Poland’s biodiversity is among the richest in Europe. Its transitional climate which is influenced by oceanic and continental air masses, its favourable geographical position at the centre of the continent with no natural barriers to the east or the west, its varied geological structure, land and hydrographic make-up and soil types make it a good habitat for many plant and animal species.
There is a very good level of knowledge about the biodiversity of Poland. It is estimated that the number of species in the country totals around 63,000, of which 28,000 species are plants and fungi and 35,000 animals (of which around 700 species are vertebrates). There are 485 communities of plants (using the Braun-Blanquet method), which characterizes the entire biodiversity of land, freshwater and marine communities. Around 12 % of them are endemic communities.
Poland is characterised by a rich mosaic of habitats which are the result of traditional lifestyles, particularly in agricultural areas. A considerable portion of agricultural areas has high natural value, providing refuge for threatened flora and fauna. Thanks to small scale agriculture, Poland has retained to this day local crop varieties and traditional breeds.
Nature in Poland has been negatively affected by human development at varying levels within the country: unevenly spread industrialisation and urbanization coexist with large areas characterised by traditional agriculture and extensive ancient forests (the Białowieza Forest is the best preserved area of primeval forest in Europe).