The location

Our initial situation

In one of the southernmost territories of Lithuania, Paramelis "island" (54.010810, 24.652915) is surrounded by marshes and large forests. We call this territory "island" because of its unique geographical location - the land area of 190 ha is bounded on one side by the Lithuanian-Belarusian border and on the other by the marshes of the Katra River valley. This "island" is home to an ethnographic village of several homesteads, where only a few local residents remain and the rest is wild nature. The island is only accessible by one narrow road through the marshes, therefore, people visit here less often than wolves. The largest natural territory in Lithuania and with the strictest protection status rests on the side of the Paramelis "island" - the Cepkeliai Strict Nature Reserve. The almost 20 km wide Cepkeliai swamp and the surrounding nature reserve of strict protection cover 11,212 ha! Since Paramelis "island" and the valley of the Katra River do not fall within the territory of the strictly protected Cepkeliai Reserve, but only border it, people can visit it all year round, and the feeling of nature and biodiversity is almost analogous to the Cepkeliai Reserve. It is the nature of Paramelis "island" with the marshy valley of the Katra River and its adjacent territories that is the main focus and goal of this Nature restoration fund.


The "island" of Paramelis is almost 90% covered by forest. Most of the forest on the "island" is boreal. Some of these forests are classified as western taiga habitats. Closer to the marshy sides of the Katra river, the forest becomes wetter, the soil more fertile, so birches and spruces grow, and floodplain forests - alluvial forests - stretch right next to the river. Such a variety of forest habitats greatly enriches the local biodiversity. Red deers, moose, wolves, lynx, bats are rather common in the forest, even brown bears and bison occasionally wander by. 8 species of woodpeckers have been registered on the "island" of Paramelis and in the adjacent forests, among which there are such rare ones as the Three-toed woodpecker, White-backed woodpecker, Lesser-spotted woodpecker, Grey-headed, Green and Black woodpeckers and the Wryneck. Owls also like the surroundings of Paramelis, 5 species of them are registered here, among which are Tengmalm's owl, Pygmy owls and Short-eared owls. As many as three species of grouse can be found in the vicinity of Paramelis, of course we are talking about the Capercailie, Black grouse and Hazel grouse. The latter are quite common here. Rare birds of prey, black storks, hoopoes and other rare birds also breed here. And where else is a set of rare forest plants, beetles, butterflies, mushrooms and lichens.

However, a significant part of the Paramelis "island" and the adjacent forests do not have a proper protection status and belong to private owners. For this reason, mature forests are being rapidly cut down here, destroying the homes of rare animals and pushing them out of these areas.


The aim of the Paramelis Nature Restoration Fund is to protect as many of the remaining valuable forests as possible by buying them up and to re-create near-natural habitats on the clear-cuts as quickly as possible.

Scientifically accompanied

In 2023, we carried out the first biodiversity monitoring on Paramėlis Island and the surrounding areas. The following animal groups were inventoried: mammals, birds, reptiles, some amphibians, moths, plants, lichens and mosses. The results of the inventory confirmed the uniqueness of this area.

The biodiversity on the site is huge: we have already discovered 104 plant species, as well as 25 moss and 6 fungus species, 133 bird species, 30 mammal species (including 12 bat species), 4 reptile species and 4 amphibian species (two of which are on the Red List). However, this is only the beginning. The implementation of the intended conservation objectives, continued monitoring and research of the nature of Paramelis are expected to enable further species revelations. Future monitoring at three-year intervals will observe how the applied conservation measures affect the populations


The importance of wetlands for our ecosystem


Wetlands are true treasures of our planet, often overlooked but playing a crucial role in our environment. Covering about 6% of the Earth's surface, these diverse ecosystems provide invaluable benefits for people and nature.


Wetlands are our natural allies against natural disasters. They act as a buffer against flooding by absorbing and retaining water when it becomes too much. In times of drought, they release water, helping to regulate the hydrological cycle. On coasts, they are an effective protection against tsunamis and storm surges. These ecosystems literally serve as life-saving shields.


Wetlands are also amazing water filtration systems. They clean the water of pollutants and heavy metals, improving the quality of our drinking water. But that's not all - they also store significant amounts of carbon in their soil. Peat bogs, which cover only 3-4% of the Earth's surface, can sequester up to 33% of the global carbon in the soil. This is crucial in the fight against climate change.


Wetlands are true hotspots of biodiversity. Their diverse habitats provide safe nesting opportunities and abundant food for numerous animal and plant species. This leads to high productivity and an amazing diversity of species. Conserved wetlands are key to the survival of many threatened animal and plant species.


Despite their crucial importance for our environment and well-being, many wetlands have been destroyed. An alarming example is Lithuania, where more than a third of these vital ecosystems disappeared after 2002. It is time to act. Wetlands deserve our attention and protection. We must work together to ensure that these ecosystems are preserved so that they can continue to fulfil their important functions. The future of our planet and our own well-being depend on it.


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