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Environmental
protection
Making the forests
available to society
Supplying timber
for industrial needs

The State Forests have been caring for Polish forests since 1924.

What is our job about? We are looking for a compromise between the needs of people, nature, and the economy.

We would like the forests to be available to everyone, so that anybody can enter them and enjoy what is best about them: the fresh air, the peace and quiet, beautiful landscapes, interesting natural life, as well as fresh fruit and edible mushrooms.

We also supply the economy with timber, used to make items we use every day, such as furniture, toys, paper, to name but three.

We need to remember to take care of our forests if we do not want them to expire soon. That is why we take care to ensure that the number of growing trees is greater than the number of those cut down each year. We protect the forest from vandalism and look out for the animals which inhabit it, to make sure they live in good conditions.

We are here to make sure the forest grows steadily and serves us all.

WE ARE HERE
FOR THE FOREST
FOR THE PEOPLE

Only the state, as an owner, can make good use, through reasonable forestry management, of all the economic, natural and cultural advantages the forests bring to our country

— Adam Loret - the first general manager
of the State Forests

The Setting Up of the State Forests

After the First World War the Polish government had to tackle many difficulties. One of them was the necessity to take care of dwindling forest resources. Large-scale devastation, mismanagement and fragmentation of forest property between many owners contributed to the scale of the task. Everybody agreed that a complex management system was needed. That is why on 28 June 1924 the company, Polskie Lasy Państwowe (Polish State Forests), was set up.

The First Director

Adam Loret was the first general manager of the State Forests, from 1934 until the outbreak of the Second World War.

He integrated and clarified the structure of the State Forest. He catalogued all the forests, which for years had been managed by the three occupying powers during the Partitions of Poland. He brought about the dismantling of the cutting-down concession system, which allowed private companies to wastefully exploit the forest resources. He organized the timber industry and introduced planning into forestry management. He set the State Forests on the road to commerce, but gain was always subservient to the art of forestry. Thanks to Adam Loret, among others, we can now talk about balanced management in forestry, so that the needs of nature, society and economy are all met.

Adam Loret probably died during the first months of the war, murdered by the NKVD.

The destruction of forestry management does not only affect the economic aspect of the life of the nation. The forest also has many other irreplaceable qualities, useful for the country: let us just mention the way it affects the climate, the humidity of the soil, the way it protects the soil, its liveliness,

Foresters at Arms

During the interwar period the forests were one of the more important elements of the country's defence system. Among others, the trained employees of the State Forests were obliged to protect us. Just before war broke out, 12,500 foresters were active in the Komitet Organizacyjny Przysposobienia Wojskowego Leśników (Foresters' Military Training Organizational Committee), which gave them military training and was actively promoting physical education.

The forest will always be a mystery to a military unit it has to go through it. There may be surprises, ambushes inside. The enemy will always try to reconnoitre a forest thoroughly, to scrutinise, before entering with a greater force (…)

Roads have to be as narrow as possible. The less broad a road, the more difficult it is for an aggressor to pass. A narrow road is easier to destroy, easier to block. (...)

The thicker the wall on both sides of the road, the more material there will be to flood the enemy with, the easier the task for the defenders.”

The courage and determination of State Forests employees, as well as other foresters, were invaluable support for the Polish defence forces after the Second World War broke out. The foresters knew their areas like nobody else, they knew where and how to successfully block enemy units, helped organize ambush attacks and supported the resistance movement. Around 1650 foresters were killed in fights or executed in the areas occupied by the Third Reich.

In the East, foresters came to be considered “enemies of the system”. About three thousand foresters were killed on the spot by invading Red Army soldiers. The list of people killed in Katyn contains the names of 724 foresters.

We Pay for Ourselves

We earn our living ourselves and we do not spend more than we make - this simple rule has stood in the State Forests since the 1930s. Thanks to its application Polish taxpayers do not have to finance the forests in the way citizens do in other European countries. All the activities connected with the protection, cultivation, maintenance of the forests, as well as tourism and education, are financed from the State Forests' own income, earned from timber sales.

What is more, the State Forests themselves support the state's budget on an unprecedented scale. Since 2016 it is going to be the equivalent of 2% of our timber sales amounting to thousands of millions of zloties each year.

One Forest, Many Uses

As soon as the State Forests started functioning, a change in the way of thinking about forests had to be introduced. Until then timber extraction was the most important business. The money made on timber was supposed to be a third of the budget for the new, independent Polish state. Fortunately, there were people like Adam Loret, who noticed that the riches of the forest would be quickly destroyed if such an approach were maintained.

Since then we have been trying to accommodate the needs of man and those of nature, even though they are often contradictory.

We make sure that forestry management, which provides the economy with timber, is conducted according to the rules of sustained development. We encourage everybody to spend their leisure time in the forests. We also take care to protect the biodiversity of the forests, and we protect them from many dangers: natural disasters, insect plagues, tree diseases, fires, pollution, as well as the results of poaching and vandalism.

The First Director
One Forest, Many Uses
We Pay for Ourselves
The Setting Up of the State Forests
Foresters at Arms

The development of a forest from seed to full-grown tree can take as long as 150 years. That is why one has to be considerate at every stage of forest management planning. First of all, we need to remember that we cannot let human needs and economy become more important than nature and its own needs.

Forest Acreage in Poland is Growing

Countries with balanced forest management, such as Poland, will never run out of wood. It might be a surprise to some people, but despite the urban sprawl and construction of new roads, each year there is more forest acreage in our country.

Not only the area, but also the amount of wood per hectare and average age of trees are steadily growing.

1945
Poland’s afforestation rate: 20,8%
Forested area: 6,5 m ha
Forested area per capita: 0,27 ha
Standing timber: 906 m cubic metres

2014
Poland’s afforestation rate: 29,4%
Forested area: 9,2 m ha
Forested area per capita: 0,24 ha
Standing timber: 2469 m cubic metres

More Than Economy

Polish forests are no longer thought of as a mainly economic issue. Nowadays, foresters are trying to apply balanced forest management and combine preservation of nature with the availability of forests to society.

