Čepkeliai-Dzūkija National/PAN Park is one of 13 PAN parks in Europe

Čepkeliai - Dzūkija National/PAN Park, which is composed of the Čepkeliai state nature reservation as well as the Dzūkija National Park and in which the natural ecosystem of the Dainava Forest is preserved, is one of 13 PAN parks in Europe. As one travels around the Dzūkija National Park (an area of 58,519 hectares), no matter where one looks, one sees pine trees everywhere – at the tops of dunes and on the slopes of river valleys, in the rolling plains and in the wetlands and marshes. However, beneath this seemingly monotonous veil of pine forests, a very distinctive and rich natural world is concealed. Flood-meadows and transitional meadows, raised bogs and fens, sand dunes and fast-flowing rivers and streams have become the habitat for a multitude of rare plants and animals.

The heart of the Dainava Forest is the largest territory of pristine, undisturbed nature in Lithuania, an area of 11,212 hectares, and it is protected in the Čepkeliai reservation, which was established in 1975 and since 1993 has been a Ramsar (wetlands-preservation) site.

Čepkeliai 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 pasqueflower (Pulsatilla patens): these are only a few of the more than 4,000 species of animals and plants found in the area.

The National Park is also distinctive for its rich cultural heritage, namely, its Dzūkai villages, which have preserved their traditional architectural features as well as the local residents’ unique way of life.

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