ASSESSMENT OF THE AGRARIAN LANDSCAPE STRUCTURE IN THE DEVELOPMENT AREA OF THE MAJOR CITIES OF LITHUANIA
Agrarian landscape structure in Lithuania is relatively stable and changes only due to intensive economic activities such as construction of buildings, land reclamation, and afforestation. The changes due to the aforementioned activities are most evident in the development areas of the major cities, which are characterized by the increasing process of chaotic urbanization. The suburban municipalities, bordering the three major cities of Lithuania (Kaunas, Vilnius, Klaipėda), were chosen for the research. To determine areas that were influenced by the urban development among the analyzed cities, the multicriteria analysis method was chosen, which helped to assess the intensity of the suburban area development. The determined areas, which were influenced by the urban development, were divided into three categories, in which the villages of 583 agrarian territories are included. The greatest influence of the urban development on the agrarian landscape is evident in the territories that are closest to the major cities (in the areas of category I) and in which the structure of the components of the agrarian landscape changes mostly by reducing the agricultural land. To ensure a balanced influence of urban development on the agrarian landscape, the average built-up area in the development area of the major cities should not be higher than 20%–30% and the agricultural land area should not be lower than 30%–45%. To preserve the fertile land, the built-up areas should be designed in the agricultural lands with lower productivity.