Long Term Ecohydrological Research Poland
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"West Polesie" Biosphere Reserve

Website adress www.poleskipn.pl, www.unesco.org/mab, www.elbi.pl
Institute being in charge of research: University of Life Sciences in Lublin Akademicka 13 Street 20 - 950 Lublin, Poland www.up.lublin.pl
Year of establishment 2002
Contact person: Tadeusz J. Chmielewski (e-mail: tadeusz.chmielewski@up.lublin.pl)


Site characteristics in brief


site description: The West Polesie Biosphere Reserve was created in April 2002 on the area of 139.917 ha. It includes almost the whole physiographic subregion: Leczna ? Wlodawa Lakeland and small fragments of three other subregions. It stretches from the River Bug in the south-east to the Tysmienica River valley in the north-west. In terms of administration BR ?Polesie Zachodnie? is wholly situated within the Lublin voivodship on the territory of 19 basic provinces (gminas), belonging to 5 administrative districts. One of the most important reasons for this biosphere reserve creation was the unique variety of nature in this part of Polesie and its location on the border of contrast physiographical and ecological structures, the abundance of lakes, bogs, moors and forests, the presence of many relict and rare species and the unique importance of this region in the ecological structure of Europe. Forests (59,6 %) and fields (25,23 %) dominate in the land use structure, but a meaningful share is taken by meadows (7,79%), moors (4,54%), lakes, ponds and rivers (2,84%). Until present day 61 lakes with the surface over 1 ha have survived. Particular lakes are in various stages of succession and contain water of different trophy. Land and water assemblies of macrophytes are extremely interesting. Parts of this area are a miniature of European tundra and forest-tundra which is here the farthest advanced to the south-east in Europe (Fijalkowski, ed. 1960). This is the area of unusual variety of highmoors, transitional moors, lowmoors and ? in some places ? very unique carbonate moors. Large collection of northern plant species (150 species) and simultaneous presence of many plants from Atlantic zone (25 species), east continental zone (43 species) create a curiosity on the European scale (Fijalkowski, ed. 1986). In the region of Leczna ? Wlodawa Lakeland there appear 1466 species of vascular plants, including 12 species from European CORINE list and 10 species from ?Polish Plant Red Data Book?. 98 species of the region?s fauna are listed on the European CORINE list and 25 are in the ?Polish Red Book of Animals? (Chmielewski, ed. 1999). Central part of the Biosphere Reserve constitute the Polesie National Park. It is surrounded by 3 landscape parks: Leczna Lakeland L.P in the west, Polesie L.P. in the center and Sobibór L.P. in the east, joined together with the Polesie Landscape Protected Area.
ecosystem type under investigation:
  • forest
  • grassland
  • freshwater streams or/and lakes
  • hierarchical level of plots/objects monitored:
  • watershed
  • landscape
  • ecosystem
  • community
  • population
  • species
  • objects investigated by the study
    • The studies were conducted from November 2006 till October 2009. The primary research objective of the project was contribution to the development of knowledge within the field of ecology of hydrogenic landscapes. The specific research objective of the project was identification of the directions and dynamics of changes taking place in hydrogenic landscapes over the past half-century, and especially the processes of disappearance of lake-peatbog ecosystems of the ?West Polesie? Biosphere Reserve under the effect of melioration draining works, changes in land use structure, and the related changes in the local climate. An important aspect of the work was investigation of the reactions of various systematic groups of flora and fauna to the processes of shallowing and disappearance of lakes, warming and eutrophisation of waters, and changes in the duration of the vegetation season. Another research objective of the project was determination of the effect of those changes on the nature values of the region, and especially on the conditions of natural water retention, habitat and species diversity (including the occurrence of rare, relic and invading species), and on the conservation of the characteristic landscape of Polesie. The results obtained may contribute to the enhancement and development of the general theory of ecology of hydrogenic landscapes. The utility objective of the project was development of a prognosis of further changes in the hydrogenic landscapes of the region, formulation of a proposal of a system of management of their resources, and indication of methods and techniques for the conservation of their nature and physiognomic values.
    location - geographic co-ordinates: latitude: 51° 27'' N
    longitude: 23° 10'' E
    location - altitude: 202.8 (above sea level)


    • 1. The Regional Nature Conservation Headquarters in Lublin (the Regional Directorate of Environment Protection in Lublin) 2. The Poleski National Park (the relevant services and the Scientific Council) 3. The Board of the Polesie Landscape Parks 4. The Country Government in Włodawa (the Centre for Promotion of Balanced Development) 5. The Association of Communes of Poleski National Park, the Forestry Districts of Sobibór, Włodawa and Parczew, 6. The Lublin scientific community 7. Self-governments of communes located within the area of the Reserve 8. The Lublin Division of Polish Academy of Sciences 9. Pro-ecological NGOs.


