste water management, while PLN 0.4 billion and 0.1% of the total fund allocated under the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSFR) 2007-2013 was earmarked for the protection of species and habitats. The NSRF 2007-2013 was one of the sources of financing for the conservation of species and habitats in Natura 2000 sites. The key results of nature conservation projects carried out under the NSRF 2007-2013 were, for example, preparation of management plans for 512 protected sites.
  • The Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment 2014-2020 (Ministry of Economic Development) aims to support low carbon economy, environmental protection, adaptation to climate change, transport and energy security. The development of green infrastructure, including the increase in the capacity of land and water wildlife corridors, is included in the programme.
  • The European Programme for the Environment and Climate Action 2014-2020 is actively implemented and co-financed in Poland since 2008 by the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management.
  • CBD NBSAP: The Programme of Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity and Action Plan for the 2015-2020 has seven specific objectives including: improving the level of knowledge and increasing the activity of society insofar as biodiversity actions are concerned; improving the nature protection system; preserving and restoring natural habitats and the populations of endangered species; maintaining and reconstructing ecosystem functions; increasing the integration of the operations of the economic sectors in biodiversity protection targets; limiting hazards resulting from climate changes and pressures from invasive species; and increasing Poland’s participation in international fora. The Programme gives consideration to the natural resources of the whole country however the majority of actions will be carried out in protected areas and through green infrastructure, including ecological corridors connecting the protected areas system.
  • The Urban and Construction Code (KUB), currently in the legislative process, will address the topic of GI by means of introducing the possibility of creating large scale land use standards concerning, for example, the ratio of GI in urban areas.

 

2.  IMPLEMENTATION OF GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE

Local

  • The LIFE+ project Restoration of hydrological system in the Middle basin of Biebrza Valley Phase I and II co-financed by the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management is conducted by the Biebrza National Nature Protection Park. The main objective of this LIFE Nature project is to improve the conservation status of habitats and species at the Ostoja Biebrzańska SPA and Dolina Biebrzy SAC. Works target hydrogenic habitats and the restoration of appropriate water flow conditions in the vicinity of key areas. The project actions are expected to improve habitat conditions for birds in non-forested ecosystems.
  • City of Warsaw’s LIFE+ project Protecting the habitats of priority bird species of the Vistula valley under the circumstances of intensive pressure of Warsaw agglomeration aims at restoring the breeding colonies of waders, gulls and terns in the Middle Vistula Valley Natura 2000 network site (SPA), especially those within the Warsaw borders. The project also improves connectivity within the site by restoring areas of river habitats and improves the protection/conservation value of the SPA by increasing the ecological knowledge of Warsaw’s citizens regarding the importance of protecting threatened bird species, their type of land-use, and necessary actions for conserving species and their habitats.
  • The National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management co-finances projects for local initiatives connected with biodiversity maintenance. In 2015, NFEP&WM chose for co-financing 7 projects with overall grants exceeding PLN 4 million. The average cost of each project was about PLN 600,000-700,000. All projects focus on biodiversity conservation in rural areas and are a huge success in improving social awareness of green infrastructure as an element of biodiversity conservation. One of the co-financed projects is GreenGo! Green Infrastructure in rural areas as a biodiversity refuge. The goal of the project is to increase social awareness of green infrastructure, its role and sustainable formation in rural areas. The project’s actions target local authorities and inhabitants of selected municipalities in Mazowieckie and Lubelskie voivodships. The motivation to implement the "GreenGo!" project was found, among others, in the need to make the agricultural sector greener. It is about taking action resulting in increasing and conserving biological diversity at the local level. The project will last until September 2017 and cover dozens of municipalities.

In addition, the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management has prepared the priority programme "Strengthening local communities' activities for sustainable development". Green infrastructure, established thanks to the initiatives of local residents, is to be a key issue addressed in the projects. Within the framework of a pilot programme carried out in 2015, a total of 24 projects received funding of more than PLN 10.5 m.  These projects involve a total of 478 local initiatives. Due to the pilot programme's success, the NFEPWM repeated the call for proposals under the programme "Strengthening local communities' activities for sustainable development". A total of 13 contracts for almost PLN 4.5 million were concluded in 2016-2017. These projects are currently being implemented.

Regional

There are a number of projects at regional level financed from EU Funds and national funds: Regional Funds for Environmental Protection and Water Management (VFEPWM). They aim at supporting the restoration and conservation status of key populations and sites in Natura 2000, as well as other ecosystems. Actions focus on promoting ecological functions of existing infrastructure. Financial support includes several groups of tasks, in line with developing green infrastructure:

1)      restoration of historic parks, often combined with restoring park ponds, implemented in urban and rural areas and restoring historic tree alleys;

2)      planting native species of trees along roads;

3)      management of green spaces in urban and rural areas through planting;

4)      adjusting the water regime in rural and agricultural areas;

5)      planning activities co-funded by the Fund and consisting of developing simplified forest management plans for areas not owned by the Treasury or consisting of developing natural inventories undoubtedly affect green infrastructure in an indirect manner.

6)      broad, complex tasks co-funded from European funds and linking active protection measures with ecological education.

Functional elements of green infrastructure also include many actions funded by the VFEPWM as regards projects involving flood protection and water retention.

