Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Nature 2000 in Silesian Voievodeship

When national mourning in my country and still only 32 out of 62 (not 67 what was previously said) victims of the Saturday's Silesian catastraphe are identified I would like to tell you bit more about Nature 2000 programme in Silesian region as well as present some pictures from the mines in this region that are now opened for touristic needs only to let you have a better understanding of how hard was a miner's life in Silesia region.
Well I would like to start this entry with a detailed map of the Silesian Voievodeship where you can easily find Lubliniec town (my living area), Tarnowskie Góry town (the city of which antique mines I decided to write about) and Katowice city when the Saturday's tragedy happened.
Well - now I would like to write a bit Nature 2000 programme in Silesia. it is a programme of EU that mai aims are to strenghten national systems of nature conservation giving them international status of Nature 2000 reserves.
Now, it is in hands of particular EU members to include new Nature 2000 reserves into already existing national legal systems of nature conservation to make them the same way legally valid as "the old" national forms of nature protection.
It isn't any easy task and lot of work and questions about it.
First question was about how to point Nature 2000 reserves. Where to place them in the scale of whole our country?
When the first list of proposals was done before 2004 a lot of people grumbled and were disgusted with a bad choice. New and new options have been added to the first official list of Polish Ministry of Environmental Protection. Till today new and new areas of Nature 2000 are being added. Imagine what a mess everywhere here! At this moment - writing this entry of mine - I am totally unable - using all accesible sources of information - give you an exact number of areas (within Silesian Voivedeship itself) that have been already officially recognized as Nature 2000 reserves by Polish Ministry of Environmental Protection.
It isn't bad, is it?:(
There are two types of Nature 2000 reserves:
1. habitat reserves
2. bird reserves
On the map below you have marked in a green colours these areas within Silesian Voivodeship which have been recognised as Nature 2000 reserves (according to their size - small green circles when the reserves are small, big green circles when the reserves are big).
With a brown colour on the map below there are marked Nature 2000 bird reserves - only 4 of them as you can see.
This is the best and latest (as it seems to me) map I was able to find at all! But still some unanswerable questions I have reading it:(
Well, inquisitive readers can see that no Nature 2000 reserves in vicinity of Lubliniec town.
I think it is not because nothing interesting here only becasue noone sent any proposal or the sent proposal wasnot chosen:(. So still a lot of work in front of local environmentalists!

On the map below you can see a detailed map of Tarnowskie Góry region that has been chosen as a Nature 2000 habitat reserve. Within 300 km of underground corridors left by mining in this region the Polish second largest population of bats exist. And there are just bats that are being protected in Tarnowskie Góry Nature 2000 habitat reserve. Soon I will try to write you bit more about bats and their habits.

In the meantime I would like to enclose some pictures taken in antique mines in Tarnowskie Góry region - to be exact in these part of underground corridors that have been opened for touristic purposes.
Have a better insight into what a miner's work was like. Some parts of the corridors have been flooded with water thus you need to use a boat to visit them.
The same time I would like to invite you into Tarnowskie Góry region in September. Each year this time the memory of miners is still celebrated as a local 3 day long fest called "Gwarki" (cause gwarek is local name of miners)
A lot of attractions there for everyone. Feel welcomed into Tarnowskie Góry all year round but specially in September:)

PS. Sometimes it seems to me is much safer to enter old undergound than go into international pigeon exhibition:(
Thanks for reading:)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A tragedy in Silesia

A very sad entry this time - a tragedy happened in Silesia. Here is what Germans have written till now plus latest picture from the spot. Looking at the maps from my earlier entries you should find Katowice city easily in the south of Silesia voievodeship.

Rescuers have pulled several dozen bodies from under the collapsed roof of an exhibition hall in Poland. The death toll is expected to rise as hopes fade of finding survivors in the rubble.

Rescue teams searched in bitter cold Sunday for victims buried when the roof of an exhibition hall in the southern Polish town of Katowice collapsed during an international gathering of pigeon enthusiasts, killing at least 65 people and injuring 160.

The death toll continued to rise steadily through Sunday as emergency crews battling extreme cold used floodlights and hand tools to dig through the snow and debris of the building. The modern exhibition hall, which caved in apparently under the weight of snow around 5:30 pm (1630 GMT) Saturday afternoon, is roughly the size of a soccer field and was thought to have held at least 700 people

A spokesman for the provincial governor confirmed that so far 65 people had died and fire brigade officials were saying several dozen could still be under the rubble. Dog rescue teams have begun combing the site for survivors.

