© UNESCO/Vytautas Knyva
Zuvintas lake, Lithuania

Zuvintas, Lithuania, is located in the southern part of the Middle Lithuanian Lowlands. It represents approximately 60,000 ha and includes lakes, wetlands, mires, peatbogs, and pine tree stands. Its great variety of habitats and vegetation renders this location very rich in biodiversity. When designated, the biosphere reserve will be inscribed in national law as a specific category. The main human activities include agriculture, forestry and fishing, with the recent development of eco-farming and tourism. The area has a population of about 11,000, comprising a mixture of large and small land owners.


Designation Date: 2011
Administrative authorities: Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve Directorate
Surface Area: 60,190 ha
Core area(s): 9,210
Buffer zone(s): 9,280
Transition area(s): 41,700 

Ecological Characteristics

© UNESCO/A. Pranitis

The site is located in the southern part of the Middle Lithuanian lowlands. It comprises Žuvintas and Amalvas wetland complexes, formed in a depression of the limnoglacial plain surrounded by moraine hill ranges, and Bukta forest on moraine plain.

The site is very diverse with inland wetlands having some of the biggest habitats of this type in Lithuania. Žuvintas (still largely intact) and Amalva mires dominate in the area. Žuvintas mire (6,847 ha) is the largest in the country. It consists of raised bog (71%), transitional mire and fen.

To the north of the Žuvintas mire lies the similar, but smaller Amalva mire (3,414 ha). There are three big lakes in the site: Žuvintas, Žaltytis, and Amalvas.

The Žuvintas Lake (971 ha) is only a small remnant of the former post-glacial lake. It is surrounded by reed-swamps, sedge fens (mainly in its south-eastern part) and raised bogs. The lake has two main inlets: Bambena, Kiaulyčia and an outlet – the Dovine River. Žuvintas and Amalvas lakes belong to the Dovine river catchment area (589 km²). More than half of it (345 km²) is the catchment area of the Žuvintas Lake. A great diversity of habitats and vegetation creates excellent conditions for numerous waterfowl and other species.

Many different land cover and habitat types - from untouched raised bogs and pristine forests to agricultural lands and settlements - are found in the area. There are no people living in the core area of the biosphere reserve. There are only 1,100 inhabitants living within the buffer zone.

The core area of the biosphere reserve consists of strict nature reserves (IUCN category I) and nature reserves (IUCN category IV). There are Žuvintas (the oldest protected area in Lithuania - since 1937), Buktbalė and Liuliškynė strict nature reserves and Amalvas, Kiaulyčia, Žaltytis, Želsva, Paželsviai, and Liepakojai nature reserves. The buffer zone consists of ecosystem restoration zone, ecological protection zone, and forestry and agriculture zone. The biosphere reserve is contiguous.

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                                                                                         Last updated : May 2012

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