The LIFE Programme

The LIFE 11 INF/PL/467 ”Roads for Nature” Project – campaign promoting trees in Poland`s rural landscapes, as habitats and ecological corridors (Polish title: DROGI DLA NATURY - kampania promocji zadrzewień w krajobrazie rolniczym jako siedlisk przyrody i korytarzy ekologicznych) is supported by the European Union’s LIFE+ Programme, as well as Poland’s National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management.

Drogi dla Natury (”Roads for Nature”) – is a campaign promoting trees in Poland’s rural landscapes as natural habitats and ecological corridors.

The DROGI DLA NATURY (”Roads for Nature”) campaign to promote trees in rural landscapes as natural habitats and ecological corridors has gained the support of the EU’s LIFE+ Programme, as well as Poland’s National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management (Narodowy Fundusz Ochrony Środowiska i Gospodarki Wodnej or NFOŚiGW). The main actions take in local campaigns in the interests of trees being run in 66 of Poland’s local-authority areas (gminas), with a view to areas with trees being better adapted and managed, inter alia thanks to training sessions, and organised study visits to Germany. Further activity includes campaigning targeted at the wider public, and activists throughout Poland, as well as work to disseminate information on the results of our work. Effective project implementation is assured by necessary preparatory, management and monitoring work.

LIFE Project number: 11 INF/PL/467
Number of NFOŚiGW contract: 625/2012/Wn50/EE-PO-LF/D
Project implementation period: 2012-2016

The LIFE 11 INF/PL/467 ”Roads for Nature” Project – campaign promoting trees in Poland`s rural landscapes, as habitats and ecological corridors (Polish title: DROGI DLA NATURY - kampania promocji zadrzewień w krajobrazie rolniczym jako siedlisk przyrody i korytarzy ekologicznych) is supported by the European Union’s LIFE+ Programme, as well as Poland’s National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management.


Trees growing by roadsides and in the middles of fields have been a characteristic feature of Europe’s traditional rural landscapes for centuries. They contribute to a high level of biodiversity in the cultural landscape, represent natural habitat and help create green infrastructure. Unfortunately, the last half century has seen the development of road infrastructure and land consolidation combine to cause a dramatic decline in the numbers of trees present in Europe’s rural landscapes. Biodiversity is in decline as a result of this, including even species assigned priority status by the EU; and valuable cultural features are also being lost.


To reverse the trend for lines of trees to disappear from the landscape, by: awareness-raising among decisionmakers, local communities and society in general as regards the significance of such trees and their functions as habitats and elements of green infrastructure; as well as upskilling of the relevant authorities when it comes to planning and maintenance work regarding trees. In this way, it is anticipated that the loss of biodiversity in rural areas will be curbed, and a contribution made to the protection of EU priority species.


  1. In 66 specially-selected ”leading” gminas, to instil greater capabilities in authorities, managers of roads and local communities, when it comes to planning and consistent activity to bring trees back into the landscape, as well as to reverse the trend for them to be lost from the areas for which those involved have responsibility.
  2. To propagate and disseminate good practice from the project, with a view to changing the approach to trees (especially roadside trees) manifested by Poland’s local- and regional-level administrations, and road managers.
  3. To shape tree-friendly attitudes with the public, and to activate given communities when it comes to the protection and planting of trees.
  4. To pursue monitoring and assessment activity as an integral part of the Project, and to encourage the active dissemination of results obtained.


Trees are disappearing from Poland’s rural and agricultural landscapes at a disturbing rate. Their fates lie in the hands of this Project’s target groups, i.e.

  1. Gmina (Local Authority) Offices, which both issue permits for the removal of trees and manage roads and adjacent land (NB. It is the administration at the level of the county or poviat that grants permits where the applicant is a local authority).
  2. institutions managing the infrastructure associated with trees, above all the boards managing roads at the county, provincial and national levels.
  3. local communities in rural areas, given that many of the trees are growing on private land, while acceptance of the wider public is of key importance if trees present on public land are to persist.
  4. society in general, and road-users in particular.