"We haven't managed to find anyone alive yet," Lukasz Kusion, a dog rescue team member told TVN24 television. "With every minute, chances are getting slimmer because of low temperatures," he told the Polish broadcaster.

A national catastrophe

Nearly 1,000 police, firefighters and soldiers are involved in the rescue operation and workers from local mines were called in to help sift through the rubble. After initially only relying on hand tools, heavy cutting equipment and thermal gear were brought in on Sunday.

It is the largest rescue operation in recent Polish history.

"A catastrophe on this scale has never happened in Poland," said Andrzej Urbanski, a senior aide to President Lech Kaczynski.

A national day of mourning was called on Sunday as Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz joined several thousand others in Katowice's Cathedral of Christ the King for a special mass for the victims.

The exhibition of racing pigeons, one of the largest in Europe, attracted participants from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Ukraine, according to the event's Web site. Visitors at the fair told reporters a thousand people had attended the event.

Early reports from hospitals indicate Belgians, Dutch and Germans could be among the victims.

What caused the collapse?

Although it is still too early to say for certain, the fire brigade and police on the scene said the weight of snow on the metal roof had caused the roof to collapse. However, the building's manager told Polish television that snow had been regularly cleared from the roof.

Poland is experiencing its coldest winter in several decades and like in other parts of central Europe, temperatures have fallen to as low as minus 30 Celsius. Over the past week, the region has been hit with heavy snowfalls.

Earlier this month, 15 people were killed at an ice rink in southern Germany when a roof collapsed under the weight of heavy weight snow. Only a few days later, the roof of a supermarket in the Czech Republic caved in under the snow, injuring one woman.

PS. I would write to you what our eastern neighbours have written about Silesian tragedy but I cannot read Russian letters any longer. Besides - did they notice any Silesian tragedy at all???

Saturday, January 28, 2006

A little bit about Tarnowskie Góry

Today I would like to present some info about nearby town - called Tarnowskie Góry taken from a www site offered by it.
Soon I will tell you why:)

The Upper Silesian Industrial District is not only the today coal and steel region, but also a very old mining centre of lead-ores with silver admixture, to be called in the former times the silver carrier ore and the mining of iron-ores which in the past centuries formed this land. Later on, came time for mining of zinc-ore and coal. The first documentary mention of the lead-ore mining has dated from 1136 and said about the dig miners of silver in the vicinity of Bytom, the later mining town, which inhabitants used silver cradles for their children, as other people told about them. From the XIII century the mining of lead-ore has already existed in the neighbourhood of Repty village (now the quarter of Tarnowskie Góry). However the later discovery of the new deposits of lead-ores with a rich admixture of silver near the Tarnowice village caused to form of mountains (gory) or mines, today called Tarnowskie Góry as the miners settlements. In the XVI century these above mentioned settlements received the town-rights. Only the later application of steam engines to be used in industry, and coke in iron metallurgy brought in the XIX century a dynamic coal mining development, which in that time began to dominate in the Upper Silesian industry, pushing down the other industrial branches at the background. The mining and metallurgy of zinc-lead ores existed in the neighbourhood of Tarnowskie Góry up to the interwar time, and in the Bytom - Piekary region to the eighties of XX century. A lot of labyrinths, galleries and underground chambers have remained after the zinc-lead ores mining. If you are disirous to see the beauty of these undergrounds, visit therefore, restored for tourists the underground tourist routes, they are:


Has been accessed for visitors from 1957, is to be found on the south-west part of town in the large Repecki Park, situated near the Górnośląskie Centrum Rehabilitacji "Repty" ("Repty" Upper Silesian Rehabilitation Centre). We have to climb down on foot by winding stairs and next to go by boats through the sector of about 600 m long and nearly 25 m deep, next we continue the underground travel along the water-gallery hollowed out in 1821-1835, in darkness brightened only by a twinkling carbide lamp. It remains unforgettable impresions. The tour time from climbing down to going up is about one hour. The distance to the parkings is by foot about 20 minutes. For the sightseeing parties the opening time is all the year from 8.00 a.m. to darkness. There is possible to make a reservation before. You can phone or write. If the group wishes we are ready to service even at night. For single visitors there is for disposal a guide in the following time-limits:

May, June, September, October on Saturdays and Sundays, from 12.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. and in July and August every day from 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. In other days, single visitors can be joined to groups as there are free places in boats.


