Lithuania to Implement Restrictions on Forest Ownership

VILNIUS, July 23 (Xinhua) -- The Lithuanian parliament approved on Tuesday amendments capping forest ownership to prevent forest consolidation and deforestation.

A total of 87 MPs voted in favor, 6 against and 5 sustained in a vote on amendments of the Forest Law that will cap private forest ownership to 1,500 hectares.

The restrictions that would come into force as of 2020 will apply to companies, individuals as well as groups of people linked with family ties.

Legislators say that the Forest Law amendments would help preserve the Lithuanian forests.

According to MPs who have proposed restrictions on forest ownership, the amendments are designed to "avoid forest consolidation that leads to intensive forestry" and to "lower negative consequences of industrial deforestation on environment, landscape, recreation, biological diversity," said the press release of the parliament.

According to local media, around 39 percent, or 800,000 hectares, of forests in Lithuania are privately owned.

Before the vote, Lithuanian Free Market Institute had warned that restrictions on forest ownership would "lower the investment attractiveness of Lithuania's forest industry, distort competitiveness."

Amendments of the Forest Law is now subject to a final approval by the country's new President Gitanas Nauseda.

According to latest data from the Ministry of Environment, forest land accounts for almost 2.2 million hectares, covering almost 34 percent of the country's territory.

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Reported by: Xinhua