Back

Biodiversity  of  Lithuania

State

Share of forested area

Indicator refers to the area of land covered by forest. Also it reflects naturalness of the landscape.

The ecological, economic, and aesthetic role of forests in people’s lives was and remain special. With the increase in anthropogenic effects and in particular pollution of the environment, the ecological function of forests as a green filters is becoming more important. On the other hand, when the environment is polluted, the condition and structure of forests worsens, their species diversity and productivity decreases and ageing processes speed up [Lithuania’s Environment. Status, processes, trends, 1995].

Scientific opinion is that the optimum forest cover for Lithuania is about 33%. According to statistical data, now forests cover 30.3% of territory. About 85% from the total forms natural forests [Brukas et al., 1998]. In the post-war period the forested area has been constantly increasing, however the cover remains somewhat lower than that of our neighbours (Latvia and Estonia - more than 40% [BSoER, 1998]).

Area covered by forest in Lithuania 1948-1998

bs1.gif (3438 bytes)

Tableview. Source: [Brukas et al., 1998]

However from an ecological point of view the uniform distribution of forest and protective afforestation is no less important index as that of the total forest cover, when trying to avoid the unacceptable large unbroken spaces in the Lithuanian landscape. The highest forest cover is in the southern part of the country where infertile sandy soil prevail. There woodedness reach up to 60-70% of the territory. Without doubt the biggest adornment in our country is our remaining large forests. Today in Lithuania there are 57 forests with an acreage over 5000 ha and 17 over 10000 ha  (Table 2. The Largest Lithuanian forests).

Conifers form about 60.6% from the total forest area. The highest their distribution is in the western, eastern and southern parts of Lithuania. Deciduous trees mainly distributed in central part of the country.

Forest area distribution by tree species

bs2.gif (4046 bytes)

Tableview. Source: [Brukas et al., 1998]

Share of old forest stands (over 100) is relatively very low in Lithuania. According to statistical data (1998) old forest stand covers 58358 ha. It is about 3% from the total forest area. It is more than 2.5 times less than in Estonia and more than 3 times less than in Latvia (data from 1996). However Lithuania has more diverse old stands then in the other Baltic countries [BSoER, 1998].


 Back

Biodiversity  of  Lithuania

State