Kampinos National Park
The second largest Polish Park was founded in 1959, covering the area of 38544 ha, of which 75% is taken by the forests, 15% by the arable land, 3% by the waters and swamps. It comprises a fragment of the Kampinos Forest lying in the proglacial valley of the Vistula. The characteristic feature of the landscape is the strip configuration of the dune lying evenly with a parallel of latitude, with the height of 12-20 meters separated by swamp depression.
Among the best preserved inland dunes in Europe there are deep synclines and deflationary basins, which contain small lakes, swamp alder forests.
The dunes are covered mainly by pine forests, with the driest cup-moss forests as well as swamp and mixed forests. There are few deciduous species, some of deciduous trees can be found in small patches of oak woods and forests growing on dry ground. The non-forest plant communities are strongly represented by grass meadow rush, moss-sedge and water communities.
The flora of the Park comprises more than 1000 species of vascular plants, e.g. glacial relics – the leather leaf Chamaedaphne calyculata and the twinflower Linnea borealis, Pontic relics – the cherry Cerasus acida, the Bohemian serpent root Scorzonera humilis and rare species – the Charles’s sceptre Pedicularis screptum-carolinum and the Jacob’s ladder Polemonium coeruleum.
The fauna comprises around 5000 species. The worth mentioning ones are the elk Alces alces restored here since 1951 – the symbol of the Park and the beaver Castor fiber. There are around 160 species of birds here, including the lesser spotted eagle Aquila pomarina.