Everybody is welcome to seek peace and quiet in the forests. Stress, noise, haste and a polluted environment are the everyday conditions many of us have to face. They cause fatigue and illness. Forests can cure many of those ailments, and thanks to State Forests they are available to everybody without prescription, and completely free.

We take care to preserve the forests' biodiversity. We protect them from many dangers, such as natural disasters, insect plagues, tree diseases, fires, pollution, as well as from the effects of poaching and vandalism.

Never Cut Down More Trees Than Are Growing

In 1772 the German mining manager Hans Carl von Carlovitz, who had to deal with wood shortages, decided to adopt a policy never to let foresters cut down more trees than those that grow each year. This approach allows the forest to renew itself and serve many subsequent generations.

In Poland forests were initially subservient to economy and state finances: they had to supply industry with resources and generate income for the state treasury, which was in particular need after the First World War. Thankfully, from the 1930s our country started to apply Carlovitz's rule of balanced forest management. Adam Loret was an especially important proponent of the rule. Currently at State Forests we cut down only half the number of trees that grow each year. The rest are allowed to grow, so that they become standing timber.

Forest Acreage in Poland is Growing
More Than Economy
Never Cut Down More Trees Than Are Growing
What Can Be Made of Wood?
What Can Be Made of Wood?

Supposedly the human race has already found thirty thousand ways to use wood and the results of its processing. Wood is light, but at the same time almost as durable as steel. It is great protection from noise, and even better isolation from cold. It does not conduct electricity. It is easy to work with. Some kinds of wood are hard, some are soft: they can be used for various purposes. Wood looks great and smells good. Even though we can choose from a wide variety of metals, glass and concrete, as well as many other materials invented throughout the centuries, nothing like wood has so far been invented.

Usage of wood:
Houses, chairs, hangers, toys, books, clocks, windows, pencils, boats, wardrobes, stairs, roofs, guitars.

The forest is the least human-influenced type of landscape. That is why thousands of plant and animal species live there. Biodiversity makes a forest stronger and healthier. It is a place both for giant trees and inconspicuous flies, majestic herbivores and small insects.

Predatory Bird Protection

Over thirty years ago the project of zone-based protection of predatory bird nests started. The zones around the birds' nest are exempt from forestry works during the hatching period, and in some cases, all year long. The white-tailed eagle is a great example of the effectiveness of the method. A few decades ago it was threatened with extinction in Poland, but now there are more than 1000 pairs nesting in the country.

Protective zones were also created for fourteen other species, such as the golden eagle, the lesser spotted eagle, and the Eurasian eagle-owl.

How the Puszcza Bialowieska Primeval Forest Was Saved

Puszcza Bialowieska is the last area in Europe where primeval forest has survived. 1929 was a crucial date for its survival: the Polish government broke a timber extraction contract with the Century European Timber Corporation. The contract was supposed to be valid for 10 years, but the massive scale of the extraction performed by the English company in the primeval forest convinced the government to break the contract before its expiry date.

The decision was made at great cost. The Century company obtained a refund and a return of the investment it had made, which collectively amounted to more than half a million pounds. The State Forests paid the gigantic (at the time) amount from their own income. Currently a large part of the Puszcza Bialowieska is one of the most interesting national parks in Europe. The remaining part is under the supervision of chief foresters of the Bialowieża, Browsk and Hajnówka disctricts.

European Bison

The European bison is the largest terrestrial mammal on the continent. About a third of the population over 1,300 live in the Puszcza Białowieska. In 1914 there were almost 800 specimens here, but the First World War and poaching caused the extinction of the species in the primeval forest. In 1929, with the help of foresters, bison were brought to Białowieża from Germany and Sweden. The species was reintroduced in the Puszcza Białowieska.

A large population of bison (nearly 350 specimens) lives in the Bieszczady Mountains. In Muczne foresters have constructed an exhibition corral, where more than a dozen animals can be seen.

Since 1955 foresters have also taken care of the bison herd in the Puszcza Borecka. The bison were brought there from the Puszcza Niepolomicka. The animals, kept in the Borki Nadleśnictwo forestry management pens, left the enclosure during repair works and started living in the wild. Currently there are about ninety bison living on the loose in the Puszcza Borecka.

In 1973 foresters came up with the idea to resettle five bison from the Puszcza Bialowieska to the Puszcza Knyszynska. Forty years later the forest is inhabited by more than 130 specimens.

In winter, thanks to a camera installed by the foresters, the Puszcza Bialowieska bison can be seen online. See bison online.

“Przytulisko” Sanctuary for Wounded Animals

The State Forests have a few sanctuaries for wounded wild animals. The “Przytulisko” facility, managed by the Nadleśnictwo Krynki forestry management, helps many species of animals, both rare and common. Every year a few dozen healed animals leave the sanctuary.

Natural Treasures

More than 80% of all kinds of natural reserves in Poland are under the management of the State Forests. The areas which belong to the European Natura 2000 network, dedicated to the protection of endangered species and their habitats, take up 40% of the overall State Forests area.

The national parks are the most valuable part of Polish natural life. Before the Second World War they were already operating within the structures of the State Forests. Foresters were often their creators and took care of the parks together with biologists. After the war parks were also frequently created on State Forests areas. Currently more than 60% of our national park territory is forest, which is often the most valuable habitat in the park.

Protection of Endangered Species

The bison is just one of the numerous species which have been reintroduced thanks to the efforts of foresters. Foresters from the Wisła forestry management district are breeding the endangered wood grouse. Foresters from Jedwabne are fighting for the survival of the black grouse on the former range, “Muszaki”. Bialystok foresters have taken up the breeding of the lesser spotted eagle. Their colleagues from Rytel are working to better the living conditions of bats, living in the Bory Tucholskie. The chief foresters of Olsztyn are taking care of the lynx population of the Masuria region. Many more examples of State Forests employees caring for endangered animals, as well as plants, can be found.

