|Geography and Climate
Poland is located in Central Europe, east of Germany. Area - comparative: slightly smaller than New Mexico. Total land boundary is 2,888 km, border countries are Belarus 605 km, Czech Republic 658 km, Germany 456 km, Lithuania 91 km, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) 206 km, Slovakia 444 km, Ukraine 428 km.
Climate is temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters with frequent precipitation; mild summers with frequent showers and thundershowers. Terrain consists mostly flat plain; mountains along southern border. Elevation extreme has the lowest point in Raczki Elblaskie -2 m and highest point in Rysy 2,499 m. Natural resources are coal, sulfur, copper, natural gas, silver, lead, salt. Land use: arable land: 47%, permanent crops: 1%, permanent pastures: 13%,
forests and woodland: 29%, other: 10% (1993 est.). Irrigated land: 1,000 sq km (1993 est.).
Environment—current issues: situation has improved since 1989 due to decline in heavy industry and increased environmental concern by postcommunist governments; air pollution nonetheless remains serious because of sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, and the resulting acid rain has caused forest damage; water pollution from industrial and municipal sources is also a problem, as is disposal of hazardous wastes.
Geography—note: historically, an area of conflict because of flat terrain and the lack of natural barriers on the North European Plain.
Ref. Anonymous, 1999