The most important forms of nature conservation in Poland are national parks supervised directly by the Ministry of the Environment. National parks were established within the area previously maintained by the foresters of the State Forests – very often they themselves initialized the establishment of national parks. Thanks to their effort the nature conservation within the scope of national parks is exceptional.
Within the area of the State Forests we may distinguish:
Nature reserves – excluded areas of outstanding nature value, preserved in a primary state or a state with minor changes. The forest management here is very limited. Out of 1441 nature reserves in Poland, 730 are forest reserves covering a total area of 61 thousand hectares. Nature reserves constitute 1.6 percent of the forest area administered by the State Forests.
Nature monuments – usually single nature specimens of particularly great value. The most plentiful monuments in forests are the oldest and the greatest trees. In 2015 the number of nature monuments amounted to 10.3 thousand, of which 8.5 thousand are legacy trees.
Natural landscape parks - established within the area of outstanding natural and landscape values. There are 125 parks in Poland which cover the area of 2.5 million hectares, of which 1.3 million are forests.
Protective zones designated for 3267 selected animal species (including nesting areas) help to survive endangered species. Foresters bear particular responsibility for those areas because they are located mostly on the lands administrated by the State Forests. These zones cover a total area of 144 705 hectares, that is 1.94 percent of the area administrated by the State Forests.
Areas of ecological utility – mainly small waterholes, midland clumps of trees and bushes, peatlands, bogs and dunes. These are the remnants of ecosystems which are significant to sustain biological diversity. Currently, there are about 9 thousand of such areas.
Species protection – involves the most precious, unique and rare representatives of flora and fauna. Stricly protected species in Poland are: 715 plant species, 322 fungi species and 799 animal species. 65 percent of wild flora and fauna species in Poland are the forest species.
The State Forests implement their own protective initiatives. Foresters help particular animal and plant species to resettle in places where they had become extinct (so called reintroductions) or where they are in danger of extinction (restitution). It applies to yew, the Sudeten fir, black grouse and western capercaille.