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Problems of environmental and nature protection in Poland from the perspective of PhD students of five Kraków institutes – new publication

Modern protection of the environment and nature is faced with many problems, with limited financial resources for combating them. In order to make protective measures as effective as possible, it is crucial to prepare a list of priority problems (to be solved first). The list may vary depending on the spatial scale in which the problem is considered. For example, climate change has a global impact, while noise pollution mainly has local effects. In a new scientific publication, using the horizon scanning and the Delphi technique, the most important problems of environmental and nature protection in Poland were defined at the local and national level. Twenty-six young scientists – doctoral students of the Doctoral School of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and the Doctoral Study of Natural Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Kraków participated in the research. The work was moderated by Dr. Piotr Skórka from the Institute of Nature Conservation PAS. Each participant individually identified the most important conservation problems in two spatial scales. Each problem was then properly scored and classified into broader categories during a round discussion. This data was used in text analysis, cross-sectional and frequency analyses to adequately compare the context and the importance of the problems identified between the two spatial scales. A total of 115 problems were identified on a local scale and 122 on a national scale. Among them, 30 problems were identical for both scales. The importance scores were higher for national problems than for local problems, however, this was due to different sets of problems identified on both scales. Problems related to urbanization, education and management were more important on a local scale, while problems related to politics, forestry and consumerism were more important on a national scale. The results of the study may be important for building an appropriate environmental and nature protection policy. The policy should be hierarchical and adaptive; solving problems should start with the most important ones on a national scale, but with adequate flexibility taking into account local differences.

The above study was carried out as part of the "Ecology and Nature Conservation" course led by dr. Piotr Skórka, whose participants were doctoral students of the Institute of Botany PAS, the Institute of Plant Physiology PAS, the Institute of Nature Conservation PAS, the Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals PAS, and the National Research Institute of Animal Production. The study results were published in the scientific journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research:

Skórka P., Banach A., Banasiak M., Bokalska-Rajba J., Bonk M., Czachura P., García-Rodríguez A., Gaspar G., Hordyńska N., Kaczmarczyk A., Kapłoniak K., Kociński M., Łopata B., Mazur E., Mirzaei M., Misiewicz A., Parres A., Przystałkowska A., Pustkowiak S., Raczyński M., Sadura I., Splitt A., Stanek M., Sternalski J., Wierzbicka A., Wiorek M., Zduńczyk P. 2021. Congruence between the prioritisation of conservation problems at the local and national scale: an evaluation by environmental scientists in Poland. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 28: 35317–35326. DOI