Specific projects include:

  • Creating a Blue Wildlife Corridor in the Ina and Rega basins are the two LIFE+ projects introduced by Zachodniopomorski Zarząd Melioracji i Urządzeń Wodnych w Szczecinie aiming at conserving and improving the biodiversity in the Ina and Rega basins’ water ecosystems that are located in Natura 2000 sites by: clearing migration routes in the Ina river and its major tributaries by building ‘fish passes’; creating artificial spawning grounds and enlarging the area of natural spawning grounds for salmonids; recording the fish migration to identify when and where fish access the spawning sites in the Rega basin and planting trees along 20 km of the river bank to create shaded areas and lower the water temperature.
  • The objective of the LIFE+ project Active protection of water-crowfoots habitats and restoration of wildlife corridor in the River Drawa basin in Poland, implemented by the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Szczecin, is the active protection of lowland rivers in West Pomerania, including the Drawa, Grabowa, Radew and Korytnica. The project aims to improve river habitats, with the construction of fish spawning-grounds. The ultimate project goal is to positively affect biodiversity in the restored Drawa river wildlife corridor and its tributaries.
  • The LIFE+ project Roads for Nature – campaign promoting trees in Poland's rural landscapes, as habitats and ecological corridors introduced by the NGO Foundation for Sustainable Development aims at preserving and restoring tree avenues, which play an important role as habitats and components of traditional European landscape. The project goals are: to prepare and implement local campaigns leading to the restoration of trees in rural landscapes and to reverse the trend of tree removal in 66 selected municipalities; to create positive attitudes among public administration officials and the general public towards open landscape trees and roadside trees and to mobilise citizens to become actively engaged in biodiversity conservation through tree protection and planting.
  • Combining the protection of the dune habitats of the Hel Peninsula with their access for tourists has resulted in the creation of the Dune Park and above-dune footbridge in Hel, Pomerania. Dunes including valuable, rare and endangered species are protected from the effects of increased tourist traffic such as devastation of the vegetation, littering or scaring off the birds. Using recycled materials, footbridges were built to allow visitors to move safely around the dunes. Some parts of the dune area and its vegetation were also protected by protecting barriers. Thanks to these actions the habitat changed its status from a degraded to a revitalized one, ready to fulfil its ecological functions. The project was funded by EU funds within the Programme Infrastructure and Environment in Poland 2007-2013 and by the Regional Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Gdańsk.
  • GI activities funded by the Regional Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Gdańsk include: construction or renovation of urban parks, protection of water-dependent ecosystems and technical solutions for biodiversity, such as retaining ecological corridors, and adapting existing architectural and engineering solutions to the needs of species of specific flora and fauna and their habitats.
  • The Silesian Park is a unique "green oasis" located in Chorzów, in the heart of the Upper Silesia agglomeration of several million people in the most industrialized region of the country. Located on the border of Siemianowice Śląskie, Chorzów, and Katowice, the Silesian Park takes up 620 hectares, of which 250 ha are forest areas, and 100 ha constitute nurtured park areas. For more than 20 years the Fund has been implementing measures based on strengthening biodiversity and raising environmental awareness of the region's residents. Support is primarily intended for protecting and maintaining trees, rebuilding the collection of valuable species, among others, roses, revitalizing water reservoirs that make up an interconnected system within the Park. The Silesian Park Foundation is actively operating in the park, carrying out tasks involving environmental education, including workshops, events, and campaigns. The VFEPWM is also co-financing the development of strategic documents for the province, i.e. air, environment, and noise protection programmes.
  • Functional elements of green infrastructure are also covered by many activities funded by the VFEPWM in Wrocław, in the Water Management section, which carries out projects involving natural flood protection through modernisation of flood embankment, restoration and embankment and riverbed reconstruction.
  • The Regional Directorate of the State Forest in Krosno carried out the project "Protection of the Carpathian Forest Fauna - migration corridors". The aim of the project, implemented since 2011, is to identify and protect long-term migratory corridors for large mammal forests, ensuring the cohesion of the forest areas of the Bieszczady Mountains, the Low Beskids and the Przemysko-Dynowskiego Foothills. Field work was carried out by: winter track along all paved roads, collecting information on crossing roads by game, shooting game. The programme is financed by funds under the Swiss-Polish Cooperation Agreement.

National

  • Natura 2000 sites, the core of green infrastructure, occupy nearly 20% of Poland's land area. The Natura 2000 network consists of 145 special bird protection areas and 849 special protection areas (of which 45 are designated as special protection areas). Currently, 504 Natura 2000 sites have established planning documents, including 485 protective plans. The necessary conservation measures are implemented successfully and the status of conservation of habitats and species covered by the network is monitored. By the end of 2022, it is planned that protective plans will be developed for all Natura 2000 sites.
  • Small-scale water retention activities of State Forests in Poland: the projects 'Increasing retention and preventing floods and droughts in forest ecosystems in lowland areas' and “Counteracting the effects of rainwater runoff in mountainous areas aim to increase retention and maintain streams and associated infrastructure in good condition’ are the first projects to be conducted on such a large scale, combining water retention activities in forest ecosystems with protection against excessive surface water run-off. It is also an example showing that flood prevention activities can be successfully carried out with the use of environment-friendly methods, and moreover, have a major influence on biodiversity protection.
  • In response to water management needs, the State Forests since the mid-90's have been undertaking small scale water retention works. Two projects gained financial support from the EU Cohesion Fund within the scope of the Operational Programme 'Infrastructure and Environment' 2007-2013. The projects’ activities at the Forest District level focused on constructing small-scale water retention facilities (over 7100 objects), such as small water reservoirs, fish passes, fords, technical stream infrastructure, landslides protection devices (in mountainous areas), rehabilitation of existing amelioration systems to make them store water efficiently and restoration of marshes and other types of wetlands. The projects are carried out in close cooperation with nature conservation regional authorities, scientists and non-governmental environmental organizations. Consulting representatives of all interested parties has given the projects public acceptance.