Predatory Bird Protection
How the Puszcza Bialowieska Primeval Forest Was Saved
European Bison
“Przytulisko” Sanctuary for Wounded Animals
Natural Treasures
Protection of Endangered Species
Natural Reserves in Poland
Natural Reserves in Poland

These separated areas of exceptional value to natural life have been preserved in their natural or barely changed state. That is why forestry works are limited there.

Total numbers of reserves: 1481
- In National State Forests: 1272
- Other: 209

Total area of reserves: 166.000 ha
- In National State Forests: 122.300 ha
- Other: 42.700 ha

Cherry in Thick Gel with Xylitol

Xylitol is a natural sweetner, found in the thick wood of various deciduous trees, such as birch. It looks and tastes very similar to sugar, but is healthier. It is also 40% less caloric than sugar and contains 75% less carbohydrates, so that it is easier to digest. Xylitol decreases the appetite for sweets.

Put 500 grams of stoned cherries in a pot, add half a glass of xylitol and heat. When the fruit starts to boil, add two spoons of lemon juice and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add 2 flat teaspoons of potato starch, dissolved in 1/3 glass of water and mix intensely. Slowly add 3 teaspoons of gelatine dissolved in half a glass of water and mix thoroughly. Pour the hot cherry in thick gel into jars and leave until the following day. Store in a fridge.

Cherry in thick gel should be gelatinous. Before serving it needs just to be lightly warmed in warm water.

Acorn Flour Pierogi with Groats and Vegetables

Oak acorns, and especially the flour they can be ground into, were used by primitive peoples in several regions of Europe. They allowed them to fulfil their basic need for starch. Acorns were often eaten after baking in a bonfire.

Mix 200 grams of wheat flour and 100 grams of acorn flour. Add yolk and salt, and mix. Add 200 ml of hot water and knead. If needed, add some more water. Leave for 20 minutes.

Chop an onion and a garlic clove. Pour four spoons of oil into a pot, add the onion, and stew for some time. Add 200 ml of rinsed and somewhat dried groats and a twig of thyme, and simmer for about 2 minutes. Pour in 260 ml of hot water, cover and cook on a large light, under cover until the groats absorb the water. Then reduce the heat and cook for about 10 minutes.

When the groats are cooked, add 100 grams of cooked and peeled broad bean, 100 grams of cooked and cut string bean, and a chopped parsley. Season with pepper and salt.

Roll the dough, not too thin. Cut it into squares with 8-9 cm sides. Put the stuffing in the middle of the squares, fold into triangles and clamp the joining with a fork.

Cook in water with some salt and two spoons of oil. When the pierogi are cooked, take them out with a colander and put away for a moment, so they can cool off. Fry on both sides, on oil.

St. Hubert's Roe Deer Haunch

Roe deer meat is a good source of protein, as much as other game meat. It contains little fat. Its caloric value is similar to that of lamb meat.

Prepare the marinade: slice an onion and a carrot. Pour two bottles of red wine into the pot, add rosemary leaves (one twig), crushed laurel leaf, six crushed cloves, 12 grains of juniper and 12 grains of pepper.

Clean the roe deer haunch (about 2 kilos), pour the marinade over it, and leave for 24 hours. Take it out of the fridge, dry it, and add salt and pepper. Put the haunch into a baking pan and pour it over with three spoons of oil and molten butter. Bake for about 40 minutes at 200°C.

Halfway through the baking add the marinade vegetables and sprinkle the haunch with powdered sugar. After baking place the meat in a warm place.

Put the sauce from the frying pan into a mixer. Add a spoon of currant jelly, the juice from half a lemon, add salt and pepper, put in a gravy-boat after mixing.

Beaver Tail

Nowadays beavers are a protected species, but in old Poland eating a beaver tail was nothing out of the ordinary. Beavers live in water and their tails are covered with a texture which looks like scales, so our ancestors would classify them as fish. A beaver tail was considered a fast-day delicacy.

Cream-Stewed Boletes

King bolete is one of the tastiest and most sought-after of the edible mushrooms. Most frequently it is used for bigos, sauerkraut with mushrooms, uszka for red borsch, mushroom pierogi and many other traditional dishes of the Polish cuisine.

Clean one kilogramme of mushrooms, Cut off the stems, parboil the cap, cut the larger ones in half. Simmer two onions cut into small pieces on butter. Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with water and stew on a small light for about 20 minutes. Add cream, salt and pepper. Stew for 10 more minutes.

The dish can be an elegant appetizer, a separate dish, or it can accompany roast.

Cherry in Thick Gel with Xylitol
Acorn Flour Pierogi with Groats and Vegetables
St. Hubert's Roe Deer Haunch
Beaver Tail
Cream-Stewed Boletes
The gifts of the forest

Every year twenty million kilos of edible mushrooms await pickers in Polish forests. One can also gather blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, rose-bush, hawthorn, cranberry, hazel nuts, and many other kinds of edible fruit and nuts. Venison is another recommendable gift of the forest. It is a healthier and more natural alternative to meat found in shops.

Cherry in Thick Gel with Xylitol

Xylitol is a natural sweetner, found in the thick wood of various deciduous trees, such as birch. It looks and tastes very similar to sugar, but is healthier. It is also 40% less caloric than sugar and contains 75% less carbohydrates, so that it is easier to digest. Xylitol decreases the appetite for sweets.

Put 500 grams of stoned cherries in a pot, add half a glass of xylitol and heat. When the fruit starts to boil, add two spoons of lemon juice and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add 2 flat teaspoons of potato starch, dissolved in 1/3 glass of water and mix intensely. Slowly add 3 teaspoons of gelatine dissolved in half a glass of water and mix thoroughly. Pour the hot cherry in thick gel into jars and leave until the following day. Store in a fridge.