Opened for visitors in 1976 iz a object situated on the south part of town at "Szczęść Boże" Street No. 52. The object contains Museum of mining of metal-ores in the over-shaft building and tourist route, which has a lenght of 1700 m and about 40 m. deep, including to row by boats on distance about 270 m. long. the mining exploited area dates from the XVII to XIX century the going down on the miner`s bryt-lift, and the visiting underground with a helmet on the head and a guide accompany. The tour time of museum and the underground tourist route is nearly 1,5 hour. Upstairs it is also situated the steam engines open air museum. The mine is open every days. Also on saturdays from 8.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.. Closed on following days: New Year, first Easter Holiday, Corpus Christi Day, 1 and 11th of November and both Christmas holidays. During the time of greatest tourist movement, the object is longely open for sightseeing parties. In the object exist: the restaurant, the photograph and shops with the souvenirs.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Killer Cold Keeps Europe in Grip, Claims More Lives

O my God - what a terrible winter in Poland. Last time we had such winters when I was nice years old kid. Then warm winters came, no snow even for a couple of years!
The worst winters were in the 80ties. I was a young kid then I had two aquariums full of fish. For 2 days we were cut out of electricity and all my fish died. I was looking at them dying one after another and I couldn't help them cause we weren't able to change water so fast and they needed high temperatures! The worst was by night when everyone went slept. My fish had a very difficult time then. We were out of school and I don't remember anything but my fear for my fish.
Unfortunatelly mostly they passed away:(
Well... today we had 25 Celsjus centigrades below zero in Poland and that is what I have read today studying on-line news.

Bone-chilling Arctic weather claimed dozens more lives in Europe Monday after an already deadly weekend, with 24 freezing deaths in as many hours in Ukraine alone, and rising tolls in Turkey, Poland, Russia and Germany.

Bone-chilling weather claimed dozens of lives Monday across Europe as glacial temperatures swept the Baltics to the Balkans, brought rare snowfalls to Istanbul and sparked a scramble for heating fuel.

The unusually low temperatures, which are predicted to last until Wednesday but probably not extend into western Europe, has left well over 100 fatalities in Germany, Poland, Russia, Turkey and the Czech Republic.

"You'd have to go back at least 10 years, sometimes 20 years, to find such sharp colds," said Patrick Galois, a meteorologist with Meteo-France.

German deaths

In Germany four people froze to death after the mercury dropped in some regions to minus 24 degrees C (minus 11 F).

A 74-year-old woman slipped outside her house in the eastern town of Wolfen on her way to her mailbox. She was unable to get up and died on her doorstep, police said. In nearby Salzwedel, joggers found the frozen body of a 48-year-old man in a field.

Weather forecasters said the temperature could fall to minus 30 C in the southern state of Bavaria Monday, while northern and eastern Germany would clock minus 20 C.

Twenty seven people have perished from exposure in Poland since Friday with overnight temperatures dipping to 32 Celsius (minus 26 Fahrenheit), bringing to 150 the number who have died this winter, police said Monday.

Nearly half of the dead were homeless, of whom 90 percent died while drunk.

The government said Russian gas deliveries were 34 percent below their contracted level Monday and Polish energy group PGNiG said Sunday it would reduce supplies to heavy industry to make up for increased demand from households and public institutions.

Enough natural gas?

Last week, Russian gas behemoth Gazprom acknowledged it could not satisfy the gas needs of western Europe because the extreme cold had caused Russian domestic demand to soar.

Bosnia, entirely dependent on Russia for is natural gas needs, reported that supplies were down 25 percent since last Wednesday, with a smaller decrease in supplies to Italy registered as well.

In the Czech Republic, part of the Temelin nuclear power plant was disconnected from the grid for five hours after the cold affected a sensor, causing the system to reduce the power of the reactor, a spokesman said.

In Moscow eight people succumbed to the sub-zero temperatures over the weekend, bringing the death toll this winter to nearly 90. Another 31 people were hospitalized for hypothermia.

The freeze was particularly painful for the numerous street children sleeping rough in the Russian capital, where the temperature averaged minus 20 C (minus four F) over Saturday and Sunday.

Ukraine dealth toll climbing

Thirty people have died in Ukraine during the past 24 hours as a result of extreme cold, the health ministry said Monday, bringing to at least 51 the number of deaths since temperatures plunged last week.

At least 371 people have been hospitalized as a result of the cold, most of them suffering from frostbite and various stages of hypothermia, the Interfax news agency quoted ministry officials as saying.

Temperatures plummeted to minus 30.3 C, a near-record low, in the north of the Czech Republic Sunday night and claimed the lives of two homeless people in the capital, Prague.

The last time the country saw such cold weather was 66 years ago, in 1940, when the temperature dropped to a record 31.5 below zero, the meteorological office told the Czech News Agency.