Main objectives of the projects:

  • Prevention of drought and local floods
  • Restoration of wetlands
  • Biodiversity preservation
  • Climate change mitigation adaptation (through green infrastructure)
  • Counteracting negative changes in hydrological conditions in lowland forest ecosystems
  • Improving water storage capacity in mountainous areas
  • Providing protection against landslides as well as side and bottom erosion in the mountain streams

The successful implementation of the projects and diagnosed further needs in this field have resulted in a decision on their continuation in the period 2014-2020 also with financial support from the EU Cohesion Fund. As in previous years, they will be implemented all over Poland, both in mountainous and lowland areas. Their main objective will remain to protect forests against the risks arising from climate change and the most important, measurable effect of the projects will be water retention. No less important will be the impact on the protection of nature: the infrastructure created within the projects will not only improve the water balance and humidity of forest habitats, but also become an important mainstay of aquatic fauna and flora, will serve as waterholes for forest animals and will perform the functions of biofilters.

Cross-border and international

  •  The city of Łódź developed a Blue and Green Network, aiming to harmonise the functions of urban rivers while restoring the valley’s potential for self-regulation and integrating planning and management of green and blue areas. This network was an outcome of the European Project SWITCH (2006-2011), which aimed to achieve more sustainable urban water management in the “City of the Future”.  The city is also involved in the Biodiversa-funded ENABLE project (2017-2019), which, among other objectives, aims to identify and mainstream green and blue infrastructure solution designs for a European urban-rural context.
  • Bialowieza Forest - ecological network pilot project. ECNC together with Vereniging Natuurmonumenten (NM) finalised the transboundary European Ecological Network pilot project between Poland and Belarus for the world-famous Bialowieza Forest in 2005. The project aimed to further develop this internationally renowned area as one coherent natural and self-maintaining ecological core area of the European Ecological Network. It highlighted the role of forestry, hydrology, tourism and agriculture in enhancing the ecological coherence of the area, these being the themes that were prioritized by park managers of the Bialowieza Forest (63,142 ha) on both sides of the border. The project also focused on enhancing the social coherence within this cross-border forest (between Poland and Belarus), to foster harmony with the demands of the local communities, while respecting both natural and cultural values. The project contributed to the development of an integrated management plan for the Forest, and highlighted the prospects of the Bialowieza Forest to become a testing ground in Europe for sustainable development (ECNC, n.d.).
  • The Green Karkonosze project - co-financed by the ERDF and the Karkonosze National Park - demonstrates how investment in green infrastructure may result in tangible environmental, economic and social benefits, mainly through improved access to green areas. Urban parks in the close-to-border cities of Jilemnice, Karpacz and Kowary were revitalised and trails and paths were created. Furthermore, better access to the nature attraction Raven Rocks in Karpacz was ensured. As a result, the project contributed to the accessibility of the regional green infrastructure, thus enhancing the benefits of nature for both inhabitants and tourists.
  • Restoring degraded peatlands in Słowiński National Park Poland, for natural habitats and peatlands ecosystem services reconstruction (project acronym: Peat Restore) (01/2017 – 06/2021) - The project’s goal is demonstrative restoration of peatlands in Slownski National Park, by  stopping water outflow by artificial ditches, reducing peat decomposition (with reducing consequent CO2 emission, and dissolved carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus outflow with water), and initiating peat-forming vegetation in a former mining area.
  • The city of Poznań participates in the Horizon 2020 project COproductioN with NaturE for City Transitioning, INnovation and Governance (CONNECTING) which aims to co-develop the policy and practices necessary to scale up urban resilience, innovation and governance via nature-based solutions. An open innovation ecosystem approach bringing together city governments, SMEs, academia and civic society will be used to co-produce usable and actionable knowledge in all cities.
  • Wroclaw participates in the Horizon 2020 project Green Cities for Climate and Water Resilience, Sustainable Economic Growth, Healthy Citizens and Environments (GrowGreen) which aims to deliver systemic changes to the long-term planning, development, operation and management of seven cities through the use of nature-based solutions (NBS), in order to deliver quantified improvements in climate and water resilience, social, environmental and economic performance.

 

3.  MAINSTREAMING GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE

Nature

The EU Natura 2000 network is at the core of the EU's Green Infrastructure. In 2015, there were 987 Natura 2000 sites in Poland: 849 SCIs and 145 SPAs.  In early 2016, the Natura 2000 network in Poland covered approx. 19.6 % of the land territory, with 15.5 % SPAs and 10.9 % SCIs (European Commission, 2017).

Agriculture

Intensive agriculture and human-induced modifications of natural conditions (e.g. of water ecosystems) together with invasive alien species have been identified as the greatest threats to biodiversity in Poland (EC, 2017). Poland is characterised by a huge potential of extensive agricultural production and is included in the group of the European countries with the best preserved biodiversity. This is determined by: traditional farming, particularly in regions with a mosaic structure of agriculture, high share of permanent grassland (occupying about 21% of agricultural land - CSO, Environmental protection, 2016), existence of areas with natural constraints to conduct farming and presence of semi-natural areas including bogs, which are largely located in the Natura 2000 sites (about 30% of the Natura 2000 sites are agricultural land - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020). Rural areas are characterised by the diversification of natural and semi-natural ecosystems dependent on agriculture and forestry. The fragmentation and mosaic structure of habitats and the variety of water bodies is conducive to preserving green infrastructure in Poland. The variety of species of fauna and flora is unique and spatially diversified which results from the local environmental conditions and the degree of intensification of agriculture. The development of green infrastructure in rural areas involves the preservation of existing nature conservation forms, development of sustainable agriculture and forestry, preservation of the mosaic structure of rural areas and measures to reduce water pollution with support of CAP direct payments for greening and cross-compliance with the Birds and Habitats Directives, Natura 2000 and environmental measures under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 (RDP). In addition, in order to prevent the mass conversion of permanent grassland (PG) into arable land, there is an obligation to maintain, at national level, a share of PG in the area of agricultural land which may not decrease by more than 5% when compared to the reference year of 2015.

