STUDY OF CHANGES IN FOREST LAND AREAS AND ECOLOGICAL STABILITY IN MUNICIPALITIES OF LITHUANIA WITH THE LOWEST FOREST COVER
Keywords:land use, forest cover, change in forest cover, ecological stability
The importance of the forest land is enormous for the environment, economy and social life. Land use changes due to political, economic and other societal factors, so continuous monitoring is needed to capture the change. The municipalities of Marijampolė, Kalvarija and Vilkaviškis district with the lowest forest cover according to the statistics of the National Land Service under the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Lithuania were selected for the study of changes in forest land and ecological stability. Methods of analysis, comparison and generalization of scientific literature and statistical data were selected during the research work, as well as the study of ecological stability was performed. Data reports on the composition of the Land Fund of the Republic of Lithuania on 1 January 2002, 1 January 2012 and 1 January 2021 were analyzed. The study was divided into three periods: 1950-2002, 2002-2012, 2012-2021. In summary, forest cover changed quite differently in the municipalities during the study periods. During the whole study period 1950-2021, the largest change in forest cover was found in Kalvarija municipality – forest cover increased by 6,32 percent, Vilkaviškis district municipality forest cover increased by 3,56 percent, and in Marijampolė municipality forest cover increased by 1,31 percent. Summarizing the indicators of ecological stability, it was established that Marijampolė municipality had low ecological stability in 2002 and 2012, and in 2021 was ecologically unstable. Kalvarija municipality had low ecological stability in 2012 and in 2002, and in 2021 was ecologically unstable. Vilkaviskis district municipality was ecologically unstable throughout the study year. Low forest cover has the greatest impact on ecological stability. Despite the increase in forest cover, the coefficient of ecological stability did not increase, as other areas, which have a negative impact on ecological stability, grew along with forest land. The calculations may have been influenced by the use of data, the collection methodology of which may have differed during the survey year.