Development of Lithuanian Network of Protected Areas in the Context of European Green Deal

Reference: LIFE20 NGO4GD/LT/000009 | Acronym: LITPAs for LIFE

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

The European Green Deal emphasises conservation and restoration of ecosystems and biodiversity as one of the key elements of the transition towards a sustainable future. The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 sets a goal to achieve at least 30% of the land and sea to be protected and 10% to be strictly protected in the EU. In order to contribute to this goal, Lithuania has already committed to designate 20% of its territory as protected and 5% as strictly protected by 2024. At the moment, protected areas in Lithuania make almost 18% and strictly protected less than 0.6% of the land area. In 2018, the European Commission noted that the country has to make additional efforts to ensure adequate protection of habitats and species by designating protected areas. Since 2018, Lithuania has implemented a LIFE-funded Integrated Project which aims to respond to the weak implementation of Natura 2000 requirements. The project is filling in the gaps in the Natura 2000 network through inventories of rare species, improving management of already designated protected areas, and establishing protection for species and habitats that are underrepresented within the network. It aims to increase the area under protection by 2% mostly covering currently proposed Natura 2000 sites that have no legal protection. The process of establishing new protected areas or stricter regulations is hindered by opposition from parties representing economic interests, and demands for compensation from private land owners. The country needs to develop a clear strategy on how to achieve the set goals that contribute to the objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030.


OBJECTIVES

The LITPAS for LIFE project aims to prepare a proposal for the development of the protected areas network in Lithuania, in order to contribute to the achievement of the goals set in the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030.

More specifically, the project will seek to assess existing shortcomings, and the application of multiple criteria, including provision of key ecosystem services, in decision making processes. It also aims to ensure extensive consultation with different stakeholders, to better reflect the different needs of society and increase public acceptance of the proposed expansion of the terrestrial protected areas network.


RESULTS

Expected results:

  • Assign national protected areas to “protected” and “strictly protected” status through their assessment in the context of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030;
  • Identify protected areas or their parts where stricter protection should be established by performing analysis of shortcomings of available measures to ensure conservation of target habitats, birds and other species;
  • Propose the areas to be added to the protected areas system as a result of assessment of protected areas network according to representation of important bird areas, habitat and species’ habitats of Community interest, habitats of nationally protected species and interconnectivity;
  • Identify areas that exhibit or have potential to exhibit the highest concentrations of ecosystem services, the areas with the highest carbon storage, and the highest potential for restoring and maintaining biodiversity;
  • Identify key areas of target biodiversity outside the current network of protected areas;
  • Prepare maps (1:100 000 - interactive, 1:350 000 – static) of proposed changes in protected areas network along with relevant descriptive information aiming to increase the total area of “protected” areas by 12% (from 18% to 30%) and “strictly protected” by 9.4% (from 0.6% to 10%);
  • Identify legal shortcomings and prepare proposals of amendments to legal acts in relation to the proposed development of the protected areas network;
  • Organise 8-10 consultations with stakeholders about problems of the existing system of protected areas and needs for further developments;
  • Achieve at least 1 000 visitors of the project website and ensure active participation of general public and stakeholders via access to interactive web mapping application;
  • Prepare animated video presenting main objectives of the project to be uploaded on project profiles in social networks and reaching at least 600 views;
  • Publish 3 articles, prepare publication about project results and outputs and organise final conference for at least 40 participants.

ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


Reference: LIFE20 NGO4GD/LT/000009
Acronym: LITPAs for LIFE
Start Date: 01/11/2021
End Date: 31/10/2023
Total Budget: 371,478 €
EU Contribution: 222,886 €
Project Location:

CONTACT DETAILS


Coordinating Beneficiary: VšĮ Gamtos paveldo fondas
Legal Status: NGO
Address: Lithuania Lietuva
Contact Person: Zenonas Gulbinas
Email: z.gulbinas@gpf.lt
Tel:
Website:


LIFE Project Map

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

THEMES

  • Environmental training - Capacity building
  • Awareness raising - Information
  • Public and Stakeholders participation
  • Knowledge development
  • Sensitive and protected areas management
  • Ecological coherence
  • Forest management
  • Birds
  • Forests

KEYWORDS

  • forest ecosystem
  • protected area
  • decision making support
  • biodiversity
  • environmental awareness
  • social participation
  • nature conservation
  • restoration
  • environmental law
  • endangered species
  • carbon capture and storage
  • knowledge development

BENEFICIARIES

Name Type
Nature Heritage Fund Coordinator