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ECONAT - Development of Pilot Ecological Network through Nature Frame Areas in Southern Lithuania

LIFE09 NAT/LT/000581




Project Manager: Dalia Bastyte
Fax: +370 5 2310441
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The history of the southern Lithuanian landscape over the past 60 years can be split into two distinct periods: a period of intensive melioration, afforestation and intensified agriculture during Soviet times (1945-1990); and the gradual decrease of agricultural activity, afforestation and decrease of agricultural activity after the country regained its independence (1990-2009). Today, southern Lithuania is characterised by low water body density and rapidly increasing areas of abandoned agricultural land. Such loss of open, extensively used habitats threatens amphibian and reptile species listed in Annex II and Annex IV of the Habitats Directive. The European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) is a species in need of specific aquatic and terrestrial habitats and has already disappeared from many areas, whilst the remaining populations are gradually declining. Almost all native amphibians – B. bombina, T. cristatus (listed in both Annex II and Annex IV), B. calamita, B. viridis, P. fuscus, H. arborea, R. lessonae and Rana arvalis) (Annex IV) have been adversely affected by past development. Without intervention, many populations will disappear. Rare invertebrates, including Leucorrhinia albifrons, Leucorrhinia caudalis, Leucorrhinia pectoralis, Aeshna viridis and many others are also affected, as is the corncrake (Crex crex), lapwing (Vanelus vanelus), a number of other birds and some reptiles, e.g. Lacerta agilis. Another threat is the fragmentation of the meta-populations of the target species as landscapes become impermeable because of afforestation, natural growth of dense shrubbery and general loss of suitable stepping stone habitats. Such a situation will lead to inbreeding and the isolation (and even extinction) of small populations. The existing network of three Natura 2000 sites inside the 2 300 ha of the project area is not sufficient either for safeguarding the threatened target species or for enabling biological communication among the core areas. 


1. To secure the long-term viability of Annex II and Annex IV species populations within the ecological network by implementing direct conservation measures and habitat management actions. Target species are E. orbicularis, B. bombina and T. cristatus (Annex II and Annex IV); L. agilis, B. calamita, B. viridis, H. arborea, P. fuscus, R. arvalis and R. lessonae (Annex IV). Conservation and habitat management actions include: digging of suitable ponds, improving existing terrestrial and aquatic habitats and implementing favourable land-use techniques. The actions will improve the conditions for a number of other annexed insect-, reptile and bird species.

2. To save the small and isolated populations of Emys orbicularis and Hyla arborea threatened amphibians in Southern Lithuania from extinction and to rebuild extinct populations within the ecological network. Population management actions such as rearing and releasing of young turtles and amphibians will be undertaken in order to increase the total population, thus preserving the gene pool of the species and enabling genetic exchange between the isolated populations.

3. To develop a pilot ecological network in Southern Lithuania, which can be used as a model for other areas in Lithuania and adjacent countries with a comparable situation. To strengthen and build up the ecological network within the targeted corridors of the project area various measures and actions will be undertaken, such as proposing and creating new Natura 2000 sites, optimizing the suitability of sand- and gravel pits for conservation purposes, strategic placement of new habitats inside the corridors, implementing and promoting adequate types of land-use.

4. To raise awareness in the local population and generate acceptance towards nature conservation´s goals. This is to be achieved by developing and printing of educational material, carrying out of high-publicity events, articles in local, regional and national newspapers, internet presence, establishing of a nature trail and seminars for stakeholders.

5. To generate, share and exchange expert knowledge on the issues of ecological networks, conservational aspects of the target species and best practice strategies in implementing ecologically adequate land-use techniques in Lithuania. This will be realized by intensive exchanges of the project team with international experts on workshops, meetings and seminars. Dissemination of the created knowledge will be achieved by various publications (best practice guidelines, species action plans).


COORDINATOR Lithuanian Fund for Nature
DESCRIPTION The Lithuanian Fund for Nature (LGF) is a non-governmental nature conservation organisation that aims to encourage and support nature protection and the sustainable development of Lithuania. Established in 1991, the LGF is the country?s first non-governmental environmental organisation and has carried out more than 40 projects. The LGF was established as a support and charity organisation by 30 nature conservation specialists, NGOs and business representatives.
PARTNERS AmphiConsult, Lithuania Dzukija National Park, Lithuania Veisiejai Regional Park, Lithuania Meteliai Regional Park, Lithuania Lithuanian Zoological Garden

DURATION 01-SEP-2010 to 30-SEP -2014
TOTAL BUDGET 766,260.00 €
EU CONTRIBUTION 381,510.00 €
PROJECT LOCATION Alytaus apskritis


CD-ROM Title: Cover Photo
PROJECT WEB SITE http://www.glis.lt/ekotinklas/index.php/lt/


Kort om Amphi

Amphi Consult er et landsdækkende konsulentfirma med speciale i fagbiologisk feltarbejde, natur- og miljøovervågning, naturbeskyttelse og naturgenopretning.

Firmaet har eksisteret siden 1992, og har siden opbygget et stærkt netværk af kunder og konsulenter i hele Danmark.

Firmaets konsulenter er fordelt over hele Danmark. Derfor kan vi udføre højt kvalificerede konsulentopgaver overalt i landet til en lavere pris.

Opgaver vedrørende overvågning, sporing og alarmering af vandforurening udføres af Amphi-Bac Aps, se www.amphi-bac.dk.