    Summary of research activities


    hypothesis / problem Dynamics of changes and contemporary functioning of hydrogenic landscapes of the Łęczna - Włodawa Lakeland
    aims of studies 1.Analysis of geological, geomorphological and hydrological conditions of the creation of hydrogenic landscapes in the region that now has the status of ?West Polesie? Biosphere Reserve; 2.Analysis of land use structure in the years 1952 ? 2007; 3.Analysis of features of meso- and topoclimate in the years 1952 ? 2009 and evaluation of changes taking place; 4.Analysis of changes in water relations in the Łęczna-Włodawa Lakeland in the years 1951 ? 2007, with special emphasis on the effect of the meliration system, based on literature data and on materials of the Faculty of Hydrography, UMCS; 5.Changes in water outflow through the main water courses of the Łęczna-Włodawa Lakeland in the years 1952 ? 2009; 6.Analysis of hydro-chemical changes in the studied lakes in the years 1966 ? 2009; 7.Analysis of changes in the phytoplankton of the studied lakes in the years 1966 ? 2009; 8.Study of the geological structure and analysis of processes of development of selected peatbogs, and estimation of the rate of sedimentation of lake sediments; 9.Analysis of succession changes in aquatic phytocenoses and in macrophyte flora of the studied lakes in the period of 1960 ? 2009; 10.Analysis of succession changes in phytocenoses and flora of selected peatbogs in the years 1960 ? 2009; 11.Analysis of changes in rotifer biocenoses against the background on changes in the lake ecosystems; 12.Analysis of changes in the ichthyofauna of the lakes, against the background of the processes of shallowing of the reservoirs, eutrophisation of waters, and plant succession; 13.Analysis of changes in the ornihtofauna of the hydrogenic landscapes of the region in the years 1966 ? 2009; 14.Interdisciplinary synthesis and conclusions (Tadeusz J. Chmielewski). 15.Forecast of the processes of further transformations of hydrogenic landscapes of the region; 16.Proposal of a system of management of the nature resources of the region; 17.Indication of methods and techniques of active conservation of nature values of the region.
    selection of publications resulting from the project
    • 1. Chmielewski T.J., Harasimiuk M., Radwan S., red. 1996. Renaturalizacja ekosystemów wodno - torfowiskowych na Pojezierzu Łęczyńsko - Włodawskim. Wyd. UMCS Lublin. Lublin: 1-144. 2. Chmielewski T. J., Radwan S., Sielewicz B. 1997. Changes in ecological relationships in a group of eight shallow lakes in the Polesie Lubelskie region (eastern Poland) over forty years. Hydrobiologia, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Belgium 342/343: 285-295. 3. Chmielewski T. J. red. 1997. Skala przekształceń środowiska i polityka ekologiczna Euroregionu Bug (w: serii Bałtowski M., red., Euroregion Bug). PBZ 059-01, t. 15. Politechnika Lubelska, Notbertinium. Lublin: 1-342. 4. Chmielewski T. J. 2000. Implementing Sustainable Development in Particulary Valuable Natural Regions: the Example of the Łęczna - Włodawa Lakeland (w: Dudzińska M. R., Pawłowski A. red., Sustainable Development - an European View ) Zeszyty Naukowe Komitetu \"Człowiek i Środowisko\" PAN, t. 27, Lublin: 115 - 128. 5. Chmielewski T.J., red. 2000. Międzynarodowy Rezerwat Biosfery \"Polesie Zachodnie\": Projekt harmonizacji przyrody i kultury. Poleski Park Narodowy, Wojewoda Lubelski. Wydawnictwa: NAVIP i MAGIC, Lublin, Urszulin: 1-120. 6. Chmielewski T. J. 2001. Pojezierze Łęczyńsko - Włodawskie: przekształcenia struktury ekologicznej krajobrazu i uwarunkowania zagospodarowania przestrzennego. Monografie Komitetu Inżynierii Środowiska PAN, vol. 4, Lublin: 1 - 146. 7. Chmielewski T. J., Lorens B., Radwan S. 2001. Ecological effects of wetland restoration in Piwonia River Valley. Society for Ecological Restoration News 14, 2/3 : 22 - 23. 8. Chmielewski T. J. 2002. Transformations of landscape ecological structure of the Łęczna - Włodawa Lakeland over the last half of the 20th century and the rules of spatial management of the region (w: Zalewski M. red., Long Term Ecological Research in Poland). International Centre for Ecology Polish Academy of Sciences, Warszawa: 25 - 31. 