Bank of Lithuania
Commemorative coin

Dedicated to Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme)

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Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve

If asked to name the most important natural habitat in Lithuania, Žuvintas would almost certainly be the choice for many. Often called a “bird lake”, it is the largest wetland in Lithuania and home to rare plant and animal species. It is also the first protected area in Lithuania and the only biosphere reserve included in UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves under the Man and the Biosphere Programme.

Unique natural habitat

Walking along the Lake Žuvintas nature trail allows to savour the uniqueness of Žuvintas and observe its greatness from several lookout points. The Žuvintas mire and Lake Žuvintas form the largest wetland in Lithuania and are a true kingdom of wild birds and untouched wilderness. The raised bog comprises the largest part of the mire, with the famous Lake Žuvintas situated at its periphery.

Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve is inhabited by more than 4,200 species of animals, plants and fungi, with more being discovered every year. It is one of the richest places in Lithuania in terms of biodiversity. As many as 137 species found there are included in the List of Protected Fauna, Flora and Fungi Species of the Republic of Lithuania. Wet meadows on the outskirts of the mire are home to one of the rarest songbirds in Europe – the aquatic warbler. Lithuania is one of the four countries worldwide where this endangered bird is still able to breed.

The Bukta forest stretching within the reserve’s territory has a lot of hornbeams that form a rich forest habitat with plant and fungi species characteristic of central European hornbeam and beech forests. The forest is typical of the middle Lithuanian flatlands. Next to the Žuvintas mire and the Bukta forest lie Lake Žaltytis – an important temporary settlement for migratory waterfowl – and Lithuania’s sixth largest Amalva mire alongside the shallow Lake Amalvas. It is therefore not surprising that visitors of Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve immediately notice that it boasts more birds, wild animals and other fauna and flora compared to other places.

Bird lake

Lake Žuvintas and its surroundings are void of bird chirping only during winter months or stormy weather. It is one of the most important lakes for birds in Lithuania. In springtime, its reeds and typha are filled with booming calls of the Eurasian bittern, clucking of the little crake and sounds of various other fascinating species. Thousands of migrating geese and ducks as well as flocks of cranes make a stop at the lake to spend the night and get some rest every spring and autumn. Lake Žuvintas is like no other in the country in terms of the number of bird species that have been discovered there. The lake itself is a shelter to more than 120 different species of birds and as much as 51 species can breed there. The total number of bird species recorded at the biosphere reserve exceeds 240.

Looking over Lake Žuvintas from nearby hills, one can see dense vegetation and open water coves everywhere. The shores covered in reeds, typha growing from the bottom of the lake and floating aquatic plant beds form a mosaic of different lake habitat types that make it a suitable place to breed for many bird species. Lake Žuvintas is very shallow, with its average depth reaching only 0.6 meters. Its borders are covered in thick vegetation and are not clearly distinguishable, thus it is difficult to determine its precise size. The lake is now estimated to stretch over 940 ha. The layer of algae sediments and sapropel there is up to 4 meters.

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First biosphere reserve in Lithuania

Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve was founded to monitor changes in natural systems, carry out scientific research and, most importantly, ensure the preservation of biodiversity and natural habitats. The central part of Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve (18,800 ha) is Žuvintas Nature Reserve (6,062 ha), where all economic activities are prohibited except for rare cases where they are essential to preserve natural assets. In reserve zones, farming is allowed only if it does no harm to the natural ecosystem. In 2011, UNESCO added Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, which includes 701 biosphere reserves in 124 countries. Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve is also part of the Natura 2000 Protected Areas Network and is inscribed on the list of protected areas of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat.

Founded on Tadas Ivanauskas’ initiative

Žuvintas Reserve was founded in 1937 on the initiative of Prof. Dr. Tadas Ivanauskas (1882–1970), the most well-known Lithuanian naturalist of the past century. It is the first protected area in Lithuania. The reserve was researched by many Lithuanian natural scientists, including the ornithologist Teofilis Zubavičius (1914–1993) as well as the writer and scientist Dr. Vytautas Nedzinskas (1940–2002) who spent a couple of decades working there. The biosphere reserve was established in 2002 by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania.

Author and photo credits: Arūnas Pranaitis

 

Coin dedicated to Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme)

Denomination:
€2
Composition:
outer part: CuNi, inner part: CuZnNi/Ni/CuZnNi
Diameter:
25.75 mm
Weight:
8.50 g
Designed by
Eglė Ratkutė and Ernestas Žemaitis (national side), Luc Luycx (common side)
On the edge of the coin
LAISVĖ * VIENYBĖ * GEROVĖ * (FREEDOM * UNITY * WELL-BEING *)
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Pre-order from
12 May 2021
Release date
19 May 2021
Mintage
500,000 pcs, including 5,000 BU-quality coins in a numismatic package
Coin price
BU quality – EUR 9.00 (inclusive of VAT), UNC quality – exchanged according to denomination
Minted at
the Lithuanian Mint

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