Agriculture and rural areas
Lubelskie is a known agricultural area called a food granary of Poland. A substantial share of utilized agricultural lands (1444 thousand ha) in the area of the voivodeship (70%) gives us the first position in the national ranking. We are one of the three regions in Poland with the best water conditions, soil quality, agro-climate and landform.
No wonder that more than half of the region population (almost 1.2 m people) live in rural areas and as much as 37% of working people deal with agriculture (with country average amounting to 16%). There are about 18.5 thousand farms, 80% of which occupy the area of up to 10 ha.
Farmers from Lubelskie specialize in crop production which constitutes about 65% of the final value. Cereals (32%) and fruits (22%) have the biggest share in global production of crops while slaughter livestock, mainly pork (54%) and cow milk (37%), in animal production.
We owe the first position in the country to the high harvest of fruits from shrubs and blueberry plantations (on average around 200 thousand tons per year, which is almost half of the national harvest). The Voivodeship is the largest in Poland for the production of raspberries (about 80% of national production) currants (about 50%) and strawberries (about 30%). We are the second in the country in the production of tree fruits (about 500 thousand tons per year, which accounts for 15% of the national harvest). The majority of them are apples (more than 80%). The region has been maintaining the dominant position in the production of legumes, among others, peas, beans and broad beans (about 50 thousand tons per year). We are also one of the biggest suppliers of cereals (about 10% of national production), root vegetables (10%) and potatoes (8%). The specialty of Lubelskie is also, among others, herbiculture covering more than 6.5 thousand of ha. Thanks to the biggest share of plantations of cereals and total area of plantations in the national area (more than 10%) the Lubelskie Voivodeship is in the group of the first three leading regions.
The evolutionary trend in farming in the Lubelskie region is ecologic farming cultivated on the area of 34 thousand ha. At present. there are about 2 thousand certified ecologic producers (1896 in 2015). Thanks to them we are a national leader in production of eco-fruits (11 thousand tons per year, which gives more than 20% of national crop) and eco-vegetables (5 thousand tons per year – 17% of national production). It is a great potential for developing non-agricultural economic activity connected with ecology, for instance, producing ecologic dishes (food?) and preserves or running eco Agra-tourism.
In terms of ecology Lubelskie belongs to the cleanest areas and it holds a high position in the country in terms of the natural environment state indicators. The most valuable ecosystems are connected with the valleys of big rivers (the Vistula, Bug and Wieprz rivers) which perform the function of wildlife corridors. An important role is also played by big forest complexes (Puszcza Solska, Lasy Janowskie, Strzeleckie and Parczewskie), water and peat bog complexes in the Łęczna-Włodawa Lakeland and carbonate peat bogs near Chełm. Lubelskie also has very rich fauna. There are, among others, the refuges of rare animal species included in the Red List of Threatened Species, for instance the only in Poland stronghold of the speckled ground squirrel and the biggest habitat of the mud turtle.
We take care of these nature reserves through the NATURA 2000 European ecological network, which includes 23 areas of special bird protection and 100 areas of special importance for the European Union, which places our region in the first position in the country in terms of the number of birds. The system of protected areas also includes 2 national parks, 17 landscape parks, 17 areas of protected landscape and 87 nature reserves. We also have almost 1300 nature monuments.
The fact that a substantial part of the Łęczna-Włodawa Lakeland together with the Polesie National Park have been included in the Transborder Biosphere Natural Reserve “Polesie Zachodnie” (Poland-Belarus-Ukraine) proves the highest quality of the natural environment of Lubelskie. Polesie Lubelskie, with one of the most extensive swamps and peat bogs in the country, constitutes a natural south-west border of forest-tundra. Owing to the abundance of water reservoirs, our region is also a refuge to almost 150 bird species and the biggest European population of mud turtle. In the nearest future, the areas in the south-west part of the region and the neighboring Lviv Region in Ukraine will gain the status of Transborder Biosphere Nature Reserve “Roztocze”. The reserve will cover the most naturally precious beech and fir forests as well as forest gorges and river valleys with unique rock steps called “szumy”. It will also include, among others, the Roztocze National Park.
Protection of nature heritage is important but not the only objective of the ecological policy of the region. The priority tasks include, among others, rational use of nature resources (material, water and energy), further improvement of the quality of environment, ecological safety and upgrading the system of environment management.