Preserving Lithuanian orchids has been a success2015-06-12
The Lady’s Slipper orchid or the so called Lithuanian orchid has blossomed this year on the shore of Lake Balsys in Vilnius. Naturalists have put a lot of effort into preserving this very rare plant included in the Red Book. Not to mention the fact that the lady’s slipper orchid is a delicate plant requiring specific natural conditions, it is also needed to be protected from malevolent people. Its growing site had to be fenced and CCTV cameras had to be installed.
All this has been done in implementation of a project by the Ministry of Environment aimed at preserving 23 rare species and regulating abundance of 7 invasive species. It is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Government. If not for the project, the lady’s slipper orchid on the shore of Lake Balsys would have been doomed.
While implementing this project in three and a half years almost 60 ha of forest habitat, more than 450 ha of marshes and 700 ha of meadows and adjacent habitat have been arranged accounting for 129 protected territories of the 23 rare species. To restore a good condition of the forest habitat tree density has been thinned, bushes and undergrowth have been cut down; for marshes, meadows and their close habitats bushes have been cut down, reed and grass have been mowed. 148 man-made nests for the black stork, 8 nests for the white-tailed eagle and 8 nests for osprey, 240 nesting boxes for different types of bat have been installed. To strengthen population of the rarest species they have been replenished with hand-raised individual species: 340 grown loach have been introduced into creeks and more than 140 grown marsh saxifrage have been planted.
Invasive plants and animals spreading across protected areas are a serious threat to the indigenous biodiversity. To protect growing sites of the indigenous plants, boxelder maple has been cut down in the area of 500 ha and large-leaved lupine has been mowed in 160 ha of meadows; the Eastern crayfish and the black goby fish have been caught and eradicated in twenty lakes while introducing predatory fish; the American mink and the racoon dogs have also been hunted.
Public Information Department