The Čepkeliai wild area is part of the wild heart of the Dainava Forest, the largest territory of pristine, undisturbed nature in Lithuania. Since 1993 Čepkeliai wilderness protects habitat for a number of threatend species.  The Čepkeliai wild area is registered as a IUCN PA Management Category ‘1a strict nature reserve’.

Uniqueness of the Čepkeliai wild area is in its un-fragmented size, any infrastructure, restrictions on entry and non intervention management regime.

Čepkeliai wild area is an integral part of Čepkeliai Strict Nature Reserve (11,212 hectares) and Dzūkija National Park (58,519 hectares).

The Čepkeliai wild area consists not only of the largest Lithuanian raised bog (an area of 5,858 hectares), but also of lowland sedge bogs and black alder swamps, dry Cladinoso-callunosa forest, bog islands and lakes. Wolves and lynxes, black grouse and Western Capercaillie (wood grouse), the yellow lady’s slipper and Eastern pasque flower (Pulsatilla patens) are only a few of the more than 4,000 species of animals and plants found in the area.

The current management of the Čepkeliai wild area is very much focusing on improving the quality!

The fundamental ambition of the European Wilderness Society is to support the management of the both interlinked protected areas: Čepkeliai wild area and nearby Dzukia National Park particularly in a field of wilderness certification and conservation and to motivate park managers to share their management experience with international partners.

The Čepkeliai wild area is on the European Wilderness Societies priority list to be audited according to the European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System. This step would  officially confirm the uniqueness of this piece of wilderness.

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About Author

Vlado Vancura is the Deputy Chairman and Director of wilderness of the European Wilderness Society and is based in Liptovsky Hradok, Slovakia.

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