The District of Jarocin is situated in the centre of the southern part of Wielkopolskie voivodeship. Rivers that surround the district: Warta (north), Prosna (east), Obra (west). River Lutynia and its side streams Lubieszka, Kotlinka and Lubianka cross its centre. The District of Jarocin is one of 31 districts of the voivodeship. Its neighbours are the districts of Środa Wielkopolska (north), Września (east), Pleszew (east and southeast), Krotoszyn (south), Śrem and Gostyń (west).
Local authority units this district comprises are: the cities of Jarocin and Żerków, as well as the municipalities of Jaraczewo (divided up into 22 sołectwa; sołectwo is an auxiliary rural government unit in Polish local government system), Jarocin (23 sołectwa), Kotlin (12 sołectw), Żerków (21 sołectw).
Area, inhabitants The District of Jarocin area comprises 587.6 sq km of land, inhabited by 71.5k people.
Most part of the district of Jarocin is set on a plain and sparsely forested area of Wysoczyzna Kaliska uplands, with predominant farming zones. The highest elevations, of moraine origin, are to be found in the proximities of Żerków. The highest spot is Łysa Góra (161 MASL). 65% of the District of Jarocin’s surface is an arable land, used for farming purposes. Grass meadows and pastures, i.e. permanent grasslands that create favourable conditions for vegetation, occupy 7% of the district’s area, whereas forest lands account for 0.2%. Wastelands and other lands account for approx. 1% of total area. The district’s forests occupy the total of 10,915 ha (some 27,000 acres), i.e. 18.7% of the total area. In these terms, the municipality of Jarocin leads the list with 26% of forests’ share in its territory; it is then followed by the municipalities of Jaraczewo (17.1%), Żerków (14.9%) and Kotlin (11.2%).
The northern part of the district, situated over the Wał Żerkowski hill (up to 161 MASL of altitude) is particularly attractive, as it gently descends into Pradolina Warciańsko-Odrzańska [broad, glacial Warciańsko-Odrzańska valley], protected within the limits of Żerkowsko-Czeszewski Landscape Park.
Nature Conservation Objects
The natural territory of The District of Jarocin counts with the following forms of conservation: protected landscape zone, landscape park, EU Natura 2000 protected zones, as well as 94 objects listed in Polish registry of the Monuments of Nature. Also, the district protects the parks with historic stands of trees, in accordance with the laws of monument protection and care, and nature conservation laws.
Protected landscape zones
On 29 September 1989, the Voivodeship’s National Council in Kalisz passed a bill no. XII/74/89, establishing the Protected Landscape Area “Szwajcaria Żerkowska” of 14,750 hectares (some 36,450 acres), comprised within the limits of kaliskie voivodeship (now inexistent, due to a major reform of Poland’s regional authority in 1999) and covering the district’s municipalities of Żerków and Jarocin, as well as the rules of use of this area. In 2001, the Land Use Plan approved for wielkopolskie voivodeship reinforced this nature protection entity.
Żerkowsko-Czeszewski Landscape Park
The heads of kaliskie and poznańskie voivodeships established the Żerkowsko-Czeszewski Landscape Park on 17 October 1994. The park occupies 8,680 ha (some 21,500 acres) of the total area of Żerków municipality, out of which 1,816 ha (some 4,500 acres) are forests, 755 ha (some 1,900 acres) are grasslands, 5,946 ha (some 14,700 acres) are arable lands, and 36 ha (some 89 acres) are water areas. The park’s total area, including the zones remaining within Środa Wielkopolska and Września municipalities’ limits, amounts 15,640 ha (some 38,700 acres).
Natura 2000 zones
One of Poland’s duties as a full member of the European Union, comprised in the Accession Treaty, was the establishment of Natura 2000 European Network of Nature Protection zones. Two such zones partially cover the territory of Jarocin municipality. The first one, i.e. PLB30002 Middle Warta River Valley, is a European-level bird refuge for at least 42 different bird species, as set out in Schedule no. 1 of the EU Birds Directive. It is a very important refuge, especially for wetland birds during breeding season. The second one, established for natural habitat protection PLH300009 Ostoja Nadwarciańska comprises at least 24 kinds of natural habitats set out in the Schedule no. 1 to the EU Habitats Directive, as well as at least 42 bird species, as set out in Schedule no. 1 of the EU Birds Directive.
Urban and Rural Parks
In accordance with the monument protection and care laws, as well as the laws of protection of cultural assets and (partially) natural protection laws, the parks located in the following municipalities and remaining within the district’s limits have been recognized as historic monuments and therefore listed in the wielkopolskie voivodeship’s relevant registry: Jarocin, Tarce, Witaszyce, Golina, Zakrzew, Brzóstków, Komorze, Raszewy, Śmiełów, Cerekwica, Jaraczewo, Rusko, Góra, Kurcew, Kotlin. The following are listed in the registry of historic parks: manorial parks in Bielejewo, Gola, Łowęcice, Panienka, Parzęczew (Jaraczewo municipality); manorial parks in Hilarów, Mieszków, Potarzyca Siedlemin, Roszków (Jarocin municipality); manorial parks in Magnuszewice, Magnuszewice-Pędzew, Orpiszewek, Sławoszewo, Wola Książęca, Wyszki, palace park in Wola Książęca-Słupa (Kotlin municipality); manorial parks in Lgów, Miniszewo, Pawłowice, Prusinów, Przybysław, as well as palace parks in Kretków and Żerków (Żerków municipality), and Twardów (Kotlin municipality).
Moreover, the entire park in Tarce was recognized as natural monument in 1982. An interesting manorial/palace/park complex is located in Witaszyce. Mr. Leszek Bajda has described the parks in great detail in “Gazeta Jarocińska” weekly magazine.
The District of Jarocin’s forests occupy the total of 10,915 ha (some 27,000 acres), i.e. 18.7% of the total area, according to official land use records. In these terms, the municipality of Jarocin leads the list with 26% of forests’ share in its territory; it is then followed by the communities of Jaraczewo (17.1%), Żerków (14.9%) and Kotlin (11.2%). There are no homogeneous, primeval forest-type areas; however the forest areas’ development is influenced by several forest tree species’ occurrence limits dividing the zone, e.g. Norway spruce, silver fir, common beech. As a result of centuries-long expansion of farming activities into forest areas, the forests have survived on the lowest-quality soil, with the Scots pine predominance, as this species has relatively low habitat requirements. It amounts to 60-70% of all trees in Jarocin and Piaski forest districts, whereas in Taczanów forest district it reaches the level of 80%. Also, the National Forest Holding is in charge of forest management by regular selection of the best forest stands and single trees, seed harvest and industrial crops. Jarocin has at its disposal a high-tech seed harvesting facility, whereas approximately 21,000 ha (some 51,900 acres) of land are occupied by protective forests within the limits of Jarocin forest district.