Vegetation of Vepriai area

Daiva Patalauskaitė

The area of Vepriai is notable for a large biological variety. Although agrarian landscapes with poor biological variety prevail in its northern part, the rest part of the area contains quite a few natural communities. The area has been studied during the summer of 2003–2004. The natural communities detected have been described applying the principles of French-Swiss school of vegetation studies and classification.

Forests cover nearly a third of the area with coniferous prevailing on both mineral and wetland soils. Although the forests are mainly young, and there are only few mature sites, three forest habitats of European significance have been detected, i.e., 9010 Western Taiga, 9050 herb-rich forests with Picea abies, and 91D0 bog woodland.

The territory of the former rural district (valsčius) is cut by Šventóji–one of the main Lithuanian rivers–and its tributaries Širvintâ, Gelìžė, Žùvintė, Sùgeda, and smaller rivulets. Their valleys are occupied by meadows. Although some of them are untended, there are some rather wide natural hayfields. The zones near the rivers and brooks in the Vepriai area have been found to contain 3 meadow habitats of European significance, i.e., (6210 semi-natural dry grasslands, 6430 eutrophic tall herbs, 6510 hayfield meadows.

In the Vepriai area there are also some lakes (some larger ones–Bãltas, Juodâsis, Bedùgnis, and Ílgajis) within the forests and a large artificial lake of Vepriai. Some lake shores are boggy. The bogs are mainly affected by human activities. Although the peat-bogs are exploitable or exploited, one habitat of European significance has been detected in the Vepriai area at the lakes, i.e., 7140 transition mires and quaking bogs.