Cherry in thick gel should be gelatinous. Before serving it needs just to be lightly warmed in warm water.

Acorn Flour Pierogi with Groats and Vegetables

Oak acorns, and especially the flour they can be ground into, were used by primitive peoples in several regions of Europe. They allowed them to fulfil their basic need for starch. Acorns were often eaten after baking in a bonfire.

Mix 200 grams of wheat flour and 100 grams of acorn flour. Add yolk and salt, and mix. Add 200 ml of hot water and knead. If needed, add some more water. Leave for 20 minutes.

Chop an onion and a garlic clove. Pour four spoons of oil into a pot, add the onion, and stew for some time. Add 200 ml of rinsed and somewhat dried groats and a twig of thyme, and simmer for about 2 minutes. Pour in 260 ml of hot water, cover and cook on a large light, under cover until the groats absorb the water. Then reduce the heat and cook for about 10 minutes.

When the groats are cooked, add 100 grams of cooked and peeled broad bean, 100 grams of cooked and cut string bean, and a chopped parsley. Season with pepper and salt.

Roll the dough, not too thin. Cut it into squares with 8-9 cm sides. Put the stuffing in the middle of the squares, fold into triangles and clamp the joining with a fork.

Cook in water with some salt and two spoons of oil. When the pierogi are cooked, take them out with a colander and put away for a moment, so they can cool off. Fry on both sides, on oil.

St. Hubert's Roe Deer Haunch

Roe deer meat is a good source of protein, as much as other game meat. It contains little fat. Its caloric value is similar to that of lamb meat.

Prepare the marinade: slice an onion and a carrot. Pour two bottles of red wine into the pot, add rosemary leaves (one twig), crushed laurel leaf, six crushed cloves, 12 grains of juniper and 12 grains of pepper.

Clean the roe deer haunch (about 2 kilos), pour the marinade over it, and leave for 24 hours. Take it out of the fridge, dry it, and add salt and pepper. Put the haunch into a baking pan and pour it over with three spoons of oil and molten butter. Bake for about 40 minutes at 200°C.

Halfway through the baking add the marinade vegetables and sprinkle the haunch with powdered sugar. After baking place the meat in a warm place.

Put the sauce from the frying pan into a mixer. Add a spoon of currant jelly, the juice from half a lemon, add salt and pepper, put in a gravy-boat after mixing.

Beaver Tail

Nowadays beavers are a protected species, but in old Poland eating a beaver tail was nothing out of the ordinary. Beavers live in water and their tails are covered with a texture which looks like scales, so our ancestors would classify them as fish. A beaver tail was considered a fast-day delicacy.

Cream-Stewed Boletes

King bolete is one of the tastiest and most sought-after of the edible mushrooms. Most frequently it is used for bigos, sauerkraut with mushrooms, uszka for red borsch, mushroom pierogi and many other traditional dishes of the Polish cuisine.

Clean one kilogramme of mushrooms, Cut off the stems, parboil the cap, cut the larger ones in half. Simmer two onions cut into small pieces on butter. Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with water and stew on a small light for about 20 minutes. Add cream, salt and pepper. Stew for 10 more minutes.

The dish can be an elegant appetizer, a separate dish, or it can accompany roast.

Cherry in Thick Gel with Xylitol
Acorn Flour Pierogi with Groats and Vegetables
St. Hubert's Roe Deer Haunch
Beaver Tail
Cream-Stewed Boletes
What Can You Do In the Forest?
What Can We Offer?

Visiting a forest is the best way to relax. In State Forests these are available for free:

150 species of medicinal plants
22.000 km of walking trails
19.000 km of biking trails
7.000 km of equestrian trails
600 camping sites
3.160 parking spaces and stops

What Can We Offer?
Bieszczady Railway
Bieszczady Railway

Twelve kilometres of adventure and unforgettable views await the visitor on the track of the Bieszczady Forest Railway. This unusual narrow-gauge railway sets off from the picturesque station in Majdan, near Cisna. During the season when it is operational, from May to October, the railway is used by almost 100,000 tourists.

Dark-Sky Park
Dark-Sky Park

Beautiful night sky and a lot of astronomical knowledge is the recipe for success. That is what the creators of the Dark-Sky Park say. It is the first such enterprise in Europe, directed at drawing people's attention to the necessity to protect the natural environment from light pollution at night. The well-preserved natural environment is an additional asset of this extraordinary spot in the Izera Mountains.

Karnieszewice Arboretum
Arboretum w Karnieszewicach

Huge tulip trees, as well as big sweet chestnut trees, ash, beech and other trees and bushes from almost every part of the world encourage you to visit the arboretum in Karniszewice. The park affords visitors the opportunity to see 15,000 species of rare plants. Some of them are real botanical gems. Douglas firs grown here reach a height of forty metres and are four metres in circumference.

Tell me and I forget; teach me and I may remember; involve me and I will learn.

— Confucius

Education is one of the important tasks State Forests have to perform. We believe that exposing the youngest citizens to nature enlivens their curiosity and makes them more sensitive to the world around them. If we allow them to experience nature, they are going to learn to respect its greatness. Our educational facilities are open to everybody.

Green Classes
Green Classes

If you want to understand the forest better, you can count on our help. All forestry management has educators among its staff. Forest work and exploring nature are their passions. You can also meet them in the cities, at schools or during fairs.

992 didactic trails
Over 548 educational huts
272 educational halls
58 centres of ecological education

Forest Education Room in Katowice
Forest Education Room in Katowice

In the basement of the recently renovated Nadleśnictwo Katowice forestry management headquarters you can see numerous exhibits concerned with nature and forestry. Among other things, there are details on forest management, and the diversity of species that live in forests. It is possible to feel the fur of different animals and see a vintage forester's office. Every visitor has access to the hundreds of sounds and descriptions of nature that we have collected. Also included are animal noises and hunting tunes.

