Geography in Lithuania
In terms of landscape, Lithuania is part of the young moraine land, which was covered by the ice of the Vistula Ice Age and is flat and hilly. In the west, the country borders the Baltic Sea with beautiful sandy beaches. A part of the Curonian Lagoon and the Curonian Spit also belong to Lithuania. The Lower Lithuanian Ridge in the western part of Lithuania belongs to the Baltic Ridge. The hill country in the southeast belongs to the Belarusian ridge. Here are the highest elevations in Lithuania with 294 m, the Aukštasis and Juozapinės. The largest rivers are the Memel and Neris, both of which have their source in Belarus and drain the land into the Baltic Sea. In the northeast is the Lake District of High Lithuania. There are also numerous lakes in the south, with the water surface making up about 1.5% of the country’s area.
The calculated geographical center of Europe is also located in Lithuania, in the village of Purnuškės a little north of Vilnius.
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Flora and fauna in Lithuania
Most of the land area of Lithuania is taken up by arable land. Just over 30% of the area is covered by often untouched nature with forests, meadows and moors. Birch, spruce, pine, beech, ash and oak are common tree species. Willows and poplars grow in more humid locations on rivers and lakes. Pine forests dominate the Curonian Spit. The swampy landscapes are characterized by raised bogs or bog heaths and moor forests that have emerged from them through drainage, which take up over 3% of the land area. Corresponding to the large number of different biotopes, the flora is also very species-rich with many rare representatives of grasses and herbs such as the blood-red orchid or the fly orchid. An extensive occurrence of the charlescepter can also be found in Lithuania. Marsh lice, butterwort, Baltic orchid, spotted orchid, straw-yellow orchid, Traunsteiner’s orchid, two-leaved forest hyacinth, greenish forest hyacinth, small-flowered monolayer, marsh orchid, peat grass, cloudberry, bladder dew, shrub birch including the rare delicate cotton grass, loose-flowered bluegrass, medium larkspur, sea bream and many others. Bog saxifrage is known from previous finds. Loose-flowered panicle grass, medium larkspur, sea bream and many others. Bog saxifrage is known from previous finds. Loose-flowered panicle grass, medium larkspur, sea bream and many others. Bog saxifrage is known from previous finds.
Lynx, martens, foxes, wild boars and red and fallow deer live in the forests of Lithuania. Wolves, bears and moose are also found in Lithuania and beavers, muskrats and otters feel at home in the many bodies of water and moors. Various snakes, lizards and pond turtles are also at home in Lithuania. Birds are particularly rich in species in the extensive wetlands, such as black grouse, herons, cranes and storks.
National parks and nature conservation in Lithuania
There are over 200 nature reserves in Lithuania with different protection purposes. These include five national parks, seven wetlands according to the Ramsar Convention, four fully protected reserves and thirty regional parks. The national parks are the Aukštaitija National Park with approx. 405 km², the Dzūkija National Park with approx. 590 km², the Curonian Spit National Park with approx. 265 km², the Trakai National Park with approx. 82 km² and the Žemaitija National Park with 210 km².
Overall, over 14% of the country’s area is taken up by nature reserves, such as the Praviršulio tyrelis area. Well-known moorlands are the Praviršulio tyrelis protected area and the Aukštumala high moor between Sowetsk and Klaipėda, which is part of the Memel Delta Regional Park. While the western part of the raised bog is still very well preserved, large areas of peat are still extracted in the eastern part.