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Lithuanian State Forests

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The Directorate General of State Forests under the Ministry of Environment performs functions of the institution implementing the rights and duties of the owner of 42 state forest enterprises. It co-ordinates and organises regeneration, maintenance, protection of state forests assigned to state forest enterprises and the exploitation of forest resources, establishes mandatory quotas for forest regeneration, protection and management to forest enterprises, organises a uniform state fire prevention and sanitary forest protection system.
The main objective (mission) of the Directorate General of State Forests is to enhance the ecological, environmental, economic, recreational and other socially important values of the state forests as the most important component of the whole state forests by managing them on the principles of a sustainable and balanced forest sector by rationally using, restoring and increasing forest resources.
According to the data of the 1 January 2013, state forest enterprises managed 1 059,2 thousand hectares of forests of state importance. The average area of the forests of state importance of a forest enterprise is 25,2 thousand ha. Forest enterprises are divided into 348 forest districts, the average area of the forests of state importance in a forest district totals 3043 ha.
The present publication Valstybiniai miškai 2012-2013 (State Forests 2012-2013) contains information about the most significant work done by foresters and their results.

In 2012, scientists from Yale University (USA) announced the annual Environmental Performance Index and Lithuania was recognised as the country that protects forests best in the world (according to the forest protection assessment).
The scientists made the forest protection assessment according to the following three criteria: changes in the volume of the stands (the assessment period was 1995–2010); forest felling (the assessment period was 2000–2010); changes in forest coverage (the assessment period was 2000–2010).
By means of reliable methods information regularly received from more than one source about the situation in the sphere of environmental protection in 132 countries of the world allows us to state that Lithuania’s resources – areas and volumes of wood are constantly on the increase, the number of trees being cut is much smaller than that of regenerated ones. The forests felled are timely regenerated, the structure of the age of the stands, their stability and productivity are improving, and by their biological diversity our forests outstrip the forests of many neighbouring countries.
During the recent decade forest coverage of the country increased from 30.9 per cent to 33.2 per cent, the volume of mature stands increased from 73,7 million to 94,6 million cubic metres. In the course of ten years the area of the state forests increased by as many as 63 thousand ha, or by 6 per cent, and the volume of stands increased by 25 million cubic metres. During the recent ten years the average volume of wood per hectare has increased by 13 cubic metres and at the present time amounts to 237 cubic metres per hectare, and the total accumulated volume of the stands in all forests has increased by 38 million cubic metres since 2001; the total annual growth in the volume of wood has increased from 16,1 million to 16,6 million cubic metres.
Enlargement of forest areas is a direct increase in the value of the state’s property. According to the cientists’ calculation, during a decade the value of the state forests has increased by one billion litas by merely accumulating the volume of wood, that is, without felling the whole wood growth and by planting new forests.
Certification of the state forests in Lithuania is done according to the strictest certification in the world – the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certificate. The audit of this certificate testifies to the fact that Lithuanian state forests are managed especially well – following the principles of the requirements set to protection of and an increase in biological diversity.
As compared with the earlier years, the state forests pay 16 times more business and profit taxes to the budget (in 1995 they paid 7 million and in 2011 this figure stood at 114 million litas), and the ratio of all taxes to the income earned accounted for 42 % (the highest per cent in Europe), let alone dramatic progress in the sphere of forestry, the advanced forest regeneration system created and many other highly important things.

1. Participation in preparing the plan of measures of the National Forestry Sector Development Programme and carrying out the approved plan.
2. Increasing volumes of bio fuel production in the state forests.

1. Creation and implementation of a general information system of the centralised activity of forestry.
2. Implementation of sanitary forest protection measures against the bark beetle.
3. Improving the electronic system of sale of roundwood produced in the state forests.

In the second half of the 20th century, Lithuania’s forest coverage increased by as much as 10 per cent. This increase was determined not only by the forest afforested artificially but also by the forest that regenerated naturally. This process has especially speeded up in recent years when 4-5 thousand hectares of unused land naturally regenerate annually. Mostly it is unused long-fallow lands, pastures, wetlands and peat-bogs that regenerate naturally. At the present time forests cover 2170 thousand ha, or 33.2 per cent of the country’s territory in Lithuania. Since 1 January 2003 the area covered with forests has increased by 125 thousand hectares and forest coverage of the country has increased by 1,9 ha.
The National Forestry Sector Development Programme for 2012–2020 approved by Resolution No. 569 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania of 23 May 2012 provides for increasing the many-sided benefit brought by the forests taking into consideration a long duration of the growth of a forest and differences in the forms of property and their interaction, as well as ensuring the implementation of the principles of sustainable forest sector in all forests of the country. Thereby the Programme it is sought to increase forest coverage of the country up to 34.2 per cent by the year 2020 by afforestrating vacant lands and lands that are not suitable to be used for agricultural activities, and to encourage people financially to afforestrate forests in private and state-owned lands, to develop forest regeneration on a genetic-ecological basis with selectively valuable and qualitative forest increasing matter, to optimise the growth of forest increasing matter seeking to provide the market with high-quality forest saplings in a long-term perspective, to enlarge the oak areas and to ensure proper protection of forests against diseases, pests and expansion of fires by improving forest sanitary and fire-prevention systems.

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© Directorate General of State Forests Solution: Infoluitai