Belova, O. 2006. Game Management State and Topicalities in the Context of Small-Scale Forestry in Lithuania. Baltic Forestry, 12 (2): 243-251

There are some specific features of the Lithuanian game management dating back to ancient times, and the hunting traditions built through the centuries while humans have settled the territory of present Lithuania. Plenty of archaeological remains, historic metrics and folklore all proclaim the honour-founded relations of the ancient Lithuanian people with nature including wildlife. The initial notions of wildlife use and protection formed mostly because of the influence of nature worship. The function of hunting depends on the historical socio-cultural state. In the primitive society the hunting was source for subsistence. The next its character related to the mentioned nature worship and assumed a part of lifestyle based on the spiritual aspects. Further agricultural development of Lithuania has formed a game management as a source of additional food and need to protect human prosperity against damage caused by game. The development of game management was different from other countries because of quite specific history through last centuries. The game management assumed the features of leisure, pleasure, and passion in social life, of a contribution to the nutrition system as well as takes social and economic ground. Presently, changes in the use of natural resources including hunting are one of six EU and Lithuanian national priorities. The total common area of production (hunting area) constitutes 4,178,362 hectares including 1,931,651 hectares of the forest area. The total hunting area involves 897 hunting units, where hunters - users of game resources number 25,000 (FACE 2005). The area of production slightly decreases in comparison with last hunting seasons owing to the changes in an area of the new-formed and re-formed hunting units. The last national legal acts and ratified international conventions and directives defined the game management. Hunting competence, regulation rights, control of the orderliness are validated and divided on the ground of the Hunting Law (IX-966, 2002). There are a lot of ambiguous articles on the game management in the small-scale forestry. The main actualities and challenges of game management are discussed in conformity with differences between social groups, property rights, qualitative, quantitative and territorial regulation of game populations, forest damage, benefits of game management and development of the ecological and hunting tourism.

Key words: game management, hunting rights, legal acts, forest owner