Forest in a Box
Forest in a Box

“Forest in a Box” is a mobile natural education facility, prepared by the foresters of Nadleśnictwo Olsztynek forestry management. In a small trailer we have created an interactive display, entitled “Water in the Forest”. It shows visitors why bogs are so valuable, how to take care of peat bogs, how much water trees need and how foresters take care of water resources.

The idea behind “Forest in a Box” is to allow people to discover the forests' mysteries for themselves thanks to models and games hidden in small drawers.

Harvester Operators

For decades timber extraction was performed in almost the same way: lumberjacks, saw in hand, and horses (later on, tractors) with their drivers, carrying the wood away. During the last decade or two, the process has changed a lot. In the beginning of the 1980s the first forwarders were introduced in Poland. In the 1990s harvesters were introduced as well.

A harvester is a multitasking forest machine, which performs a few operations in the timber extraction process: cutting down, delimbing, and bucking (cutting the logs to the desired length). In our forests harvesters are seen more and more frequently, because extraction is much more efficient with their help than with a traditional saw. Buying a machine and training an operator is a big investment, but it pays off very quickly.

Timber Extraction

Technological progress affects forest management as much as other branches of the economy. Thanks to technology, foresters' work becomes easier and more efficient. Axes have not been used in a long time, and saws are used mainly in the most difficult places, where machines cannot get through. Harvesters and forwarders are becoming commonplace. Modern technology allows us to minimize the damage done to forests: modern machinery is built according to very strict environmental norms. More and more often biodegradable oils are used, thick tyres reduce the pressure the machines have on the ground, and long cranes make it possible to move a bark without damaging other trees.

In young stands skid tracks are planned as paths for the timber extraction machines. They are also used for cutting trees down or felling them, or administering forest protection measures. All that is done to avert damage to the soil and to growing trees.

Since the 1990s State Forests are using the State Forest Information System, a computer system which is continuously developed and modernized. Every forester uses an electronic device to record the timber extracted, instead of thick notebooks and stacks of documents from the previous decades.

Polish Furniture

Furniture made by Polish producers and of Polish wood is recognized worldwide. They are one of our best exports. As many as nine out of ten pieces of furniture made in Poland are sold abroad. We are the fourth exporter and the tenth biggest producer of furniture in the world.

The furniture industry employs nearly 140,000 Poles.

Cone Pickers

The cone picker's job requires a lot of bravery. Not everybody can climb a 50-metre tree to get to the spot with the most cones and come back safely. The cones are sent to a husking plant, where the seeds are prepared for nursery-gardens or for long-term storage. A skilled cone picker can gather as much as three tons of cones during one growing season. Most cone pickers are professional climbers or work at heights in their everyday jobs. They pick cones because they love nature and want to enjoy peaceful work in the forest.

Harvester Operators
Timber Extraction
Polish Furniture
Cone Pickers
Market

Forests allow many branches of the economy to function. Apart from foresters themselves, they ensure employment for people in forestry services companies, lumber mills, pulp mills, furniture factories or those involved in collecting edible mushroom or berries. In some regions of Poland, the forest is the main source of income for many families. More than 370,000 people are employed in forest-related positions in the country.

Harvester Operators

For decades timber extraction was performed in almost the same way: lumberjacks, saw in hand, and horses (later on, tractors) with their drivers, carrying the wood away. During the last decade or two, the process has changed a lot. In the beginning of the 1980s the first forwarders were introduced in Poland. In the 1990s harvesters were introduced as well.

A harvester is a multitasking forest machine, which performs a few operations in the timber extraction process: cutting down, delimbing, and bucking (cutting the logs to the desired length). In our forests harvesters are seen more and more frequently, because extraction is much more efficient with their help than with a traditional saw. Buying a machine and training an operator is a big investment, but it pays off very quickly.

Timber Extraction

Technological progress affects forest management as much as other branches of the economy. Thanks to technology, foresters' work becomes easier and more efficient. Axes have not been used in a long time, and saws are used mainly in the most difficult places, where machines cannot get through. Harvesters and forwarders are becoming commonplace. Modern technology allows us to minimize the damage done to forests: modern machinery is built according to very strict environmental norms. More and more often biodegradable oils are used, thick tyres reduce the pressure the machines have on the ground, and long cranes make it possible to move a bark without damaging other trees.

In young stands skid tracks are planned as paths for the timber extraction machines. They are also used for cutting trees down or felling them, or administering forest protection measures. All that is done to avert damage to the soil and to growing trees.

Since the 1990s State Forests are using the State Forest Information System, a computer system which is continuously developed and modernized. Every forester uses an electronic device to record the timber extracted, instead of thick notebooks and stacks of documents from the previous decades.

Polish Furniture

Furniture made by Polish producers and of Polish wood is recognized worldwide. They are one of our best exports. As many as nine out of ten pieces of furniture made in Poland are sold abroad. We are the fourth exporter and the tenth biggest producer of furniture in the world.

The furniture industry employs nearly 140,000 Poles.

Cone Pickers

The cone picker's job requires a lot of bravery. Not everybody can climb a 50-metre tree to get to the spot with the most cones and come back safely. The cones are sent to a husking plant, where the seeds are prepared for nursery-gardens or for long-term storage. A skilled cone picker can gather as much as three tons of cones during one growing season. Most cone pickers are professional climbers or work at heights in their everyday jobs. They pick cones because they love nature and want to enjoy peaceful work in the forest.

Harvester Operators
Timber Extraction
Polish Furniture
Cone Pickers
The Forest Supplies Us With Jobs

Working in the forest is more of a calling than a job. One has to love this kind of work and be one hundred per cent dedicated.

A Forester's Work

A forester's work might actually be entirely different every day. For example, nature changes constantly and decides what the forester has to do. The work is mostly about planning, management, and constant communication with other people.