Forestry

Sustainable, multifunctional forest management in Poland is based on the 1991 Forest Act and its three general rules for forest management:

  • Common forest protection
  • Stability of  forest maintenance and continuity of forest management
  • Expanding of forest resources

These general rules ensure long term protection, restoration and sustainable use of natural and semi forest habitats and preserve forest stability. More detailed rules are defined in Forest Management Plans (FMP) prepared individually for each forest district, which are approved by the Minister of Environment. A part of FMP is the Nature Conservation Programme which includes a broad description of nature condition as well as protection tasks and methods for their implementation. Currently, FMPs are developed in cooperation with the bodies supervising the Natura 2000 network in Poland (e.g. the General Directorate for Environmental Protection).

Urban policy

The effects of environmental fragmentation are amplified by the growing pace of urbanization, coupled with excessive architectural freedom and chaotic dispersed development, which disrupts ecological networks (Fifth National Report on the Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity Poland, 2014).

The Municipal Management and Environmental Protection Policy of the City of Lodz 2020+ and the Masterplan focus on preserving the natural system of the city and suggest that “to protect biodiversity, the city preserves relics of natural ecosystems and prevents further urbanization in areas which provide important ecological functions”. These relics and areas have been indicated in the Masterplan as well as in the concept of the Blue-Green Network. Identifying an area or an object as a relic translates into its formal protection. The main focus of the Blue-Green Network is on green and blue areas as a key factor influencing quality of life in the city, e.g. by improving the micro-climate and providing public space for recreation. However, this concept is only loosely integrated into urban planning. The Masterplan also refers to the Green Circle of Tradition and Culture (GCTC), which consists of green spaces being shaped by cultural processes such as palace gardens, rivers used in a specific way, or cemeteries that are considered as a type of cultural heritage to be protected. A main theme is also connected to water and sewage management to retain stormwater and restore water courses (Greensurge, 2015).

Each year the Voivodship Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Krakow co-finances the furnishing of green areas, maintenance of historic parks and gardens, as well as natural monuments. Most of this assistance is provided to local government authorities, parishes, schools and universities, hospitals.  For example, in the years 2012-2015 the Krakow Municipality planted 6,967 trees and 14,071 bushes thanks to the grant.

The Fund in Łódź co-finances activities aiming at enlarging green areas. These funds are intended for planting new trees, bushes, and other plants, to improve the usable and aesthetic values of green areas managed by the Beneficiaries.  For example, in 2015 the City of Łódź received a grant for the amount of PLN 2,034,000. It allowed to plant trees and shrubs in the Piast's Park, the communal garden on Łososiowa Street, and in the districts of Polesie and Śródmieście, in a total amount of 41,101 pieces, including 1,486 trees and 39,615 shrubs. Thanks to the Fund's financial resources of more than PLN 80,000 it was also possible to increase green areas by creating a green roof over the main building of the Faculty of Management of the University of Łódź. The green space on the roof complements urban greenery and has a positive impact on the "city's atmosphere" by reducing air pollution, weakening the effect of the urban heat island and delaying the drainage of rainwater (retention and evapotranspiration).

The Voivodship Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Łódź has been providing co-financing under the Priority Programme Natural gems of the Łódź Province – restoration of historical parks from 2013. The programme is aimed at supporting actions benefiting green areas protected under the Act on the Protection and Care of Monuments, understood as parks adjacent to palaces, castles, and manors or forming part of urban layouts found in the Łódź Province. The purpose of the Programme is to preserve and protect the historical, natural, and cultural heritage of these objects through their restoration. Actions taken under the Programme are designed to adapt protected parks to social and educational needs, and to enable the public to benefit from their natural values. A total of approx. PLN 50 million is to be allocated towards this goal in the 2013-2017 period.

Spatial planning

In Poland, regional and local authorities are responsible for spatial and land use planning. The three-tier spatial planning system in Poland is governed by the Land Use Planning and Development Act (DZ.U.2016.778). National and regional levels are strategic levels. The law requires that environmental requirements, including water management and protection of agricultural and forestry land and landscape requirements, are taken into account as a basis for spatial order and sustainable development. According to art. 72 of the Environmental Protection Act, the substantive basis of these actions are the relevant substantive laws and their implementing regulations – e.g the Nature Conservation Act, and at the level of local and regional planning eco-physiological development. The content of these publications is governed by the Ordinance of the Minister of the Environment (Dz.U.2002.155.1298). The boundaries of existing areas of nature conservation as defined in the Nature Conservation Act are the reference layer for land use planning.

The national level (NSAC 2030) introduces general guidelines which are passed on to the regional level and government administration. The form of transferring content to the local level is addressed to the municipal boundaries, which are part of the spatial development plans of the voivodships. All voivodships have current spatial development plans that include green and blue infrastructure - both existing and planned. Likewise, the coverage of the conditions and directions of the spatial development of the municipality is presented.

At the local level, two planning documents are produced: a study and a local spatial development plan, which is an act of local law. The study defines the areas and principles of environmental protection and its resources, the protection of nature, landscape, including cultural landscape and spas. The special form of the municipality study is a framework study on the conditions and directions of spatial planning of the metropolitan union, which expresses the definition of transregional and regional ecological corridors relevant for the whole metropolitan area, in particular as regards the way of implementing technical infrastructure. Environmental protection, nature and landscape protection, including the minimum percentage of biologically active area in relation to the area of the building parcel, are defined in the surface of building plots.

At the regional level there are regional spatial planning offices. The national level introduces general guidelines which are then passed on to the regional and local level. Eventually the municipal local level is responsible and autonomous in its spatial planning policies. Local – level representatives take active part in the discussion of regional plans (GreenSurge 2015).

The National Spatial Development Concept (NSDC2030) strategy acknowledges the importance of sound spatial ecological relationships for nature protection. One of the main ongoing projects for implementing the NSDC2030 strategy is called “Protecting biodiversity through the implementation of land-based network of ecological corridors in Poland” (2014-2017). Before preparing land-use plans, so called “physiographic studies” which describe natural conditions are to be prepared in accordance with strategic environmental assessment procedures. The same procedure is used for local spatial development plans and spatial development plans of voivodships.

