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Environmentalists and energy specialists help save a rare plant species

Environmentalists and energy specialists help save a rare plant species

With construction of the Lithuania-Poland power link LitPol Link gathering pace and work underway in Lazdijai District, environmentalists together with energy specialists have removed an endangered species from the power link’s route – the early marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata), which is also called the Lithuanian orchid. The plants were relocated to a safer nearby site.
Throughout the summer, environmentalists kept watch on wildlife in the area of the power link's construction. They recommended relocating the early marsh orchids, which are included in the Red List of Threatened Species, from a meadow near the village of Skaistučiai in Lazdijai District. On Wednesday, the early marsh orchids were transplanted outside the construction zone. The plants, which usually grow in alluvial wetlands, were removed with their tubers and replanted in wet soil elsewhere in the same meadow.
"We follow Western European good practices for ecological monitoring to ensure that work on infrastructure projects is environmentally sustainable. The transplantation of the early marsh orchids helped to reduce the power link's impact on the environment," said Karolis Sankovski, a Board Member and Head of the Strategic Infrastructure Department at Litgrid, which is implementing the LitPol Link project. Relocation of the plants was coordinated in advance with the Environmental Protection Agency, which issued a permit for the work.

"While from the ecological perspective it's only natural to save rare plant species, this is the first time it has been done in the context of energy-infrastructure development, and the best method was used," said Edmundas Greimas, Head of the Lithuanian Fund for Nature. "When building infrastructure, it is much better to relocate protected species than leave them to perish," he said. Environmentalists were confident that the transplanted early marsh orchids will do well since their habitat is the same as before.
Autumn is the best time for transplanting perennial plants, while they prepare for dormancy. Early marsh orchids, which are rare in Lithuania, prefer wet, spring-fed and marshy soils. They bloom during the months of May and June.
The power link's route was monitored all summer by the Lithuanian Fund for Nature's ecology specialists to protect the unique ecosystem of southern Lithuania and reduce the environmental impact of current and planned construction work. Wildlife impact assessments are carried out before the start of any construction activities on the LitPol Link route. They will continue until construction ends and clean-up works are complete. Pictures of the orchid removing please find here.
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