The Institute of Nature Conservation, Polish Academy Sciences in Krakow is a specialised scientific institution for nature conservation, one of the few of its kind in Europe.
The Institute carries out research in the fields of ecology, conservation biology, and geology.
The main task of the Institute of Nature Conservation is to create the scientific basis for modern nature conservation and environmental protection.
The Institute’s work is centered around two integrating issues: ‘Prospects for protection of the natural heritage through sustainable development’ and ‘Protection and conservation of the natural (biological and geological) biodiversity of Poland’. Those issues are studied on species, population and ecosystem levels.
The Institute’s mission is to acquire scientific knowledge and implement it in practical conservation of nature, to document biological diversity and the threats to it, and to carry out environmental education.
- December 1919 - Provisional State Commission for Nature Protection [Tymczasowa Państwowa Komisja Ochrony Przyrody], from February 1920 it was chaired by Prof. Władysław Szafer (1886-1970);
- 1925 - Transformation of the Commission into the State Council for Nature Conservation [Państwowa Rada Ochrony Przyrody], and at the same time into the Office of the Delegate of the Minister of Religious Denominations and Public Enlightenment for Nature Conservation [Biuro Delegata Ministra Wyznań Religijnych i Oświecenia Publicznego do Spraw Ochrony Przyrody], which functioned until September 1939 and in the years 1946-1949;
- 1949 - transformation of the Office into the Committee for Nature Conservation of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences [Komitet Ochrony Przyrody Polskiej Akademii Umiejętności];
- December 1952 - transformation of the Committee into a scientific institution, named the Department of Nature Conservation (ZOP, Zakład Ochrony Przyrody);
- January 1953 - Department of Nature Conservation (ZOP) becomes a research unit of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Organiser and first Director (1952-1960) - Prof. Władysław Szafer;
- 1978 - transformation of ZOP into Department of Nature Conservation and Natural Resources of the Polish Academy of Sciences (ZOPiZN PAN, Zakład Ochrony Przyrody i Zasobów Naturalnych PAN);
- since 1993 - transformation of ZOPiZN PAN into the Institute of Nature Conservation, Polish Academy of Sciences.