Poland’s ‘Programme of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity along with Action Plan for the period 2015-2020’ plan foresees: “Preparation of national guidelines ensuring assignment to green infrastructure of the status of standard element of spatial planning and territorial development” and “Inclusion of green infrastructure in planning works at the local level”.

Legal instruments still need to be harmonised with integrating spatial planning processes; these are currently limited as local plans are carried out for distinct projects, but spatial planning is not coordinated across a district or county area (Trinomics et al., 2016).

The regional landscape audit, introduced as part of the implementation of the Act on amendment of regulations for the purpose of strengthening landscape protection tools of 23 April 2015 (hereinafter the "Landscape Act"), gives grounds for identifying and protecting priority landscapes (the most valuable for the region) and guidelines for covering the protected landscapes according to the provisions of the Nature Conservation Act of 16 April 2004. In addition, the obligatory compliance of regional and local level spatial planning documents with the audit ensures the co-operation of municipalities, with public participation. This mechanism will be kept and augmented in the forthcoming Urban and Construction Code.

Implementation of the Revitalization Act of 9 October 2015 introduced amendments to the Property Act of 21 August 1997, facilitating the creation of new green areas. Land subdivision for the purpose of publicly available green spaces and greenery has been designated a public purpose, which means the land can be expropriated for these purposes.

Water management

Numerous research projects and restitution programmes or ecosystem renaturation schemes have been conducted in Poland, particularly for wetlands (mainly peat bogs, but also rivers and springs). The largest-scale activities of this kind have been carried out since 2011 in the Biebrza National Park under the LIFE+ project entitled ‘The restoration of the hydrological system in the Middle Basin of the Biebrza Valley. Phase I’ (Fifth National Report on the Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity Poland, 2014).

The Fund financially supports activities related to enabling and restoring retention capacity of water reservoirs in the Łódź Province. Grants were awarded for renaturalisation of the Sokołówka River; four reservoirs were built as part of the investment. In addition to flood protection, these reservoirs are designed to increase the retention and infiltration of rainwater, as well as sedimentation and transformation of pollution. This project fits well within the Blue-Green Network concept. In addition, the Fund has co-funded the construction of the "Smardzew" reservoir located on the Myja River – a tributary of the Warta River. A reservoir with an area of 60.02 ha and capacity of 1,135,600 m3 at normal storage level and a flood reserve of 251,000 m3 has been created, protecting 300 ha of agricultural land against flooding.

The Fund provides financial support for conserving aquatic ecosystems. Co-financing has been granted, among others, to the City of Łódź for renovating ponds in the Helenów Park, and to the Mokrsko Commune for the reconstruction of 3 ponds – places of public recreation for the residents of the commune. The works involved fish catching, desludging, removal of aggregate mud, construction of culverts and strengthening banks.

In 2013-2015, the Fund provided support to the City of Bełchatów for the implementation of the Rakówka River restoration within Bełchatów. The task involved fish restocking with orfes, European chubs, common dace, brown trouts, and 750 pairs of native mud crayfish, as well as conducting fish catching to investigate the effectiveness of restocking.

In 2017-2018, the Voivodship Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Łódź will co-finance the project "Improving natural retention through the bio-reactivation of the "Słoneczko" water reservoir in Piotrków Trybunalski", consisting of desludging the reservoir using a biological treatment method called "effective microorganisms" (EM). This method consists of populating the tank with specific species of microorganisms. These microorganisms are a mixture of approximately 80 species that coexist together. The method consists of inducing low-temperature fermentation, which displaces the rotting processes. The introduced organisms feed on organic matter, secreting metabolic products such as vitamins, organic acids, minerals and antioxidants. Decomposing processes subside, and fermentation intensifies. This method is completely harmless to the environment, safe for plants and animals. As a result of this action, the bottom will turn from muddy into hard and sandy, the odour accompanying mud will disappear, the reservoir's oxygenation will improve.

The Fund has provided a grant for the task "Eco-hydrological restoration of "Arturówek" reservoirs (Łódź) as a model approach towards restoring urban reservoirs (EHREK)". Activities undertaken by the University of Łódź were aimed at eliminating toxic cyanobacterial blooms in the Arturówek reservoir and in the Bzura River, which translated into an increase in the recreational value of the reservoirs in question. Scientific basis has been developed for restoring other urban water ecosystems in terms of implementing the Water Framework Directive.

Disaster risk reduction

The Polish National Platform for DRR is a non-governmental organization. It actively participates in common initiatives concerning the creation of research programmes connected with protection systems; sharing experience in the field of flood protection; training on contemporary problems of extreme environmental threats; early warning systems; education and information systems on unusual threats.

Transport infrastructure

Transport policy in Poland for the years 2006-2025 requires environmental considerations, in particular nature protection, to be taken into account in the design and construction of transport infrastructure. The Transport Development Strategy by 2020 (with perspective by 2030) envisages a number of actions dedicated to enhancing transport’s environmental performance. The measures include, amongst others, modernization and upgrading of transport infrastructure to meet EU and national environmental standards and requirements (including compliance with regulations on environmentally valuable areas, such as Nature 2000, marine and coastal environment protection), implementation of innovative construction technologies to minimize environmental pressures, development and common application of innovative solutions to protect wildlife against collisions with vehicles, maintenance of the existing wildlife passages and implementing best available practices while designing new wildlife passages.

