Saturday, December 25, 2010

Land use

The patchwork landscape of Masuria Forests cover 28.8% of Poland’s land area. More than half of the land is devoted to agriculture. While the total area under cultivation is declining, the remaining farmland is more intensively cultivated.

More than 1% of Poland’s territory, 3,145 square kilometers (1,214 sq mi), is protected within 23 national parks. In this respect, Poland ranks first in Europe. Three more national parks are projected for Masuria, the Cracow-Częstochowa Upland, and the eastern Beskids. Most Polish national parks are located in the southern part of the country. In addition, wetlands along lakes and rivers in central Poland are legally protected, as are coastal areas in the north. There are over 120 areas designated as landscape parks, along with numerous nature reserves and other protected areas.

Present day Poland is a country with great agricultural prospects; there are over two million private farms in the country, and Poland is the leading producer in Europe of potatoes and rye and is one of the world's largest producers of sugar beets and triticale. This has led Poland to be described on occasion as the future 'bread basket of the European Union'. However, despite employing around 16% of the workforce, agricultural output in Poland remains low and the industry is characterized as largely inefficient due to the large number of small, independent farms. This situation is likely to soon change for the better with the government debating agricultural reform and currently pursuing the option of auctioning off large tracts of state-owned agricultural land

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