Ancient Woods Foundation Saves 118 Hectares of Lithuanian Old Forests with Support of Mano Bank

2024-04-22

The Ancient Woods Foundation, in collaboration with Mano Bank and contributions from other enterprises and individuals, has preserved 118 hectares of old-growth forests in Lithuania, combating climate change and giving home to thousands of species.

With its abundant forest cover, Lithuania stands as a country largely embraced by woodlands. However, the nation faces challenges amid increasing deforestation rates. Recognizing the importance of preserving these natural treasures, the people of Lithuania have come together through initiatives like the Ancient Woods Foundation which focuses on the conservation and restoration of the country’s ancient forests, aiming to safeguard their ecological integrity for future generations.

Now, joining this grassroots movement, corporations are contributing to the preservation of Lithuania’s forests. This collaborative effort, involving both private individuals and corporate entities, highlights a unified commitment to protecting the country’s valuable woodland ecosystems.

“Recognizing the importance of environmental preservation, Lithuanian corporations, including  Mano Bank, are aligning their efforts with initiatives such as the Ancient Woods Foundation. This organization is dedicated to conserving and restoring Lithuania’s ancient forests, vital for mitigating climate change and preserving our natural heritage, and it aligns with our corporate responsibility goals, which we take very seriously,” explained Giedrė Blazgienė, CEO of Mano Bank, an international bank based in Lithuania. “At Mano Bank, sustainability is a core value, emphasizing the interconnection between past and future generations and the respect for nature’s ecosystems. Ancient forests hold immense value to us as a nation, representing a priceless natural heritage. By partnering with the Ancient Woods Foundation, we contribute to the ongoing preservation of nature.”

In 2024, a new support agreement was signed between the bank and the foundation. The funding will help expand the forest area managed by the Ancient Woods Foundation, which currently covers 118.87 hectares across Lithuania.

The Ancient Woods Foundation, established in 2020, primarily directs its funds toward acquiring private old-growth forest plots, aiming to safeguard them from logging and human interference. Dedicated to this purpose, all raised funds ensure the preservation of these vital ecosystems. Currently safeguarding over 100 hectares of forest land, including diverse habitats for thousands of species, the Foundation continues its efforts to acquire more forest land and seeks public support for its conservation initiatives.

“Through the Ancient Woods Foundation’s tangible conservation efforts, more than 118 hectares (291 acres) of old-growth forests across 18 plots have been safeguarded, protecting numerous animal, plant, and mushroom habitats. These forests, with ages ranging from 60 to 160 years, serve as crucial habitats for a myriad of plant and animal species. Within these protected areas, 33 key forest habitats essential for European Community biodiversity have been identified, housing rare and protected species of animals, plants, lichens, and fungi listed in the Red Book,” stated Mindaugas Survila, the founder of the Ancient Woods Foundation, and director of the documentary film “Ancient Woods” (“Sengirė”).

These forests the foundation protects are vibrant ecosystems teeming with life, providing sanctuary for numerous species. From the majestic Ural owl to the elusive black stork, these forests are home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, each playing a vital role in maintaining ecological balance.

“Our continued partnership with the Ancient Wood Foundation reflects our commitment to safeguarding these natural wonders for future generations,” concluded Blazgienė.

Over the past decade, global deforestation rates have soared, resulting in the loss of millions of hectares of forests annually and posing significant threats to biodiversity and climate stability. Despite efforts to address this issue, the net loss in forests remains substantial, with approximately 4.7 million hectares lost per year since 2010, and deforestation rates estimated at double that figure.

As forests currently absorb around 30% of all global carbon emissions, initiatives like the Ancient Woods Foundation play a vital role in combating climate change and preserving ecosystem health by focusing on protecting old-growth forests, crucial carbon sinks, and biodiversity hotspots.

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