In the development of individual infrastructural spatial projects, it is necessary to account for environment protection issues, including in particular:

-      selection of the alternative with the smallest environmental impact (new routes should disturb and / or fragment natural areas to the absolute minimum);

-      minimising negative impacts on the environment in the absence of alternatives (in case of investments on existing facilities);

-      inclusion of the inventory of wildlife habitat in the detailed schedule of works (with seasonality) and incorporating such works in total costs;

-      performing works in timeframes that account for special periods in the life of a given population (e.g. breeding season, wintertime);

-      including costs of potential environmental compensation in the works schedule and costs (e.g. creation of “new” ecosystems within Nature 2000 habitats, maintenance and monitoring of the well-being of protected species and habitats);

-      including costs of equipment to alleviate ecological barrier effects or fragmentation of environmentally valuable areas in the works schedule and costs in line with the precautionary principle.

Economy

There is insufficient linking of biodiversity with the economic growth of the country.

The implementation of investment projects places great emphasis on environmental protection, including nature conservation, at every stage of project implementation.

Modernization and redevelopment are conducted based on decisions on environmental conditions, whereby during the administrative procedure the impact of the planned investment on the environment is analysed in detail, including thorough environmental impact assessments. Environmental minimization measures indicated at the stage of the decision on environmental conditions apply. Construction works are usually carried out under natural supervision with the use of protective periods resulting from legislation and relating to particular species being protected, which significantly affects the duration of the project, in many cases causing drastic technological changes. After the completion of the investment and commissioning of facilities for use, post-project analyses and natural monitoring are carried out. Consequently, the costs of nature conservation are not avoided during the implementation of the investment. They are borne at the pre-design stage (e.g. natural inventory), design and execution (e.g. construction of animal passages). Next, the costs associated with maintenance of environmental equipment at the operational stage of the investment are covered.

Health

The Voivodship Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Krakow is co-financing the construction of cycling paths in the Małopolska Province. The provided grant allowed the construction of 102,000 running metres of cycling paths.

Education, sport and culture

The National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, in the framework of ecological education, implements a priority programme which aims to strengthen the activities of local communities for sustainable development. Funding for local green initiatives (minimum of 15 initiatives at the application stage) can be financed under the following key areas that are directly linked to green infrastructure:

1)        active protection of ecosystems and their habitats and species;

2)        counteracting the disappearance of pollinating insects;

3)        ex situ conservation of endangered species;

4)        limiting the human impact from the development of tourism through the construction and modernization of small tourist / educational infrastructure;

5)        rebuilding the population of endangered and valuable tree species, preserving and maintaining valuable roadside paths;

6)        setting up, restoration, maintenance of stands - tree bushes and bushes;

7)        establishment, maintenance and management of small water reservoirs;

8)        development, restoration and maintenance of gardens, urban parks, natural forests;

9)        flood prevention activities - counteracting local floods, supporting small water retention.

 

Projects aimed at raising awareness among local communities, while engaging them in concrete actions to preserve biodiversity, produce very good results.

In 2013, the Voivodship Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Krakow co-financed the project "Małopolska's Gardens on Roofs and Walls – the communes of Małopolska (authorities and residents) learn how green roofs and walls help protect the climate and save energy" carried out by the Association of Municipalities Polish Network “Energie Cités” as part of the Swiss-Polish Cooperation Programme. The project involved state-of-the-art environmental education, Swiss pro-climate know-how on improving the energy efficiency of buildings thanks to green roofs and walls created in communes as part of sustainable energy management. Handbooks for communes on green roofs/walls, information and educational materials were issued as part of the project, and a study trip was organized.

The Voivodship Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Łódź is co-financing environmental education activities, among others, as part of calls. In 2016, the call Environmental Education of the Residents of the Łódź Province provided grants to the best projects implementing out-of-school environmental education aimed at children, teenagers, and adults from the Łódź Province. Educational projects focused on the following priority areas:

  • issues of air pollution and their harmful effect on human health;
  • protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services, including the promotion of the natural values of the Łódź Province;
  • rationalisation of waste management and prevention.

The Fund has concluded 95 contracts for the amount of over PLN 3 million. Among others, the following projects received co-financing:

  • "Honey plants as the basis for protecting biodiversity of ecosystems, which are the basis for pollinating insects" implemented by the Provincial Beekeepers Association in Łódź;
  • "Ecological education of children, teenagers, students and adults led by the Management of Urban Greenery in Łódź under the name: "Biodiversity - learn, understand, protect. How to counter the loss of biodiversity in Łódź?"" Implemented by the City of Łódź;
  • "Publishing the "Red Book of Birds of the Łódź Land"" carried out by the Towarzystwo Przyrodników Ziemi Łódzkiej with its registered office in Łódź.

Other

The VFEPWM in Krakow provides co-funding for undertakings involving conservation of Earth's surface consisting in remediating soils acidified as a result of floods. Treatments are preceded by relevant research conducted by a chemical-agricultural station, proving the merits of their implementation. Thanks to the grant, a total of 5,547 ha of soils degraded by a flood were limed in the years 2013-2016.

A grant of PLN 64,887 was provided to the City of Łódź to maintain meadow habitats in areas managed by the Municipal Forestry of the Management of Urban Greenery in Łódź.  The task involved mowing vegetation in order to stop adverse changes, preserve natural and landscape values, and increase biodiversity in meadow habitats totalling an area of 51.70 ha.

The VFEPWM in Łódź allocated funds for awards given for activities of environmental protection and water management, not related to duties of the employees of government and local administration. In the years 2008-2013, the Fund was holding the "Guardian of Natural Habitats" contest each year. Its purpose was to promote actions that protect valuable natural elements on the territory of the Łódź Province. The range of activities submitted to the competition was broad: from preserving black stork nesting sites, through conserving a pond, to maintaining old orchards and carrying out protective measures in natural habitats of insects or birds.

