Overview of the system of PA

General system of protected areas is made up of the following:

  • Protected areas of conservational priority, which protect unique or typical complexes and objects of natural and cultural landscape. Strict reserves ( natural and cultural), reserves and objects of natural and cultural heritage are attributed to this category.
  • Protected areas of ecological protection priority, which are singled out in order to escape a negative effect on protected complexes and objects of natural and cultural heritage or negative impact of anthropogenic objects on the environment. Zones of ecological protection are attributed to this category.
  • Protected areas of recuperational protection, which are designated for restoration, augmentation and protection of natural ressources and genetic plots are attributed to this category.
  • Integrated protected areas, which include conservational, ecological protection, recuperational and economic zones according to the general programme for protection, management and use. National and regional parks and biosphere monitoring areas ( biosphere reserves and biosphere polygons) are attributed to this category.

  Categories of protected areas

  Types of protected areas


  Strict reserves





  Geological, geomorphological, pedological, telmological, talasological, botanical, zoological, botanical-zoological


  Archaeological, memorial, ethnocultural, landscape, architectural, urban


  Landscape, cartographic

  Objects of heritage/ monuments


  Geological,geomorphic, hydrographical, hydrogeological, botanical, zoological


  Archaeological, memorial, ethnocultural, architectural, technical



  Protected Zones

  • Protected zones of general ecological protection( for water bodies, cities and resorts, sea coast, intensive carst area protection);
  • Buffer zones ( for strict reserves , national and regional parks, reserves and objects of heritage)
  • Protected zones of physical protection ( for objects of heritage, technical infrastructure protection);
  • Protected zones of visual protection ( for objects of heritage, airports etc.);
  • Saniatrian protected zones ( for protection of industrial, communal and agricultural enterprises);
  • Protected zones of reservational purpose( zones for protection of minimal resources.


  Plots of natural ressources

  For flora ressources ( berries, mushrooms, medical plants) and fauna ressources, marshes, underground water resources recuperation.

  Genetic plots

  For genetic resources recuperation


  State parks


  Historic National


  Historic Regional

  Biosphere monitoring areas

  Biosphere reserve

  Biosphere polygons

Strict reserves:

All economic activity in strict reserves is forbidden. Depending on their reasons for establishment and the activities that can occur within them, strict reserves can appear in the following categories: 

  • State strict reserves;
  • Strict reserves within complex protected areas – state parks and biosphere reserves;
  • Small strict reserves.

Within Lithuania, there are three state strict nature reserves (Čepkeliai, Kamanos and Viešvilė) and two state strict cultural reserves (Kernavė and Vilnius Castles), 36 nature and three cultural strict reserves within complex protected areas and one small strict reserve (Dubrava).


The newest stage in the establishment of state reserves is linked to the implementation of Council directive 79/409/EEB of April 2, 1979, for the protection of wild birds and Council directive 92/43/EEB of May 21, 1992, for the protection of natural habitats, wild flora and fauna. In accordance with the implementation of these directives 1 talasological, 2 botanical-zoological and 4 ornithological state reserves were established in 2005.

According to the Law on Protected Areas (2001), the purpose of reserves is:

  • To protect territorial complexes (values) and areas of natural and cultural heritage;
  • To ensure landscape and biological diversity as well as a natural ecological balance; 
  •  To conserve wild plant, animal, and mushroom habitats and species, and their genetically important populations; 
  •  To create conditions for scientific research and informative/educational tourism;
  • To promote Lithuania‘s natural and cultural heritage.

State parks :

State parks make up the largest part of the protected areas system in Lithuania.They are considered complex protected areas. State parks (by definition national and regional parks) are large-scale protected areas that have been established in areas that are from a natural, cultural and recreational aspect vulnerable and especially valuable. They are protected and managed according to the territorial function and landscape management zones they are found in. The goals and functional structure of national and regional parks are in fact very similar, the only difference is their level of importance and which functional priority zones they contain.

The main goals of establishing national parks are:

1) to protect landscapes that are important from a natural and cultural aspect;
2) to protect typical and/or unique ecosystems;
3) to restore natural and cultural complexes and their values that have been destroyed or damaged;
4) to facilitate scientific research in the fields of natural and cultural heritage protection;
5) to propogate and foster Lithuania‘s regional ethnocultural traditions;
6) to create the conditions for recreational activities, primarily informative tourism;
7) to develop environmental education and promote ecological farming practices;
8) to implement any other objectives as set out in the provisions for state park establishment.

Activities that may harm either the values under protection in state parks or the park‘s recreational resources are forbidden or restricted. Instead, activities that foster and highlight the exceptional nature of the protected landscape complexes and objects(values), or recreate the traditional natural and cultural elements of a given environment are encouraged. Informative tourism and the adaptation of the territory to allow public access while respecting the protection requirements of the complexes and objects (values) is also encouraged. The purpose of state parks is to promote landscape protection.

Regional Parks:

There are 30 regional parks in Lithuania, one of them being historical.

Lithuania‘s regional parks can be grouped into the following categories according to their general landscape type:               

  • Coastal and lagoon regional parks: coastal cliff (Pajūris), lagoon valley (Kaunas Lagoon); 
  • River valley regional parks: deep valley (Dubysa, Krekenava, Pagramantis, Panemuniai, Salantai), shallow valley (Venta, Dieveniškiai historical), delta valley (Nemunas Delta), great loops (Nemunas Loops, Neris), riverside (Rambynas),
  • Sub-valley gullies (Pavilniai);Forested lake regions and hilly regional parks: valley lake regions (Labanoras), valley lake hills (Anykščiai, Gražutė, Kurtuvėnai, Sirvėta, Verkiai), lake hills (Aukštadvaris, Varniai), lakeshore hills (Vištytis), lakes (Asveja, Meteliai, Sartai, Veisiejai);
  • Plateau and plain regional parks: karst plain (Biržai), lake plateaus (Tytuvėnai), river plains (Žagarė)

Biosphere monitoring territories: are protected areas that have been established to allow global and regional biosphere monitoring and ecological experiments and ensure the protection of their natural complexes.

The aims of biosphere monitoring territories are:

1) to create a representational ecological complex monitoring system that will monitor, control and predict changes in natural systems;
2) to carry out experiments and research on biosphere use;
3) to develop and foster ecological education and the spread of information;
4) to guarantee the protection of natural complexes.

Biosphere monitoring territories are divided into biosphere reserves and biosphere grounds. Biosphere reserves have been created as part of the implementation of an international biosphere monitoring program, and to conduct ecological experiments in representative natural complexes as well as in their surrounding territories. Biosphere grounds are created to facilitate the monitoring of national and regional environments in territories of particular geo-ecological importance.

Last updated: 06-12-2023