Name Slowinski National Park

IUCN Management Category II and IX (National Park and Biosphere Reserve)

Biogeographical Province 2.11.05 (Middle European Forest)

Geographical Location Occupies a 32km stretch of the Baltic coast in the Slupsk Administrative Region, 18km north-east of Slupsk and 71km north-west of Gdansk. 54°39'-54°43'N, 17°03'-17°31'E.

Date and History of Establishment The national park was created by Resolution of the Council of Ministers on January 1967 and approved as a Biosphere Reserve in June 1976.

Area 18,069ha. The national park area has been increased to 18,247ha.

Land Tenure The majority (17,694ha) is in state ownership.

Altitude 0-55m

Physical Features The national park consists of two large lakes (Lake Lebsko and Lake Gardno) separated from the low sandy sea coast by forested sand dune spits. The lakes show a variable salt content and are becoming shallower as deposits brought in by the two main feeder rivers (Leba and Lupawa) build up. The area has ecosystems representative of those found along the south shore of the Baltic Sea, classified into: 1) dunes at various stages of formation; 2) mobile dunes, the highest in Europe (up to 45m), drifting yearly at a rate of 5m per year; 3) depressions between the dunes with characteristic soil formations (gley soils); 4) forested spits separating the coastal lakes from the sea; 5) fossil soils; 6) salt ladened lakes (Leba and Gardno) which are undergoing intermittent salinization; 7) ephemeral lakes in depressions between dunes; 8) coastal peat bogs. The ongoing process of dune formation is encroaching on the forested areas and infilling the lakes.

Climate No information

Vegetation The park area includes 4,532ha of forest and 9,771ha of water areas. The plant communities are zoned from the coast inland starting with a beach community Honckenya peploides, Cakile maritima; pioneer grasses on white sand dunes Elymo-Ammophiletum; and a coastal pine community Empetro nigri-Pinetum, which shows much variety including stands of birch Betuletum pubescentis; pine with a dense bog myrtle understory Vaccinio uliginosa-Pinetum; "atlantic" raised bogs with bog myrtle Myrica gale marshy-heath with Erica tetralix; and pioneer communities in the depressions between dunes. The lake shores of exhibit plant community sequences grading from aquatic with Potamogeton lucentis, Myriophylletum laterniflori to alder woods Alnus glutinosa and to mixed forest of pine-beech and pine-oak. The peatbogs are characterised by the presence of species such as Drosera rotundifolia, D. intermedia, D. anglica and Lycopodium inundatum.

Fauna The bird fauna comprises about 250 species of nesting, migrating and wintering birds. Breeding species include: white-tailed eagle Haliaeetus albicilla, osprey Pandion haliaetus, eagle owl Bubo bubo, short eared owl Asio flammeus, mute swan Cygnus olor, raven Corvus corax, herring gull Larus argentatus, black stork Ciconia nigra and crane Grus grus. A large population of red deer Cervus elaphus inhabits the coastal forest along with roe deer Capreolus capreolus, wild boar Sus scrofa, polecat Mustela putorius, and pine marten Martes martes. The relatively clean water favours the occurrence of salmonid fish whilst the lakes hold both freshwater and salt water species.

Cultural Heritage The village of Kluki (and Smoldzino, which is just outside the park boundary) are of ethnographic interest and the area is known for its ethnic Kaszubian minority the Slowincy.

Local Human Population Within the national park there are seven settlements including the villages of Gac and Kluki, but the area is sparsely inhabited and is remote from large towns.

Visitors and Visitor Facilities Within the national park, visitors are restricted to hiking tracks. Tourist accommodation is located outside the national park boundaries.

Scientific Research and Facilities To date 24 publications have reported research conducted solely in the biosphere reserve, ten reports on botanical subjects, nine on zoological and five on miscellaneous subjects. The research work covers the subjects of soils, geomorphology, palaeobotany, geobotany and ornithology. Mapping of soils and plant communities have been carried out most recently and research projects on palaeobotany, geomorphology, soils and ecology are also continued. A natural history museum is located near the park.

Conservation Value No information

Conservation Management Total

Economic exploitation and human interference is prohibited in the strict protection areas but traditional practices are maintained in the partially protected areas. Dune stabilization has been attempted in the past. Vehicular traffic has been eliminated in favour of hiking which has tended to limit damage to the site.

The national park covers 18,247ha whilst the biosphere reserve covers 18,069ha and includes 5,935ha under strict protection of which 3,264ha are forests. There are two strict reserves on Lake Lebsko and two (one being a small island) on Lake Gardno with a forest-sand dune reserve along almost the entire coastal section. Particular protection is given to dunes on spits; bird nesting areas on the lakes and lakeshores; soil formations on the dunes; stands of cloud berry Rubus chamaemorus; and forests on peat soils. The remainder of the national park is under partial protection.

Management Constraints No significant modifications in the ecosystems have occurred within Slowinski National park. and the small settlements present exert a minimal influence upon the environment. Before establishment of the national park, there was little forest exploitation in the area this being limited to gathering berries and mushrooms, and the use of peat as a fuel. Agriculture was neither extensive nor intensive. The influx of tourists has increased greatly since the park was established with the greatest activity along the hiking tracks.

Staff Fourteen field guards for protection; two research workers

Budget No information

Local Addresses

Slowinsky Park Narodowy, 76-124 Smoldzino, Poland.


Bibliography of over 130 references is on file with MAB Secretariat, Unesco, Paris.

Gawlowska, J. (1978). Wykaz prac naukowych prowadzonych aktualnie w polshich rezerwatach biosfery Chronmy Przyrode Ojczysta R. 34 z. 3. Pp. 74-85.

Date 1976, revised August 1986