Objectives and Actions

Our Mission

LIFE integrated project aims to ensure the full protection of the Natura 2000 network, the most valuable natural areas in the EU. Thus, we will preserve the ancient woods, wetlands, grasslands, other habitats and their naturalness, which has surrounded Lithuanian people from ancient times.

Our Objectives

Set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) conservation objectives for Natura 2000 network at national and local levels, in line with defined favourable reference values of natural habitats and species of Community interest;
Improve efficiency of management, surveillance and analysis processes towards achieving and maintaining favourable conservation status of species and habitats of Community interest;
Ensure integration and implementation of the nature conservation measures in other sectors, especially agriculture, forestry and tourism;
Build capacity of the institutions responsible for the implementation of the Prioritized Action Framework (PAF).
Project duration: 10 years (2018-2027)

Project financing:
The total project value – EUR 17.2 million. 60 percent of the funds consist of support from the EU LIFE programme (EUR 10.2 million), the remaining amount is allocated from the budget of the Republic of Lithuania.

How are we going to achieve our goals?

Natura 2000 sites provide shelter for Europe’s most endangered species and habitats and therefore require exceptional human attention and care. It is often believed that successful protection of natural values is possible only by stopping and restricting human economic activities. This causes unjustified conflicts of interest, provokes public hostility, and negatively affects wildlife, although a comprehensive socio-economic assessment study of the Natura 2000 network shows the opposite – protecting nature is also cost-effective. So, in order to dispel the myths that still prevail in society and contribute to the EU’s goal of halting the loss of biodiversity, the LIFE integrated project “Naturalit” team is working for sustainable positive change in the governance of the Natura 2000 network.

One of the most important conditions for the conservation of the Natura 2000 network is the efficient management of protected areas. To achieve this goal, we are improving the system’s legal, administrative and planning processes, including the nature management planning process. Considering the good practices and institutional experiences of other countries, we are setting up an advanced monitoring system, setting clear and quantifiable protection objectives and evaluation criteria. We will encourage the development of the Natura 2000 network by establishing new protected areas, setting protection objectives and management measures for all areas.

Another important factor in the protection of Natura 2000 sites is the smooth integration of environmental concerns into key policies. A large part of Lithuania’s Natura 2000 network territories includes forests and agricultural land, therefore one of the main roles in nature protection today is played by the National Rural Development Program, which finances measures for organic farming and forest management. Considering the innovative experience of the EU countries, we plan to develop and implement new agri-environmental measures and to submit proposals for more efficient administration of the existing traditional measures. For example, we develop and test result-oriented agri-environmental measure with selected farmers, in which farmers receive payments for the results achieved – increased natural diversity on their land and improved condition of protected habitats.

Throughout the project, we plan to promote environmentally friendly farming in valuable natural habitats. The project will create conditions for the long-term, sustainable and economically viable application of grazing measures and increase the added value of farmers’ production as the market does not reimburse the costs associated with farming in natural habitats. For this purpose, appropriate infrastructure will be installed, marketing tools will be implemented, training for farmers will be organized, etc. We are promoting the revitalization of traditional livestock grazing and aiming for this naturally and culturally valuable tradition to find a place in today’s support schemes for farmers.

In order to promote the sustainable use of forests belonging to Natura 2000 sites, we are primarily addressing the problems arising from restrictions on forest ownership rights, insufficient compatibility between the interests of forest owners and nature protection. We are preparing proposals to improve the legal framework, involving all stakeholders. Based on international and national scientific and practical experience, the project partners develop detailed guidelines for the management of forest habitats in protected areas. They will help to integrate the conservation objectives of Natura 2000 sites into the forestry management sector.

We plan to restore the complex of Grybaulia fishing ponds, which has been known historically as an important habitat for the protection of birds. This will be an example of public-private cooperation and mutual success, where local businesses will feel the added value of Natura 2000 sites while maintaining a favourable biodiversity status in the protected area. It is planned to carry out sustainable fish breeding in ponds, apply extensive animal grazing and make the object the hotspot of nature tourism.

We will achieve our goals only by raising ecological awareness of the society. Therefore, we educate the public about the socio-economic benefits of the Natura 2000 ecological network through various means of communication and the organization of nature festivals in National Parks. We also promote the label of the Product of protected areas, which helps to identify environmentally friendly products and services from protected areas.

We aim to ensure an appropriate level of management capacity for the Natura 2000 network within the responsible authority, including systematic monitoring of the conservation status of species and habitats. Therefore a Methodical-analytical center has been established at the State Service for Protected Areas, bringing together the most experienced nature conservation experts who not only collect and analyse data on species and habitats of Community interest, set conservation objectives for Natura 2000 sites, but also transfer their knowledge to specialists of protected areas. Methodical-analytical center also improves the existing nature management process through training and digital tools. Project team members participate and raise their capacities in various trainings and conferences in Lithuania and abroad.

All these activities will ensure the sustainable development of the country, create and preserve a healthy living environment for people, natural elements of the landscape and the overall ecological stability. The interests of nature and people are compatible. We are convinced that we invest in the well-being of ourselves and future generations by protecting the most valuable natural areas.

The project “Optimizing the management of Natura 2000 network in Lithuania” (LIFE IP PAF-NATURALIT), No. LIFE16 IPE/LT/016 is financed by the EU LIFE Programme and the Republic of Lithuania. Webpage authors take full responsibility for the content of this website. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of European Commission.