9. Chmielewski T. J. 2003. Changes of land-use boundaries over forty years (1952 - 92): the case of 11 catchment basins of lakes in the Polesie Lubelskie Region (Eastern Poland). Pol. J. Ecol. 51, 2: 117 - 128. 10. Chmielewski T. J. red. 2005. 15 lat Poleskiego Parku Narodowego. Ministerstwo Środowiska, NFOŚiGW Warszawa, Poleski Park Narodowy. Warszawa - Lublin - Urszulin: 1 - 194. 11. Chmielewski T. J. red. 2005. Rezerwat Biosfery \"Polesie Zachodnie\": walory, funkcjonowanie, perspektywy rozwoju. Monografia regionu. Poleski Park Narodowy; Wojewoda Lubelski. Lublin - Urszulin: 1 - 206. 12. Chmielewski T. J., Lorens B., Radwan S. 2005. Effects of wetland restoration in various ecological conditions and with a different scale of anthropogenic degradation: the case of CE Poland. Teka Commission of Protection and Formation of Natural Environment, PAN O/Lublin, 2: 5 - 21. 13. Chmielewski T. J. red. 2006. Poprawa stanu ekologicznego i optymalizacja wykorzystania turystycznego zlewni zespołu jezior Miejskie - Kleszczów, jako rozwiązanie pilotażowe do wdrażania na obszarach pojeziernych Euroregionu Bug (monografia). Program współpracy przygranicznej PHARE - Fundusz Małych Projektów. Gmina Ostrów Lubelski; Towarzystwo Ziemi Ostrowa Lubelskiego. Ostrów Lubelski: 1 - 40. 14. Chmielewski T. J. ed. 2007. Nature Conservation Management: From Idea to Practical Results. European Commission 6th Framework Program: ALTER-Net. PWZN Print 6. Lublin - Łódź - Helsinki - Aarhus: 1 - 263. 15. Chmielewski T. J. 2007. Struktura i funkcjonowanie krajobrazowych systemów ekologicznych Pojezierza Łęczyńsko - Włodawskiego (w: Ostaszewska K., Szumacher I., Kulczyk S., Malinowska E. red. Znaczenie badań krajobrazowych dla zrównoważonego rozwoju). Uniwersytet Warszawski; Warszawa: 419 - 438. 16. Chmielewski T. J., Krogulec J. 2008. Creation of a bottom-up nature conservation Policy in Poland: The Case of The West Polesie Biosphere Reserve. [In:] Keulartz J., Leistra G. eds.: Legitimacy in European Nature Conservation Policy. Case Studies in Multilevel Governance. The International Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics, vol. 14. Springer. Berlin - Heidelberg: 137 - 148. 17. Chmielewski T. J., Chmielewski Sz. 2008. The influence of changes in landscape ecological structure on biodiversity (The West Polesie Biosphere Reserve) [In:] Kędziora A. ed. Papers on Global Change. IGBP Warsaw, vol. 15: 121 - 140 18. Szukalovych I., Chmielewski T. J., Chmielewski S. 2004. Biodiversity of the Prypiat - Stochod Landscape Park in the West Polesie and problems of its protection. Teka Commission of Protection and Formation of Natural Environment; Vol. 1. Polish Academy of Science, Lublin: 202 - 213.


    Existing data (accessibility: limited access)


    the time span data sets
    from early 70\'- ties of XX century1. climate 2. geology, geomorphology, soils 3. characteristic species of plants and animals 4. land use data 5. human population 6. human impact 7. influence of tourists 8. environmental education and public awareness

    Existence and availability of socio-economic data


    administrative level time span kind of data
    voivodeshipfrom 90-ties of XX century1. demographics 2. transportation 3. education 4. emplyment structure


    Link to other long-term monitoring networks




    Expermiental component




    National and International Projects conducted on / related to the site


    • Sixth Framework Programme: A Long - Term Biodiversity Ecosystem and Awareness Research Network (ALTER-Net) (2005 - 2008).


    Housing facilities:


    how many people facility description

    Access to site - how to get to the site (car, bus, railway)


    From Poland - the easiest way of getting to the site is coming to Lublin and then going by bus to Urszulin (the main headquarters of Poleski National Park). From abroad: the closest airport is in Warsaw (180km from Lublin). To Lublin it is possible to go by bus or train.
    (c) LTER 2009, design and engine: neurino