In 2014-2016, the approach above was continued under a new competition "EkoAktywni" (EcoActive) for the Łódź VFEPWM prize, whose aim was to reward non-governmental organisations and individuals for environmental activities carried out within the Łódź Province, which were undertaken in three subcategories: conservation of natural habitats, environmental education and eco-innovation. This competition will also be announced in 2017.

 

4.  FINANCING GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE

The National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management (and similar provincial funds) and the EU LIFE Programme provide financial contributions for implementation of green infrastructure projects. Financing for biodiversity protection increased significantly during the implementation period of the earlier NBSAP (2007-2013), with roughly 1 billion Euro allocated to carry out at least 500 projects during this timeframe. In spite of this, only 16% of the tasks of the earlier NBSAP have been realized (some are being continued), due to limited financing of actions, inadequate integration of biodiversity in sectoral policies, or the scale of scheduled activities.

The National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management is also implementing projects supported under the Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment, such as measure 2.5 "Taking action to improve the urban environment". As part of this measure, projects are supported that aim to halt the decline of green areas in cities, which is achieved by increasing the surface area of green spaces in urban areas (including parks, lawns, and green estate) or regeneration of degraded greenery. Co-financing agreements have been signed for 41 projects with a total gross value of PLN 286.7 million (i.e. approx. EUR 68.3 million).

Given the wide range of activities within the scope of GI, it is difficult to present a full set of benefits in figures. Nevertheless, decision makers are aware of the opportunities of investing in Green Infrastructure. Analysis of available funds is a necessary step, followed by technical assistance facilitating the use of various available funds (Trinomics et al., 2016)

The European Regional Development Fund may be a source for additional funding for GI – ERDF funds for 2014-2020 include plans for rehabilitation of 300 ha of land; and 73,000 ha for nature conservation (no further details provided) (European Structural and Investment Funds, n.d.)

The National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management (NFEP&WM) ensures absorption of foreign funds allocated for environmental protection, for example, from the Cohesion Fund, the European Regional Development Fund, the LIFE Programme, the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism. Proceeds acquired by Poland in international sales transactions of carbon dioxide emission allowance pursuant to the Kyoto Protocol supply the Green Investment Scheme which supports investment projects concerning climate protection and greenhouse gas emission reductions. The National Fund offers its beneficiaries support in the efficient and timely implementation of projects. Above all, it provides financial support to projects fulfilling environmental obligations imposed on Poland as a result of EU membership. It also supports activities undertaken by the Minister for the Environment in fulfilling Polish obligations under, for example, the Climate Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, or the NATURA 2000 programme.

The National Fund, in addition to the specific conservation measures implemented to protect biodiversity, also finances educational activities aimed at raising public awareness. Many activities are carried out at the local level due to the high effectiveness of direct involvement of the local communities in protective actions.

 

5.  CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR GI DEVELOPMENT

Poland has carried out the identification and assessment of ecosystems and their services. This work did not entail valuation of ecosystem services, but the assessment of ecosystems and their services takes into account aspects related to their future potential valuation.

National source data on this issue can be divided into two types: public, aggregated statistical data, which do not include the concept of ecosystem services, and a few scientific studies in which an attempt has been made to estimate the value of some of the services of this type, such as the non-productive values of forests or the value of urban green areas (Fifth National Report on the Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity Poland, 2014)

A study on Lodz’s urban green infrastructure and planning governance found that while the Municipal Management and Environmental Protection Policy of the city sets many specific objectives and targets, it lacks proper monitoring mechanisms for urban green infrastructure. The study found that factors that enhance the implementation of the city’s objectives in this area include citizen advocacy, funding for investments in urban green spaces and municipal obligations defined in the sectoral policies accompanying the city’s integrated development strategy. In contrast, factors that were identified as hindering the implementation of green infrastructure objectives included special interests of individuals or groups (particularly developers), a lack of funding for such initiatives and poor cooperation among different units/departments within the municipality (Tönkö and Kronenberg, 2015).

Low social awareness in the area of spatial planning and environment protection remains a problem as well. The present regulations regarding consultation on acts concerning land use in the process of environmental impact assessment do not provide public consultation tools encouraging the municipalities to make decisions on partnership level and do not provide incentives for the inhabitants to take active and conscious part in the shaping of local spatial policy.

In terms of spatial planning, insufficient coverage of binding local spatial planning acts in areas subject to urbanization remains a challenge as well, resulting in lack of land use management taking into account the integration of GI.

 

6.  KNOWLEDGE BASE

The General Director of Environmental Protection runs an interactive map of Geoserwis, where spatial data is presented including forms of nature conservation in Poland. It is available at geoserwis.gdos.gov.pl. Within Geoserwis, two services have been created by open standards Open Geospatial Consortium in accordance with Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2007 establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE) and provisions of the Act of 4 March 2010 on Infrastructure of the Spatial Information:

-        browsing service WMS: http://sdi.gdos.gov.pl/wms

-        download service WFS: http://sdi.gdos.gov.pl/wfs

These services are compatible with most GIS systems such as ESRI ArcGIS or QGIS, where they can be freely analyzed and processed for most common formats (ESRI Shapefiles). WFS can also download data on individual forms of nature conservation and ecological corridors directly to this format.

Poland’s Ministry of Environment launched the MAES process in 2014 and it was completed in 2015. Furthermore, a pilot project to determine the value of ecosystem services for the Ramsar site Wigry National Park was completed in 2014. In March 2015, a new project was launched on Mapping and Assessment of Urban Ecosystems, which deals with strengthening the use of ecosystem services approach for the protection and development of green infrastructure in cities.

The Environmental Law Act, consolidated text: Dz.U.2017.519 j.t., (2001) introduced the obligation to develop eco-physiographic studies in order to provide the conditions for maintaining the natural balance and rational management of environmental resources.

