Wielkopolska Voivodeship, Poland 

The Gościnna Wielkopolska region is historically known for spearheading measures in land-care prior to WWII. However, decades of industrialisation have caused the region to suffer a decrease in biodiversity, as well as changes to the local economy. There has also been a rise in pollution from the agricultural production of plants and animals, such as high-intensity pig breeding. 

The region faces water security challenges with only 1,700 cubic metres available per capita per year, one of the lowest in Europe. Water supply is further threatened by the increasing frequency and intensity of droughts, particularly affecting South-Western Wielkopolska.  

Winters are becoming drier and summers wetter, with extreme rainfall and hail events putting crops at risk. The landscape has been engineered for drainage instead of water retention over the last century, so most of the peak rainfall immediately flows to the sea and is not stored to feed into groundwater aquifers. 

These significant changes in the landscape’s hydrology are not only affecting the agricultural sector, an important pillar underpinning the rural economy, but have also started impacting the availability of water for other industries and even drinking water for households. At the same time, groundwater consumption by residents, industry, and intensive large-scale agriculture is growing. 

Vision 

Improving the quality of life by restoring and protecting the rural landscape in the project area. 

Challenges

  • Industrialisation/intensification of pig breeding regionally.  
  • Negative effects of climate change on the natural environment. 
  • Water deficit and lack of regional solutions for financial support for investments related to microretention. 
  • Low level of public awareness in the field of environmental protection. 
  • Unstable business conditions. 
  • The outflow of young and enterprising people from the countryside. 
  • Mass sale of cheap food in commonly available supermarkets. 
  • Low awareness of food consumers. 

Opportunities

  • Increasing environmental awareness and planning of environmental protection activities by local governments. 
  • Supporting the development of the non-agricultural labour market in the countryside with aid measures. 
  • Legal regulations and strategic documents for the protection of the natural environment. 
  • Fashion for ecology and Renewable Energy Sources. 
  • Legal regulations regarding the sale of local products. 
  • Increasing the interest of the inhabitants of Wielkopolska and Polish healthy food and traditional cuisine. 
  • Increasing availability of broadband internet and modern technologies in rural areas. 
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