Arctic cold has parts of Europe in its grip with the death toll climbing as the mercury drops.

I don't like frosts!:( Too cold! And on Wedenesday we are whole day without electricity. What an awful country!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Cold country

My country is very cold today. We have 20 Celsjus centigrades below zero.
But there are a lot of cold places in this world.
Guess - what cold country are these pictures beneath from?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Mała Panew River

That's me again. It is a long time since I was here last time but I have plenty of new things to write (as usual).
Specially some things about valley of Mała Panew river. The river flows not far from my home town and it creates here a very interesting landscape. I am also very surprised that noone cares about it and noone tries to protect this river against thoughtless ...tourism.
First I would like to write more about scientifical research that was done in this area by some geographical scientists from nearby university.
The point is the river has numerous meanders where beautiful water plants still live. It is a low-land river. And some people say that it is the only lowlandish, foresty meandering river in this part of Europe even!
It creates a very picteresque landscape that should be thought as a touristic area but some people try to make ... canoe-races there and truly speaking they spoil meandering abilities of falling trees that can be found everywhere around and inside the current in this part of the Mała Panew river and which are very valid for presence of meandering processes in shallow, foresty rivers at all!
Moreover, a historical meaning of Polish word "panew" (which makes half of the full name of the river) means "shallow plate" so imagine - what a nonsence to start any canoe trips there!
Here is the map of the river where it meanders (=wind) very intensivly:

And here is what can be read in conclusions of scientifical research:
"The banks of the sandy-bottom meandering Mała Panew River are covered with trees which change channel morphology. The vertically and horizontally calibrated pole was used to study the formation of the bottom and overbank forms in Mała Panew channel.
Trunks and roots of riparian trees generate an erosional terrace. They are located behind the line of alders. Near the Mała Panew river banks originates cut and fill terraces system which is located in the shade of the riparian trees. The riparian trees which are under the influence of lateral erosion bend down and generate sand shadows. Big one originating under influence of trunks put riverbed bottom on, and small one under put tree top down to riverbed. Riparian trees also originating streamlined depressions in riverbed.
The result of lateral erosion trees covering terrace levels, which are undercut by the river, they are overturned into the channel, where they become as CWD (=coarse woody debris).
Independence in amount, position in relation to the channel axe, location and intensity of redeposition they can capture alluvia and can cause increased accumulation and erosion of the channel bottom.
Large depositional and erosional bedforms often occur of the channel as a result of the influence of CWD accumulation or individual logs, which are located in the channel transversally in relation to its axis. Main deposition bedforms occuring in Mała panew river channel are caused by CWD belong sand shadows and outwashes. CWD also generate small erosional bedforms, which belong to follows: reverse depressions, steamlined depressions and overflow kettles."

Well time for some landscapes of Mała Panew river:

And some canoe trips there:

All the pictures above aren't done by me.
In fact I think cycling routes should be done there instead of destroying the riverbed and natural overturned trees that lie and shape the river by canoes. Some of the fallen down trees are even some thousands years old and the river is too shallow and narrow to be a route of ...canoe trips. Plus rather contaminated as you can see on the pictures:(

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Hello :)
It is a long time since I wrote here last time. Today my first entry in January 2006.
This entry will be about phytosociology - the branch of ecology I deal with. In this very short entry of mine I would like both to write some more things about phytosociology in general and present some pictures I have done today in the park nearby my house.

Soon I will explain more about phytosociology that was previously invented by Polish scientist Josef Paczoski. Personally I think his descendants made a very big mess in first ideas of their pioneer Paczoski but as it seems to me I am alone in my thinking so better let sleeping dogs lie.
All in all in the world - specially in US - the phytosociological research is done using quite different methods and reading these works I think it does resemble real ecological science and ecology much more than messy Polish descriptions I have to read though l I cannot find online any general system of classification that is being used in US or in the rest of civilised world or outside Europe and continent at least today. Maybe during next Net searching I will have more luck:)
By now short definition:

What is Phytosociology?

Phytosociology is the study of the characteristics, classification, relationships, and distribution of plant communities (The American Heritage Dictionary, 3rd ed). It is useful to collect such data to describe the population dynamics of each species studied and how they relate to the other species in the same community. Subtle differences in species composition and structure may point to differing abiotic conditions such as soil moisture, light availability, temperature, exposure to prevailing wind, etc. When tracked over time, species and individual dynamics can reveal patterns of response to disturbance and how the community changes over time.

And some pictures of my Park taken today. Frosty winter in Poland as you can see, with lot of snow but very sunny day today at last. Welcome to my blog for the first time in 2006!:)