The main means by which this Project will exert its impact is via the participatory planning process associated with the management of areas of trees; as pursued within the framework of a local partnership bringing together the authorities, naturalists and the public; and as supported by training and educational materials. Desirable change will come about with a change of attitude on the part of officials and civil servants, as well as the introduction of methods by which to manage tree resources and gain public support.


  1. The significance and functions of trees when it comes to biodiversity, as well as other ecological and environmental benefits.
  2. The role of the protection and reinstatement of trees in helping to restrain the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services (as a main goal of the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 – COM 2011/244).
  3. Good practice as regards the protection and management of trees can maximise environmental and other benefits, as well as traffic safety.
  4. Lines of planted trees serving as ecological corridors raise the level of cohesion of ecosystems, help limit the fragmentation of habitats and co-create green infrastructure (in line with EU biodiversity conservation policy: COM 2010/4).
  5. The planting of trees for their environmental (water management, soil protection and noise protection) benefits also serves in the prevention of climate change (another EU priority).
  6. Through the protection of lines of trees and avenues, we protect the traditional European landscape (in line with the provisions of the European Landscape Convention).
  7. Many species protected by EU law are closely associated with avenues of trees, such that the loss of such trees brings about declines in their populations.

The main activity is the running of local campaigns in support of trees in 66 local-authority areas (gminas), with a view to the management of these trees being promoted, as supported by training courses and study visits to Germany. This work is augmented by a campaign targeted at the public, as well as activists across Poland; and by propagation and dissemination of results obtained. Effective implementation of the Project is further assured by a range of preparatory, management-related and monitoring activity.

As the planned activity is being implemented, account will be taken of conclusions drawn from the pilot project that is being run currently.

Actions to be implemented within the Project framework:

  • The preparation of auxiliary materials for Project participants
  • The upcoming publication of a guide on ”How to protect, plant and tend trees” (Jak chronić, sadzić i pielęgnować zadrzewienia) and on ”How to act effectively in the interests of trees” (Jak skutecznie działać na rzecz zadrzewień), as well as a teaching pack for schools entitled ”Trees around us” (Drzewa wokół nas).

We foresee the running of 66 local campaigns spread across all 16 of Poland’s voivodships (province-regions). However, the work will begin, and remain concentrated, in the regions of Poland poorest in avenues and lines of trees. Completion of the cycle of activity making up any given local campaign in a given gmina will take a year. The aim of the drawing up of a local tree management plan will be to ensure that model actions are embarked upon at gmina level, with a view to roadside and mid-field trees being protected and/or reinstated in a permanent fashion.

Under the Project, the Friends of Trees movement of community carers for trees will be built and strengthened. Means of communication and for providing advice will be put at their disposal, and points for consultation and intervention as regards the protection of trees will be run.

Three editions of a Poland-wide photo contest linking up with trees will be organised, while we shall join with our German partner in organising an “Avenues in place of borders” initiative that will entail the upgrading of selected cross-border or near-border avenues or lines of trees. A film entitled ”Avenues – Nature’s Arteries” is to be made, with this emphasising the value of avenues and other linear layouts of trees, as well as being about actions to ensure their protection or reinstatement.

Training on the maintenance and management of trees, as well as their natural and cultural value, will be addressed to employees of the road services; to local government officials responsible for the issuing of permits to cut trees and for spatial planning and infrastructure, to professionals involved in the tending, cutting and planting of trees; and to activists working in the name of trees and tree-lovers in general.

Invitations to participate on 3 study visits have been extended to 75 representatives of the ”leading” gminas, as well as to the road services and those working on the project in the capacity of training advisors or trainers or coordinating personnel.

The Project is being implemented by Fundacja EkoRozwoju (the Wrocław-based Foundation for Sustainable Development), in partnership with the Federacja Zielonych Gaja (Gaia Federation of Greens in Szczecin), Stowarzyszenie Eko-Inicjatywa (The Eko-Inicjatywa Association with its seat in Kwidzyn), SAE Zielone Płuca Polski and the German BUND M-V.

Value of Project: € 2,006,613.00
Co-financing from the NFOŚiGW: up to 3,611,904.00 zł