On a Monday, a forester might be hiking through long forest routes, planning tree protection activities for the next year. On a Tuesday, he or she might be talking to customers who came to the forestry management office to buy firewood. On a Wednesday, he or she might be outside, monitoring forest works and giving instruction to a forestry services company manager. On a Friday he or she might be planning a new forest road together with a surveyor. The weekend could be spent on alert because of a danger of fire. In the meantime, the forester has to oversee the transport of timber, place insect traps to catch borers, help in the search for missing tourists or take care of a wounded animal, brought in by local inhabitants.

Next week is going to be similar, but different, in one way or another.

Where Does the Greeting “Darz bór!” Come From?

The greeting, peculiar to Polish forests, was invented almost 100 years ago by a forestry inspector from Poznań, Stanisław Wyrwiński. He was a great patriot and did not accept the German call, “Waldheil!”, which Greater Poland foresters were starting to use. He came up with a Polish greeting: “Darz bór!”, which he presented during the foresters' gathering in 1920. It was quickly accepted not only by foresters, but also by hunters, mushroom pickers, photographers of natural life, and anyone working or spending their free time in the forest.

How to Become a Forester in Three Steps

1. You have to want to be one, and to know why

A forester's job is not as easy as you might expect. It is worth getting acquainted with it as soon as possible. If you like living around nature, and you are studying at middle school, you might choose one of the technical schools of forestry. If you are already in high school, all is not yet lost. You can try one of the renowned forestry departments at universities in Kraków, Poznan or Warsaw.

2. You have to develop your interests constantly

A forester is simultaneously a naturalist, a manager, a ranger and a local leader. The job needs involvement, passion, and a lot of work.

3. You have to be persistent

Forestry education is peculiar. You have to be able to think and decide for yourself while dealing with nature and learning its secrets. A real forester has to be passionate about the forest, which becomes his or her job for their entire life.

Where Is the Gajowy of Old?

Before the war a gajowy (forest ranger) was a guardian of a small part of a forest, called an obchód. He would protect the forest from devastation and be a “family forester” of sorts. Gajowy was the lowest position in the forestry hierarchy. A gajowy was usually a former forest worker, who was promoted to help the foresters.

The new forestry law, introduced in 1991, changed the requirements for Forest Service employees. Many of these forest rangers attended complimentary education and were promoted. Currently the beginner forester position is called podleśniczy. The last gajowy is soon to be retired.

A Forester's Work
Where Does the Greeting “Darz bór!” Come From?
How to Become a Forester in Three Steps
Where Is the Gajowy of Old?

Forest work has to be planned a few decades in advance. Trees planted today will quite possibly have to face a much more difficult climate in the future. That is why the goal of the State Forests is to cultivate stable and durable stands.

Reforestation

Many Polish forests are undergoing the so-called tree stand conversion process. It results from a new approach to forestry management. Soon after the Second World War forests were treated mostly as a source of timber. Fast-growing species with low requirements, such as spruce and pine, were usually grown in nurseries back then. Currently more attention is being paid to biodiversity and to reproducing the way things happen in nature. Deciduous trees such as beech, oak, and lime are being introduced into stands. Pine, which dominates in most stands (60,5% of trees), is currently only 28% of the seedlings planted. Oak, birch, beech, alder, sycamore, lime and maple trees are planted more often than ever before.

Forest Gene Bank and Nursery-Gardens

In places where trees are not naturally growing from seeds, falling from already grown ones, seedlings have to be cultivated and planted. The seeds are obtained from the genetically best stands. They also have to come from varied stands to ensure genetic diversity. The seeds are prepared in the nineteen State Forests husking mills. Some of the material is stored in the repository, and some are sent directly to nursery-gardens. The most modern nursery-gardens are container nurseries, which grow seedlings with active root systems. Such seedlings are planted in especially difficult soils, where plants have to be very durable.

To protect the biodiversity of forests, the Kostrzyca Forest Gene Bank was created in 1996. The institution gathers and stores genetic material from trees and forest bushes important to environmental protection, coming from national parks, nature reserve, or natural monuments.

Volunteer Work

Some of the mass reforestations of the 1960s and the 1970s were conducted by volunteer work. At the time unpaid work was organized, mostly on Sundays, for the benefit of the Socialist fatherland. Many of the works were conducted in forests, and foresters had to take part in the organization of such activities. Volunteer work was also obligatory for chief foresters and their office co-workers, so that on some days they had to help their worker friends with planting trees, cultivating seedlings or cleaning fire breaks.

Even though this has to some extent contributed to the increase in our country's forestation, the quality of the work was quite often insufficient. In some cases, cultivation had to be started from scratch several times before any results could be seen.

Reforestation
Forest Gene Bank and Nursery-Gardens
Volunteer Work
Forest Life Cycle
Forest Fires

Contrary to popular belief, forest fires do not happen most frequently in the summer, but in spring, especially April and May, when some people burn old grass, dried during the winter season. The vast majority (more than 90%) of forest fires are caused by deliberate or accidental human activity. Foresters protect the forests from fires using, among other things, a net of prognostic devices, measuring the humidity of pine mulch and the air. They also create fire breaks in forests, using patrol/fire-fighter aircraft. During the season when the danger of fire is the highest, planes are constantly patrolling the forest areas. The planes can also take part in extinguishing a fire, if one does happen.

Dangerous Insects

Seasonal swarming of some insect species (an outbreak) is a serious danger to the continuity of a forest ecosystem. The foresters' duty is to prevent such situations or to reduce the number of harmful insects.

The most damage is caused by insects whose caterpillars or larvae nibble or eat leaves or needles. The insects, which eat roots of trees or bushes, also cause considerable damage. In recent years the populations of common cockchafer, forest cockchafer, nun moth, pine-tree lappet, sawflies, pine beauty and green oak tortrix are considered the most dangerous.

In autumn foresters check the number of larvae and grubs of insects hibernating in the mulch, so that they can estimate the danger for the next year. To limit the number of exceedingly numerous insects they place various kinds of traps, quickly remove the trees taken over by insects, or spray insecticides in the forest.

