History of the Institute

The Institute for Agricultural and Forest Environment was established on 1 April 2009 but the history that led to its creation had begun almost two centuries earlier. In 1815, former Napoleon colonel Dezydery Chłapowski took over his father’s indebted estate in Turew and decided to introduce the modern principles of management. During the two-year stay in England and Scotland he became interested in shelterbelts which were widespread in these countries. He appreciated their anti-erosion properties and introduced the system of shelterbelts modeled on the English one in Turew. One and a half century later, General Chłapowski’s work was almost lost.

In the nationalized property there were introduced socialist principles of management which didn’t tolerate any "obstacles" in the fields. Fortunately, Dr. Adam Czartoryski published a paper in which he described the system of shelterbelts created by General Chłapowski. This interested Professor Zdzislaw Wilusz, working at that time in the Institute of Dendrology and Pomology of Polish Academy of Sciences in nearby Kórnik. It resulted in the organization in the devastated Chłapowski’s palace in Turew, the Station of Shelterbelts Research of the Institute of Dendrology and Pomology, Polish Academy of Sciences in 1953.

In the first period of the functioning of the Research Station, the studies carried out by Professor Wilusz focused on assessing the role of shelterbelts in the agricultural landscape and their impact on the microclimate of the surrounding farmland. The extraordinary activity of Professor Wilusz resulted in research in such diverse fields as climatology, soil science, dendrology, ecology of Colorado potato beetle and rodents. Professor Wilusz’s research on ecology were developed by the next director of the Station (at that time it was the Center of Agroecology of PAS), doc. dr. Przemyslaw Trojan. Under his very direction Professor Karg, who has been working for the Institute for almost 50 years, began his scientific career with the research on the ecology of Colorado potato beetle.

In 1968, the head of the research centre functioning within Institute of Ecology PAS under the name of Research Center of Agricultural Biology, became dr. Lech Ryszkowski. During this time, the world ecology was developing rapidly and it was connected with the launch of the International Biological Program (IBP). Using the experience gained during his internship in USA, Professor Ryszkowski included the Department into the Program. The main research direction became the identification of energy and matter cycle in the agricultural landscape. At that time, the assessment of primary production of the basic ecosystems of agricultural landscape began and was summarized with Professor Ryszkowski’s synthetic elaboration in 1984. Additionally, the energy balance of vole population was developed.

In 1975 the Center merged with the Poznan Branch of the Institute of Zoology and as the Research Center of Agricultural and Forest Biology was moved to Poznan, which was previously the headquarters of Poznan Branch of IZ PAS. The Research Station remained in Turew and was directed by Dr. Jerzy Karg. The research direction of the Research Center was preserved and the studies were extended to the assessment of amphibian populations, numerous groups of insects, and the assessment of the functioning of midfield water bodies, the circulation of the basic elements in the landscape and comprehensive evaluation of heat and water balance of the landscape, what strongly extended the research started by Professor Wilusz. Professor Ryszkowski also made intensive efforts to raise the status of the research center to the rank of institute which were continued by his successor, Professor Andrzej Kędziora. These efforts became successful in 2009.