Forests of Poland
Polish forests cover about 30% of Poland's territory, and are mostly owned by the state. Western and northern parts of Poland as well as the Carpathian Mountains in the extreme south, are much more forested than eastern and central provinces.1 The most forested administrative districts of the country are: Lubusz Voivodeship (48,9%), Subcarpathian Voivodeship (37,2%), and Pomeranian Voivodeship (36,1%).1 The least forested are: Łódź Voivodeship (21%), Masovian Voivodeship (22,6%), and Lublin Voivodeship (22,8%).
Forest in Poland occupy the poorest soil. Coniferous type accounts for 54.5%, whereas broadleaved type accounts for 45.5% (out of that, alder and riparian forests account for 3.8%). A number of forested zones are now protected by the Polish government and, in many cases, they have become tourist destinations. Over the years, many of the largest Polish forests have been reduced in size, and that reflected on the structure of forest inhabitation.
Up until the end of the 18th Century, beginning in what is known as the Middle Ages, forests were considered places for travelers and ordinary folk to stay away from, as they were home to bandits and were believed to be inhabited by evil spirits. Law and order did not apply to forests for many centuries, except for self-policing observed and administered by their inhabitants. However, the forests did contain numerous woodsmen and their families who made the best of their remote environment. These woodsmen lived on what the forest could produce, collecting pitch resin for sale ? important as method of illuminating city streets ? logging construction lumber, collecting lime, bees wax, honey, hops, mushrooms and whatever other saleable items could be harvested in the forest and sold in villages outside of it.
Important geographic facts
Poland's territory extends across several geographical regions, between latitudes 49° and 55° N, and longitudes 14° and 25° E. In the north-west is the Baltic seacoast, which extends from the Bay of Pomerania to the Gulf of Gdańsk. This coast is marked by several spits, coastal lakes (former bays that have been cut off from the sea), and dunes. The largely straight coastline is indented by the Szczecin Lagoon, the Bay of Puck, and the Vistula Lagoon. The centre and parts of the north lie within the North European Plain.
Rising above these lowlands is a geographical region comprising the four hilly districts of moraines and moraine-dammed lakes formed during and after the Pleistocene ice age. These lake districts are the Pomeranian Lake District, the Greater Polish Lake District, the Kashubian Lake District, and the Masurian Lake District. The Masurian Lake District is the largest of the four and covers much of north-eastern Poland. The lake districts form part of the Baltic Ridge, a series of moraine belts along the southern shore of the Baltic Sea.
Basic facts about Lower Silesia
Lower Silesia (Polish: Dolny Śląsk; Czech: Dolní Slezsko, Latin: Silesia Inferior; German: Niederschlesien; Silesian German: Niederschläsing; Silesian: Dolny Ślůnsk) is the northwestern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia; Upper Silesia is to the southeast.
Throughout its history Lower Silesia has been under the control of the medieval Kingdom of Poland, the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy from 1526. In 1742 nearly all of the region was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia and became part of the German Empire in 1871, except for a small part which formed the southern part of the Lower Silesian Duchy of Nysa and had been incorporated into Austrian Silesia in 1742. After 1945 the main part of the former Prussian Province of Lower Silesia fell to the Republic of Poland, while a smaller part west of the Oder-Neisse line remained within East Germany