Hurricane in the Puszcza Piska Primeval Forest

On 4th July 2002, a powerful hurricane swept over Masuria. It caused widespread devastation in the Piska, Borecka and Romnicka Puszczas, or primeval forests. The gale reached speeds as high as 170 kilometres per hour and destroyed more than 45 thousand hectares of forests in more than a dozen forestry management districts. It was one of the greatest natural disasters in Polish forestry since the Second World War.

Most of the damage was located in a belt, 130 kilometres long and 15 kilometres wide. The wind and broken trees damaged almost a thousand buildings, power lines, cars and boats. More than ten people were injured. Fortunately there were no fatalities.

The removal of the effects of the hurricane took eight years. In just the first two years after the hurricane the districts that suffered damage due to the disaster spent 120 million zloties repairing the damage.

Fire in Rudy Raciborskie

The fire, which broke out on 26th April 1992 near Kuźnia Raciborska was not only the biggest fire in the history of Polish forestry, but also one of the biggest forest fires in Europe after the Second World War.

Everything started with sparks, coming from the wheels of a stopping train. Because the Polish State Railways had neglected their duty to create fire breaks around the tracks, the sources of fire soon reached the forest itself. The mulch was extremely dry because of a heat wave. Initially it seemed that the fire could be kept under control, but soon it started to spread rapidly. Six hours later there were already 2000 hectares of forest on fire, and at night the affected area was 3000 hectares. The fire was halted as late as on the fifth day. There were 10 000 people involved in the extinguishing of the fire (two of them, a fireman and a volunteer, died in the process). They used 1100 fire trucks, 26 fire-fighting aircraft, helicopters, tank wagons, and such extraordinary machinery as bulldozers and tanks.

9000 hectares of forest were burned. When the fire was at its height, the area on fire was 120 kilometres in circumference, and 36 kilometres wide from north to south. The last embers were extinguished a month after the fire was over. It is a miracle that no buildings were damaged in the fire, including structures such as the chemical factory in Kędzierzyn-Koźle.

Today the site of the fire is a target of field trips, domestic and from abroad, which demonstrate the way a forest comes back to life after it is destroyed.

The Dying Forests of the Izera Mountains

In the 1980s forests in the Izera Mountains started to die on a massive scale. Anxious tourists saw mountain slopes full of dead, naked trees.

The direct cause of the phenomenon was industrial waste, even though the beginning of the disease in these forest ecosystems can be traced back to the 17th century. That is when intensive settlement and industrial development started: mines and steel factories were built, and the forests were turned into a timber factory. During the next centuries the area was reforested with tree species which grow fast but, are not very durable. In the 1950s four mining and energy complexes were built in Germany, the territory which is currently the Czech Republic, and in Poland, which has proven to be extremely harmful to the environment. At the same time more and more damage was caused by gales. Tending felling was limited at the time due to much sanitation felling, which had to be performed to remove the trees felled by the wind. What is more, in the late 1970s and early 1980s the weakened Izera spruce was attacked by the Larch Tortrix, and subsequently by other pests. Finally, in 1982 the Polish Council of State declared a state of ecological emergency in the Jelenia Góra region.

In the following years massive sanitation felling was conducted together with reforestation, aided by mineral fertilizers. By the turn of the century, the deforested area was almost completely reforested. Nowadays, the forests in the Izera Mountains are entirely different from what they were thirty years ago.

Forest Fires
Dangerous Insects
Hurricane in the Puszcza Piska Primeval Forest
Fire in Rudy Raciborskie
The Dying Forests of the Izera Mountains
The struggle against obstacles

The knowledge of the processes occurring in nature and control of the state of the forests allow foresters to quickly detect any dangers, and quite often to prevent disasters. The dangers a forest is subject to are divided into three groups: biotic (e.g. harmful insects, pathogenic fungi, herbivorous mammals), abiotic (extreme weather, such as strong winds, snow, torrential rain, high or low temperatures), and anthropogenic, caused by man (such as fires, industrial pollution, littering).

Forest Fires

Contrary to popular belief, forest fires do not happen most frequently in the summer, but in spring, especially April and May, when some people burn old grass, dried during the winter season. The vast majority (more than 90%) of forest fires are caused by deliberate or accidental human activity. Foresters protect the forests from fires using, among other things, a net of prognostic devices, measuring the humidity of pine mulch and the air. They also create fire breaks in forests, using patrol/fire-fighter aircraft. During the season when the danger of fire is the highest, planes are constantly patrolling the forest areas. The planes can also take part in extinguishing a fire, if one does happen.

Dangerous Insects

Seasonal swarming of some insect species (an outbreak) is a serious danger to the continuity of a forest ecosystem. The foresters' duty is to prevent such situations or to reduce the number of harmful insects.

The most damage is caused by insects whose caterpillars or larvae nibble or eat leaves or needles. The insects, which eat roots of trees or bushes, also cause considerable damage. In recent years the populations of common cockchafer, forest cockchafer, nun moth, pine-tree lappet, sawflies, pine beauty and green oak tortrix are considered the most dangerous.

In autumn foresters check the number of larvae and grubs of insects hibernating in the mulch, so that they can estimate the danger for the next year. To limit the number of exceedingly numerous insects they place various kinds of traps, quickly remove the trees taken over by insects, or spray insecticides in the forest.

Hurricane in the Puszcza Piska Primeval Forest

On 4th July 2002, a powerful hurricane swept over Masuria. It caused widespread devastation in the Piska, Borecka and Romnicka Puszczas, or primeval forests. The gale reached speeds as high as 170 kilometres per hour and destroyed more than 45 thousand hectares of forests in more than a dozen forestry management districts. It was one of the greatest natural disasters in Polish forestry since the Second World War.

