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DELTUVAS Romualdas

There are three main components to environmentally sound forest operations in Lithuania:

  1. Forest sites, types and soils
  2. Forest protection classes and categories
  3. Rules and regulations governing forest operations

Overall indicators for the situation of the country's forestry are presented in Tables 1 and 2:

Table 1: Lithuania's forest resources (1998)

Total surface area of Lithuania6 530 000 hectares
Forest land area1 978 000 hectares
Productive forest area (stands)1 888 000 hectares
Artificial forest area424 000 hectares
Volume of growing stock347.6 million m3
184 m3/hectare
Volume of maturity stands59.4 million m3
249 m3/hectare
Gross annual increment11.6 million m3
6.2 m3/hectare
Net annual increment6.9 million m3
3.5 m3/hectare
Forest area per capita53 hectares
Volume per capita89 m3

Table 2: Forest area by dominant tree species

Tree speciesArea (hectares)Percentage
Grey alder111.3  5.9
Black alder108.5  5.7
Aspen  52.4  2.8
Ash  50.8  2.7
Oak  33.6  1.8
Other  12.2  0.6
Total1880.0  100.0  

A forest site mapping system was introduced to Lithuanian forestry in 1966 and has since become standard practice. Under the system, all silvicultural activities and forest operations are planned at sub-compartmental level in order to make the best use of forest soil, protect it from degradation and ensure sustainable multiple forest use. Measures include choice of species and mixed species, use of existing advanced re-growth, site preparation, plantation stand density tending, forest drainage, measurement of size and adjacent clear cutting areas, seed production and fire protection.

A system of forest protection classes (FPC) and categories has been used for decades as support for and an expression of multiple forest use (see Table 3). Forest management goals and silvicultural treatment vary from FPC to FPC: clear felling is permitted in FPC 3 forests (up to 6 hectares) and FPC 4 forests (up to 10 hectares); regeneration felling is permitted in FPC 2 forests; and no felling is permitted in FPC 1 forests. Thinning is recommended in FPC 2, FPC 3 and FPC 4 forests.

Table 3: Forest protection classes (FPC)

 Forest land (1.888.000 ha)
FPC1 (1.6%)FPC2 (13%)FPC3 (14%)FPC4 (71.4%)
 Preserved forestEcosystem protection (8.9%)Recreation al forest (4.1%)Protective forestCommercial forest
 State reserves

State parks
Sanctuaries:Forest parks

Forest resources

Recreational zones
Sanctuaries:Not included in FPC 1, 2 and 3
anti-erosion Protection belts
 City forests 
Baltic sea belt Seed stands
  Research and training
Forest management objectiveLeave forests for natural growingPreserve/reestablish forest ecosystemsCreation and preservation of recreational value of forestsDevelop productive stands to protect soil, air, water and human environmentDevelop productive stands to enhance sustainable flow of timber
Forest operationsNo forest operationsRegeneration felling in stands of natural maturityShelter fellingAll types of felling allowed (clear felling < 10 ha)
Improvement fellingSelective felling
Sanitary fellingClear felling (< 6 ha)
Landscape fellingImprovement and sanitary felling

The genetic quality of Lithuania's forests is controlled and ensured through a variety of practices (see Table 4).

The following regulations and acts govern the country's forest operations:

Table 4: Assurance of forest genetic quality

GenusStrict genetic reservesGenetic reservesExperimental plotsProgeny plantationsClonal archivesTest seed orchardsSeed orchardsSeed partial reservesTotalPlus trees
Picea12721195 2721121589  
Betula 15   1      1645
Alnus 1113    13  3757
Populus     2        253
Fraxinus1  7          816
Quercus 24  8     1  8  4166
Larix   2   21   9   1434
Salix     5        5 
Tilia   2          221
Pseudo-tsuga        1     1 
Total4  168121  909856705261356
Area (ha)
Pinus5273205924117  91112263078126 
Picea429  402  6  4616 3391501388 
Betula     77     3        80 
Alnus   125  4      80  209 
Populus       3          3 
Fraxinus202    93        295 
Quercus   316  3       1171  491 
Larix       1     2  1   38     42 
Salix            … 
Tilia       9            9 
Pseudo-tsuga          5       5 

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