The public will have its say over the drafting of a new Lithuanian Red Book for the first time2016-06-30
The Ministry of Environment intends to publish an updated Lithuanian Red Book in 2018 and invites non-governmental organisations and biology experts to propose the currently unpreserved species of flora, lichens, fauna and fungi, the decline in population of which should be assessed. When drafting this publication, the public will have its say for the first time; it will be published only after the public discussion of preliminary assessment results.
“In terms of importance, we could equate the Lithuanian Red Book to the Constitution. As the fundamental law of the country determines legal relationships in society, the Red Book defines the human-nature relationship”, says Minister of Environment Kęstutis Trečiokas. “The Red Book is not only the lists and descriptions of rare and endangered species. It is also a legal instrument which provides a reference point for organising protection of those species in the country.”
The current Lithuanian Red Book includes 767 rare and endangered species. However, since 2007 when it was released, the condition of some of these species has changed. Some of them have grown in abundance and face no threat of extinction, whereas others became rare and they must have a higher level of protection. Therefore, the Lithuanian Red Book has to be updated. Furthermore, the Law on the Protected Flora, Fauna and Fungi Species provides for an update of the Red Book every ten years.
The new Red Book will be drafted in compliance with the changed principles of flora and fauna assessment laid down by the Global Organisation for Nature Conservation. A species may be declared as endangered based on scientific evidence that its population declines. The new Lithuanian Red Book will be drafted by a state scientific research institution Nature Research Centre.
The majority of developed countries have national red books. Although the Red Book initiated by the world’s most renowned naturalists has already become a generic term, it dates back merely 50 years.
The Lithuanian Red Book is younger by almost a decade. Its lists were first approved in 1976. Our first national Red Book included 41 species of birds and one genus of bumble bees as well as 30 plant species. The first Red Book not only helped to protect valuable marshes, creeks and valleys, meadows and woods from destruction, but also promoted research on rare species and their habitats. Therefore, the subsequent Lithuanian Red Book published in 1992 already contained 501 species of fauna, flora, fungi and lichens. Now, in the third Red Book published in 2007, this figure jumped by more than two hundred. The latter version received wide public attention and its initial print run was sold out very quickly, therefore, the Ministry of Environment has published it repeatedly for several times.
The new book will be published in 1,000 copies and its free electronic version will be available on the website of the Ministry.
30 June 2016