Most of the damage was located in a belt, 130 kilometres long and 15 kilometres wide. The wind and broken trees damaged almost a thousand buildings, power lines, cars and boats. More than ten people were injured. Fortunately there were no fatalities.

The removal of the effects of the hurricane took eight years. In just the first two years after the hurricane the districts that suffered damage due to the disaster spent 120 million zloties repairing the damage.

Fire in Rudy Raciborskie

The fire, which broke out on 26th April 1992 near Kuźnia Raciborska was not only the biggest fire in the history of Polish forestry, but also one of the biggest forest fires in Europe after the Second World War.

Everything started with sparks, coming from the wheels of a stopping train. Because the Polish State Railways had neglected their duty to create fire breaks around the tracks, the sources of fire soon reached the forest itself. The mulch was extremely dry because of a heat wave. Initially it seemed that the fire could be kept under control, but soon it started to spread rapidly. Six hours later there were already 2000 hectares of forest on fire, and at night the affected area was 3000 hectares. The fire was halted as late as on the fifth day. There were 10 000 people involved in the extinguishing of the fire (two of them, a fireman and a volunteer, died in the process). They used 1100 fire trucks, 26 fire-fighting aircraft, helicopters, tank wagons, and such extraordinary machinery as bulldozers and tanks.

9000 hectares of forest were burned. When the fire was at its height, the area on fire was 120 kilometres in circumference, and 36 kilometres wide from north to south. The last embers were extinguished a month after the fire was over. It is a miracle that no buildings were damaged in the fire, including structures such as the chemical factory in Kędzierzyn-Koźle.

Today the site of the fire is a target of field trips, domestic and from abroad, which demonstrate the way a forest comes back to life after it is destroyed.

The Dying Forests of the Izera Mountains

In the 1980s forests in the Izera Mountains started to die on a massive scale. Anxious tourists saw mountain slopes full of dead, naked trees.

The direct cause of the phenomenon was industrial waste, even though the beginning of the disease in these forest ecosystems can be traced back to the 17th century. That is when intensive settlement and industrial development started: mines and steel factories were built, and the forests were turned into a timber factory. During the next centuries the area was reforested with tree species which grow fast but, are not very durable. In the 1950s four mining and energy complexes were built in Germany, the territory which is currently the Czech Republic, and in Poland, which has proven to be extremely harmful to the environment. At the same time more and more damage was caused by gales. Tending felling was limited at the time due to much sanitation felling, which had to be performed to remove the trees felled by the wind. What is more, in the late 1970s and early 1980s the weakened Izera spruce was attacked by the Larch Tortrix, and subsequently by other pests. Finally, in 1982 the Polish Council of State declared a state of ecological emergency in the Jelenia Góra region.

In the following years massive sanitation felling was conducted together with reforestation, aided by mineral fertilizers. By the turn of the century, the deforested area was almost completely reforested. Nowadays, the forests in the Izera Mountains are entirely different from what they were thirty years ago.

Forest Fires
Dangerous Insects
Hurricane in the Puszcza Piska Primeval Forest
Fire in Rudy Raciborskie
The Dying Forests of the Izera Mountains
Functions
of forests
47,4% economic
21,7% waterproofing
8,9% around cities
6,8% damaged by industry
4,6% land protection
1,8% defensive
1,4% nature reserves
7,6% remaining
Employment
Protection of Nature
60,5%7,7%6,8%6,2%5,8%4,6%4%2,5%
60,5%7,7%6,8%6,2%
5,8%4,6%4%2,5%
Dominant tree species

STATE FORESTS INFORMATION CENTER

ul. Grójecka 127
02-124 Warszawa
tel. 22 185 53 53
faks 22 185 53 71
cilp@cilp.lasy.gov.pl

www.lasy.gov.pl

CONTENT AND TEXT

  • Artur Rutkowski (CILP)
  • Sergiusz Sachno (CILP)
  • Małgorzata Haze (CILP)

CONCEPT, WEBSITE DESIGN
AND IMPLEMENTATION

  • Łukasz Musiał (Publicon)
  • Maciej Środa (Publicon)
  • Adam Rękosiewicz

FILM PRODUCTION

Dogfilm Studio Filmowe

EDITING OF FILM CLIPS

  • Bernard Kamiński (Burnart)

PHOTOGRAPHY

  • Tomasz Mrozek
  • Cezary Korkosz
  • Wojciech Mędrzak
  • Tomasz Sczansny
  • Marcin Tomczak
  • Paweł Fabijański
  • Józef Sieczka
  • Grzegorz Gaczyński
  • Jarosław Ramucki
  • Marzena i Czarek (www.astra28.eu)
  • Adam J/Shutterstock
  • Fundacja Bieszczadzkiej Kolei Leśnej
  • Izerski Park Ciemnego Nieba
  • Archiwa nadleśnictw Wisła i Krynki
  • Materiały archiwalne CILP

CONTENT AND TEXT

  • Artur Rutkowski (CILP)
  • Sergiusz Sachno (CILP)
  • Małgorzata Haze (CILP)

CONCEPT, WEBSITE DESIGN
AND IMPLEMENTATION

  • Łukasz Musiał (Publicon)
  • Maciej Środa (Publicon)
  • Adam Rękosiewicz

FILM PRODUCTION

Dogfilm Studio Filmowe

EDITING OF FILM CLIPS

  • Bernard Kamiński (Burnart)

PHOTOGRAPHY

  • Tomasz Mrozek
  • Cezary Korkosz
  • Wojciech Mędrzak
  • Tomasz Sczansny
  • Marcin Tomczak
  • Paweł Fabijański
  • Józef Sieczka
  • Grzegorz Gaczyński
  • Jarosław Ramucki
  • Marzena i Czarek (www.astra28.eu)
  • Adam J/Shutterstock
  • Fundacja Bieszczadzkiej Kolei Leśnej
  • Izerski Park Ciemnego Nieba
  • Archiwa nadleśnictw Wisła i Krynki
  • Materiały archiwalne CILP