Poznan is one of the cities participating in the EnRoute project (Enhancing Resilience Of Urban Ecosystems through Green Infrastructure) in the framework of MAES, which runs from 2017 until 2018. The project aims to introduce the MAES approach into the local policy arena, connecting the governance levels horizontally and vertically, with a view to contribute to the further deployment of GI in cities and in urban contexts. In the “city labs”, the URBAN-MAES framework will be implemented using local data and involving in the process the local stakeholders and focusing on specific issues (Maes et al. 2017).

 

7.  FURTHER RESOURCES AND PUBLICATIONS

  • Fundacja Sendzimira: http://sendzimir.org.pl/
  • "The Impacts Of Cohesion Policy 2007-2013 on the environment" http://www.Ewaluacja.Gov.Pl) („Wpływ Polityki Spójności 2007-2013 na środowisko naturalne” http://www.ewaluacja.gov.pl)
  • Fundacja Sendzimira projekt "Usługi ekosystemów dla zrównoważonego rozwoju miast" http://www.uslugiekosystemow.pl/
  • Projekt "GreenGo! Zielona infrastruktura na terenach wiejskich ostoją różnorodności biologicznej" http://greengo.gridw.pl/
  • DRZEWA ZIELONY KAPITAŁ MIAST, autor Halina Barbara Szczepanowska, Marek Sitarski, https://www.igpim.pl/index.php/category/publikacje/

 

8.  LIST OF CONSULTED REFERENCES

Borysiak, J., Mizgajski, A. & Speak, A. (2016). Floral biodiversity of allotment gardens and its contribution to urban green infrastructure. Urban Ecosyst. doi:10.1007/s11252-016-0595-4.

CEEweb (2011).  Assessing Green Infrastructure Elements in the Visegrad Countries. Accessed on 13.10.2016 at http://www.ceeweb.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Assessing_Green_Infrastructure_Elements_in_the_Visegrad_Countries_updated.pdf

Dlugonski, A. and Szumanski, M. (2014). "Analysis of Green Infrastructure in Lodz, Poland." J. Urban Plann. Dev 141 (3).

ECNC (n.d) Green Infrastructure, Bialowieza Forest - ecological network pilot project. Accessed 20.03.2017: http://www.ecnc.org/projects/green-infrastructure/bialowieza-forest-nbspecological-network-pilot-project/

European Climate Adaptation Platform (n.d.) Accessed 04.04.2017: http://climate-adapt.eea.europa.eu/countries-regions/countries/poland

European Commission (2014). Promoting green infrastructure and low-carbon solutions: Poland receives €27.4 million of EU funding. Newsroom: 17.12.2014. Accessed on 13.10.2016 at http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/newsroom/news/2014/12/promoting-green-infrastructure-and-low-carbon-solutions-poland-receives-eur27-4-million-of-eu-funding

European Commission (2017) The EU Environmental Implementation Review Country Report – Poland. Accessed 04.04.2017: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eir/pdf/report_pl_en.pdf

European Structural and Investment Funds (n.d.)  Accessed 11.04.2017. Available at: https://cohesiondata.ec.europa.eu/funds/erdf#

Fifth National Report on the Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity Poland (2014) Accessed 29.03.2017: https://www.cbd.int/doc/world/pl/pl-nr-05-en.pdf

Koziol, C. (n.d.) ‘National Policy on Forests in Poland and forest management in the Carpathians’ http://www.carpathianconvention.org/tl_files/carpathiancon/Downloads/03%20Meetings%20and%20Events/Working%20Groups/Sustainable%20Agriculture,%20Rural%20Development%20and%20Forestry/First%20meeting%20WG%20200707/12.pdf

Maes, J., Zulian, G. and Thijssen, M. (2017). Inception report: EnROUTE. Final draft version (10 February 2017)

Monitor Polski (2015) The programme of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity along with Action Plan for the period 2015-2020. Accessed 29.03.2017: https://www.cbd.int/doc/world/pl/pl-nbsap-v3-en.pdf

National Urban Policy (in Polish): https://www.mr.gov.pl/media/11579/Krajowa_Polityka_Miejska_2023.pdf

National Urban Policy https://www.mr.gov.pl/strony/zadania/polityka-rozwoju-kraju/polityka-miejska/

Poradnik TEEB dla miast: http://sendzimir.org.pl/poradnik-TEEB

Restoring degraded peatlands in Słowiński National Park Poland, for natural habitats and peatlands ecosystem services reconstruction (project acronym: Peat Restore) http://baltcf.org/peat-restore/

Restoring degraded peatlands in Słowiński National Park Poland, for natural habitats and peatlands ecosystem services reconstruction (project acronym: Peat Restore) http://baltcf.org/peat-restore/

Strategy for Energy Security and Environment (in Polish): http://www.monitorpolski.gov.pl/mp/2014/469/1

Strategy for Responsible Development (in Polish): https://www.mr.gov.pl/media/36848/SOR_2017_maly_internet_03_2017_aa.pdfhttp://monitorpolski.gov.pl/MP/2017/260/1 

Tönkő, A and Jakub Kronenberg  (2015) Lodz Poland: Case Study City Portrait; Part of a GREEN SURGE study on urban green infrastructure planning and governance in 20 European cities. Green Surge, Metropolitan Research Institute, Budapest. Accessed 29.03.2017: http://greensurge.eu/products/case-studies/Case_Study_Portrait_Lodz.pdf

Transport Development Strategy by 2020 (with perspective by 2030): http://mib.gov.pl/2-StrategiaRozwojuTransportu.htm

Trinomics, ALTERRA, Arcadis, Risk & Policy Analysis, STELLA Consulting, and Regional Environmental Centre (2016). 'Green Infrastructure in Poland', in Supporting the Implementation of Green Infrastructure, Final Report to the European Commission under Service Contract ENV.B.2/SER/2014/0012, Annex I. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/ecosystems/pdf/Green%20Infrastructure/GI_PL.pdf