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Lithuania, Land and Resources

Nemunas, black alder, hilly region, largest river, Neman

Lithuania is the largest of the Baltic states with an area of about 65,300 sq km (about 25,200 sq mi). The country consists primarily of a low-lying plain; nearly its entire territory is less than 200 m (less than 660 ft) in elevation. A centrally located lowland is broken in the extreme east and southeast by adjacent highlands. To the west of the central lowland, a hilly region gradually gives way to a low-lying coastal area. Lithuania’s Baltic coast extends 108 km (67 mi). The southern half of the coastline is buttressed by a long, narrow sandbar that forms an offshore lagoon. Lithuania has about 3,000 small lakes and many rivers. The country’s longest and largest river is the Nemunas (Neman), which flows north from Belarus to the center of Lithuania, and then west until it reaches the Baltic. Marshes and swamps are prevalent in Lithuania, especially in the north and west, although much of the original wetlands have been drained for agricultural purposes.

Forests, which occupy 31 percent of the country’s total land area, are most dense in the southeast. Pine trees are found in the coastal region and the south, while oak trees predominate in the central portion of the country. Spruce, birch, black alder, and aspen are less common. Lithuania’s nature reserves support a vast array of wildlife. There are 68 known species of mammal, including elk, deer, wolves, foxes, and wild boar. The country’s 305 bird species include white storks, herons, geese, ducks, and hawks.

Lithuania’s limited mineral resources include peat (a compact, high-carbon material used for fuel and mulch), sulfates, limestone, chalk, sand, and gravel. Amber, a fossil tree resin, is found along the Baltic shore. Minor oil and gas deposits are found in coastal and offshore areas.

The climate of Lithuania is dominated by marine influences, but conditions are more variable in the eastern portion of the republic. In the west, summers are cooler and winters are milder. Average annual precipitation ranges from less than 600 mm (less than 24 in) in the center of the country to more than 850 mm (33 in) in the west.

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Article key phrases:

Nemunas, black alder, hilly region, largest river, Neman, Baltic states, bird species, sulfates, Average annual precipitation, coastal region, geese, herons, small lakes, foxes, wolves, oak trees, mulch, elk, Pine trees, peat, ducks, birch, Marshes, aspen, winters, deer, limestone, elevation, summers, coastline, swamps, rivers, Amber, Belarus, sand, republic, percent, west, fuel, country, way, conditions, center, chalk


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