The Babia Gora Biosphere Reserve is the second highest mountain massif in Poland and is situated in the Beskids Mountains. Its highest peak reaches 1,725 meters above sea level and forms a watershed between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea basins.
Designation date: 1976
Regional network: EuroMAB
Surface : 11,792 ha
- Core area(s): 1,125 ha
- Buffer zone(s): 2,267 ha
- Transition zone(s): 8,400 ha
Location: 49°28' to 49°38'N; 19°27' to 19°38'E
Four habitats, changing with altitude, are represented in the biosphere reserve: the lower forest belt (up to 1,150 meters), the upper forest belt (up to 1,390 meters), the dwarf pine belt (up to 1,650 meters) and the alpine belt (up to 1,725 meters).
The biosphere reserve was extended as a result of the periodic review in year 2000. It now includes a state forest oriented to near-natural forest management, as well as inhabited areas.
The Babia Gora Mountain ridge was a state border until 1918 and the communities living on the different sides of the massif have developed independently, giving rise to different architecture, folklore, clothing and dialects. The main economic activities are agriculture, cattle breeding, forestry, carpentry and agro-tourism. The biosphere reserve has only 20 inhabitants, however some 56,000 visitors annually spend their holidays in the area (2001). Babiogórski National Park, which covers the core area of the biosphere reserve, has a visitor center organizing educational programmes and guided tours for both visitors and locals.
The population is young, and 40% of inhabitants are below the age of 14. The living standard in the region is much lower than the national average. Unemployment rate is high (over 20%) due to lack of industry in the region and the economic changes of the country as well as bad conditions for agriculture development in the mountains.
Last updated: April 2019