This case study is part of the AgriLink innovation cluster Common management of natural resources (COMM). It was implemented in focus region of Siedlecki, Poland (NUTS3 PL12E).
Siedleckie is a region characterized by high natural potential on the national scale and a high concentration of Natura 2000 areas, where activities are carried out in the field of preservation of certain types of valuable natural habitats and species. Simultaneously, Siedleckie is part of the regions in Poland characterized by a significant role of the agricultural sector. The favourable conditions for conducting agricultural activity (mainly crop production) are primarily determined by favourable soil and climate factors, a large share of arable land and the highest share of farmland in Poland in the total area (70.0%).
The natural potential of the region is much better compared to the average values in Poland. There is a high index of the quality of agricultural production space, which includes: soil quality, water conditions, climate, and land relief. For these reasons, Siedleckie is the leader region in the production of many agricultural and fruit crops, like berries (raspberries, currants, strawberries), fruit orchards (mainly apples), legumes (peas, beans, broad beans), and cereals, ground vegetables and potatoes.
Agriculture has important production functions, mainly related to the production of agricultural produce. The subordination of agricultural ecosystems to food production cannot, however, affect the balance of the environment. Production should be in full harmony with the privilege of nature. Biodiversity is fundamental to the functionality, stability and productivity of each of the ecosystems that underlie life and all human activity. The products and functions it provides are essential to maintaining human well-being and for future economic and social development.
Protecting ecosystems is an important and challenging task, especially in rural areas. Negative environmental changes, caused by human activity, threaten the stability of ecosystems and the disappearance of species and precious natural habitats. Reducing threats is the biggest challenge of ecological policy both in Poland and in the European and global scale.
Preventing degradation of the landscape and maintaining its proper functioning, while optimizing the use of the production function, requires multidirectional measures, with the most appropriate of which is shaping the spatial structure of the landscape and using the appropriate set of agricultural practices. A properly structured rural landscape should include, in addition to agricultural land, elements of ecological infrastructure such as: midfield afforestation, small and medium surface ecosystems of natural and semi-natural habitats, ecological corridors, buffer zones, ditches, ponds, etc. The number and distribution of these landscape elements should ensure the ecological order within the landscape structure. Such a landscape, with a properly shaped network of semi-natural ecosystems, is the basis for optimizing the agricultural economy.
Full report is available here.
Agricultural Advisory Center (AAC),
The Agricultural Advisory Center is a government institution subordinated to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The Center is an operator that cooperates with agricultural advisory organizations, government and self-government administration institutions, professional associations, research and development units, as well as other entities working for the development of agriculture and rural areas in Poland. The purpose of current activities is the improvement of knowledge and qualifications of advisory staff as well as increase and unification of standards of services provided by advisers for farmers and other rural dwellers.