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Pilot ecological network to be created in Southern Lithuania


A pilot ecological network is being created in Southern Lithuania to increase the ecological value of this region and ensure the protection of endangered reptile and amphibian species. It will embrace Natura 2000 sites. Particular attention is paid to the protection of European pond turtles, European tree frogs, European fire-bellied toads, great crested newts, natterjack toads and European green toads, common spadefoot toads, moor frogs and pool frogs, sand lizards, as well as a number of bird and invertebrate species. These species are vanishing due to a lack of habitats suitable for them: small sun-warmed water bodies with sloping sides and sandy slopes not overgrown with vegetation.


Ponds are dug, places suitable for laying turtle eggs are prepared and looked after, eggs are collected from nests in unsuitable places and baby turtles are grown, tree frogs are bred, environmentally-friendly agriculture is enhanced and other work is done in the course of development of the pilot ecological network. These actions are planned to be performed so as to ensure the protection of target species during restoration of their habitats, strengthening populations and providing better conditions for animals to move between breeding, feeding or wintering areas of utmost bio-ecological importance to create ecological corridors between protected areas. Present natural frame and Natura 2000 sites in Southern Lithuania do not ensure the protection of these species yet and do not enable them to migrate between habitats of utmost bio-ecological importance. The first 40 European pond turtles have already hatched from saved eggs in late July – early August, with some 300 grown tree frogs set free.


The project for the creation of the pilot ecological network in Southern Lithuania is implemented by the Lithuanian Fund for Nature in cooperation with associated partners: the Ministry of Environment, Dzūkija National Park , Meteliai and Veisiejai Regional Parks , the Lithuanian Zoo and international consulting firm AmphiConsult. Half of the amount required for the project was allocated by the EU assistance programme LIFE+, with the remaining part allocated by partners and sponsors.


According to Giedrė Godienė, Chief Specialist of the Landscape Division of the Protected Areas and Landscape Department of the Ministry of Environment, using methodical experience accumulated during practical work, it will be sought to establish criteria for the creation of the ecological network for the protection of biodiversity in entire . Educational material for schools is currently being prepared, areas are explored, land owners are asked for permission to restore habitats, European pond turtle breeding methods are tested, and a detailed project action plan and methodological guidance for the establishment of the ecological network are being prepared.


More detailed information on the project is available on the Internet at or by phone at 231 0700, 266 3614.


Information of the Ministry of Environment, tel. 266 3660


19 September 2011


Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas