1. Landscape parks in Kraków
Landscape park: It is an area placed under legal protection because of its unique values of nature or very attractive aesthetic, landscape, cultural, historical or tourist interests. The purpose of declaring an area a landscape park is to preserve, promote and provide access to these attractive features without the cessation of economic activities in the area.
The city limits encompass some small sites covered by the Jurassic Landscape Parks Group, a protected area set up for nature conservation covering the most valuable sites in the Krakow-Czestochowa Jurassic upland. These are fragments of the following Landscape Parks: Bielańsko-Tyniecki, Tenczyński, and Dolinek Krakowskich Landscape Parks, as well as of their buffer zones.
2. Nature reserves in Kraków
Nature reserve: It is an area covered by legal protection in order to preserve natural or semi-natural ecosystems of essential importance to science, nature conservation, culture (heritage) or landscape protection. These areas are divided into strict reserves (excluding any human intervention) and partly protected reserves (where some practices are allowed).
In Kraków there are 5 nature reserves with a combined area of ca. 48.6 hectares, i.e. 0.14% of the city's area.
2.1. The list of nature reserves in Kraków
area: 1,73 ha;
Object of protection: spontaneous processes of forest biocoenoses in a rocky, previously deforested site.
area: 2,29 ha;
Object of protection: geological reserve, geological/tectonic faults, abrasion surfaces, Jurassic, Cretaceous and Tertiary formations uncovered (see more).
area: 6,41 ha;
Object of protection: a Jurassic gorge with limestone outcrops, natural beech wood and oak-hornbeam wood.
area: 1,38 ha;
Object of protection: a rock with xerothermic vegetation.
area: 36,77 ha;
Object of protection: horst limestone hill with diverse bio-coenoses, stations with xerothermic-type fauna (including rare and endangered insect species).
3. Ecological sites in Kraków
Ecological site: This a form of nature protection preserving a certain fragment of an ecosystem which is of importance to the protection of unique gene resources or habitats, e.g. natural bodies of water, little ponds in field and forest ecosystems, tree or bush clusters, swamps, peat bogs, sand dunes, oxbow lakes, rock outcrops, escarpments, gravel banks and patches of vegetation not used for commercial purposes.
Wilderness site in Rząska - (situated partly within Krakow, and partly within the Zabierzów municipality) was declared in 2001, by a resolution of the Zabierzów Municipal Council and by a regulation issued by the Voievode of Małopolska, and which covers some 59 hectares. The purpose of declaring this an ecological site was to protect a marsh violet - a species entered into the Polish Red Book of Plants under the category 'threatened'. It is one of two stations of this species in Poland, and at the same time enjoys the status of a special reference site called locus classicus for this species (the station is actually situated within the Zabierzów municipality area). The ecological site protects also the remnants of forest communities (alder wood community), and aquatic communities: water course flowing from the south-western slopes of Pasternik hill, old ponds of a manor holding that turned into reed and rush communities through succession processes, and some abandoned pastures and fresh meadows no longer used commercially.
Nowa Huta meadows - An ecological site declared by a resolution of the Krakow City Council in 2003, situated near the central square of the Nowa Huta district, and covering some 57 hectares. The purpose of declaring it an ecological site was to protect semi-natural plant communities (wet meadows) in the Vistula river valley with its high biological diversity (see more).
4. Nature monuments in Kraków
Nature monuments: A legally protected living or inanimate object or a group of such objects, characterized by unique scientific, landscape, historical-memorial, or aesthetic values.
Krakow has 192 nature monuments, including 190 trees. The remaining two are: 'Źródło świętojańskie' (a spring) in Tyniec and the erratic boulder near Spółdzielców street.
5. National Ecological Network ECONET-POLAND
The national ecological network ECONET-POLAND is a multi-spatial system of core areas, best preserved in terms of nature and representative of the various natural regions of Poland. These areas 'communicate' with each other through ecological corridors which ensure the continuity of natural ties within the system of areas. The proposed national ecological network constitutes a part of a Pan-European network.
The western part of the Krakow area coincides with the south-eastern border of the proposed core area 16K (Krakow area). This area is of national significance and, moreover, along its northern and north-western sides, borders an area of international significance; namely the area coded as 30M Jura Krakowsko-Częstochowska - a Jurassic area).
And there is also another portion of the town which is located within the ecological 'corridor' of the Vistula (Wisła) river valley. This corridor is also ranked as being of international significance.
6. Corine Biotopes Programme
CORINE (Coordination of Information on the Environment) is an information system pertaining to nature, supervised by the European Environment Agency. This is an EU programme. Among its objectives are determining the 'Status and trends of the components of biological diversity' setting the direction of nature conservation policy and overseeing its implementation. One of the ideas of CORINE conceived in Poland was to set up Corine Biotopes - a programme of selecting natural refuges and inventorying their biological diversity.
Krakow has one of the CORINE refuges - The Bielany-Tyniec refuge (442 dd). This is a nature refuge in the Jura Krakowsko-Częstochowska (Jurassic area) of European significance. The main motives for the protection of this site include plant and animal wildlife, its geo-morphological features and landscape.