The Słowiński National Park is one of the two national parks situated on the Polish coast. The diversity of elements of animate and inanimate nature and rich landscape distinguishes it not only in the scale of the region or country but also in relation to the European continent. After the accession of Poland to the European Union in 2004 it was acknowledged that the habitats existing in the area of the Słowiński National Park are important for the European Community so in order to protect them additionally a special area of habitat protection was created named the Ostoja Słowińska PLH 220023 as a part of Natura 2000 network.
The Ostoja Słowińska almost coincides with the area of Słowiński National Park and its surface amounts to 32 955,3 hectares. The Ostoja Słowińska includes: a considerable area of waters of the southern Baltic (11 171 hectares) together with over 30 kilometres section of the coast of dune nature, four lakes – Łebsko, Gardno, Dołgie Duże and Dołgie Małe, a fragment of Gardneńsko-Łebska Lowland slashed with the valleys of the rivers Łeba, Łupawa and Pustynka and Rowokół hill (115 metres above sea level) being the top of upland of a terminal moraine created in the last phase of the Pleistocene glacial periods.
The main purpose of the Ostoja Słowińska is a protection of 27 precious types of habitats and species of plants and animals mentioned in the Annexes to Directive of the Council no. 92/43/EEC. The largest area among the habitats (9854 hectares) are the littoral lakes Łebsko and Gardno which are linked with the sea by short and estuarine sections of rivers. These lakes are periodically flooded with sea water which additionally increases their uniqueness and allows creating specific slightly salty (subhalophilous) meadows and rushes in their vicinity. The second habitat as far as participation is concerned are forests (about 6000 hectares) composed by a wide range of pine woods among which one can distinguish seaside 15 crowberry forest (Empetro nigri-Pinetum) occurring in the varieties: lichens (E.n-P. cladonietosum), pyrolaceous (E.n-P. piroletosum), typical (E.n-P. typicum) and erica (E.n-P. cladonietosum) and marsh forest (Vaccinio ulginosi-Pinetum), marsh birch wood (Vacinio ulginosi-Betuletum pubescentis), riparian forests – alder (Fraxino-Alnetum) and elm and ash (Querco-Ulmetum minoris), lowland beech woods - sour (Luzulo pilosae-Fagetum) and fertile (Pomeranian) (Melico uniflorae-Fagetum) and other. It is worthy to add that the pine forests have one of the biggest in Poland cloudberry patches (Rubus chamemorus) being a postglacial relict. The remaining area of the Ostoja Słowińska is filled with numerous marshes, peat bogs, small ponds and smaller lakes: Dołgie Duże (lobelia) and Dołgie Małe (dystrophic). On a beach we can notice initial stages of coastal dunes in the form of low mounds and embankments gradually settled by pioneer flora out of the subgroup Elymo-Ammophiletum arenariae honckenyetosum. The farther into the land the higher the dunes become and more stable by specialized species of psammophilic plants such as grey hair-grass (Corynephorus canescens), sheep’s bit scabious (Jasione Montana var. litoralis), sand sedge (Carex arenaria), dwarf everlast (Helichrysum arenarium) and lichens (Cladonia spp). The presence of dead remains of plants enriches the infertile sand with organic substances (humus) giving it a grey colour. Therefore we call this habitat a grey dune. Over the flat surface of the Lowland there come out white peaks of the strip of seaside dunes of Gardneńsko-Łebska Sandspit which are incessantly shaped by wind and specific psammophilic flora as a very precious species in danger of extinction on the Polish Red List of Plants (V) and included in the Polish Red Book of Plants as endangered (VU), one of which is the fragrant linaria (Linaria odora). The genuine jewel among the habitats of Ostoja Słowińska are damp hollows between dunes being oases for amphibians and hydrophytes and also for insectivorous sundews (Drosera spp.) and other rare species of plants among which the inundated club moss (Lycopodiella inundata) deserves special attention.
The Ostoja Słowińska is a reservoir of diverse life forms where natural processes can occur incessantly. It is open for the people wanting to get to know the secrets of nature this is why through the area of the Ostoja Słowińska many routes and educational paths run and getting familiar with its virtues are facilitated by numerous education and information boards and viewpoints and observation towers.