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Lithuania’s largest raised bog celebrates its birthday tomorrow!


Tomorrow, 25 September, the Čepkeliai state nature reserve will celebrate its 40th anniversary. The reserve houses Lithuania’s largest Čepkeliai wetland, forest-covered inland dunes and rare plants, animals and fungi.

The Čepkeliai reserve covers an area of more than 11 000 ha. Čepkeliai is Lithuania’s largest raised bog rich in relic small lakes, isles and islets that are the remains of inland dunes, which bear witness to the existence of a seashore ages ago.

Several thousand years ago, the current territory of Čepkeliai was flooded with meltwater from glaciers. The glacial sea grew shallow over time, with only a few lakes remaining in the lowest-lying places, while most of the lakes turned into swamps. In some places, land areas were also taken over by swamps gradually, resulting in the present Čepkeliai wetland.

An exceptional feature of the reserve is its expanse of wild nature with numerous natural protected flora and fauna habitats. The area is home to the crane, black grouse, capercaillie, wolf and lynx, as well as to the lady’s slipper and American pasqueflower, which only represent a small share of the protected species. The Čepkeliai wetland boasts such relics from the ice age as the cloudberry, downy willow and swamp willow, while the isles bloom with the coralroot bittercress and red helleborine that have survived in Lithuania since the age dominated by oak forests. Hollow pines, a relic of ancient beekeeping, have been designated as natural heritage sites. Čepkeliai has long been known for its cranberry areas.

The protected area of the Čepkeliai wetland is included on the RAMSAR list of wetlands of international importance. The Čepkeliai reserve is also a territory of NATURA 2000, a European Union network of protected areas. This network is designed for the protection of rare and endangered species and habitats that are of special importance for the biodiversity of whole Europe.

Public Information Division

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