Changes in the condition of woodland key habitats

  • Indrė Ruškytė
  • Gediminas Brazaitis
Keywords: forests of high conservation value, biodiversity, deadwood, endangered species


In Lithuania, key and potential key forest habitats (hereinafter (P)WKH) were inventoried for the first time during 2000–2004. A repeated inventory of existing and newly established habitats was carried out during 2013–2017. This study assessed changes in (P)WKH over a period of 10–15 years between the main and repeated inventory. The gathered long-term and numerous information on the key biological elements of (P)WKH, rare species (mosses, lichens, vascular plants, mushrooms, beetles and molluscs), negative factors and the most appropriate measures for the preservation of biological values were analysed. The results showed that over a period of 10–15 years, 90.5% of woodland key habitats (WKH) remained stable or improved, and the status of potential woodland key habitats (PWKH) remained stable or improved in 60.3% of all PWKHs. The most significant changes were identified in the scenarios of WKH change into potential and PWKH change into key habitats. According to the PKMB to WKH change scenario, all investigated biological elements had a significant increased tendency of 1.2–2.3 times. All investigated biological elements decreased 1.4–3.9 times according to the WKH to PKMB change scenario. During the 10–15 years period, most WKH and some PWKH confirmed their potential to conserve and enrich biodiversity in a relatively small area, thus ensuring the function of a sustainable forest landscape as rare species habitats and being part of a network of protected areas. Special attention should be given to the necessary measures for the conservation of (P)WKH biodiversity (protection against economic use and application of nature management measures), continuous monitoring of these areas, as well as the admission and implementation of the legal framework for forest habitats in the general forest management policy.