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Agri 2024

Linas Balciauskas

Linas Balciauskas, Speaker at Agri Conferences
Nature research centre, Lithuania
Title : Role of agricultural areas for preservation of mammalian diversity


The significant problem between agriculture and mammals is the conflict over resources and land use. This conflict manifests in various ways, including crop damages caused by many species, predation on livestock by carnivores, and the transmission of pathogens affecting humans and livestock. Land fragmentation, habitat loss or degradation, and the use of pesticides are the main issues affecting all wildlife in agricultural areas, particularly mammalian diversity. We will discuss the importance of agricultural habitats for maintaining mammal diversity, using long-term research data from Lithuania as a case study and comparing it with other countries. The surveys used a variety of methodologies - observation and daily activity recording, wildlife cameras, trapping of small mammals, dietary analysis by isotope analysis, and detection of vector-borne pathogens. The report is mainly based on an analysis of published material. The period covered is from 1980 to 2024. For ungulates, the anthropogenic nature of the landscape has been shown to be a prerequisite for their high densities, primarily due to the abundant supplementary fodder available in the fields throughout the year. As a result, some species, such as wild boar, roe deer, red deer and European bison, are changing their diet. Orchards, berry groves and commensal habitats support most of the country's small mammal species, although insectivores (shrews) are rare here. Adaptation of mammals to agro-habitats requires behavioural and diurnal polychaetes in larger mammals, and is linked to nutritional traits in small mammals. We will compare the diversity of mammals in agro-habitats and other habitats, such as forest, grassland and cities. Finally, we will look at improving the capacity of agricultural land to support mammal populations through a range of strategies to enhance habitat quality, reduce human-wildlife conflicts and promote coexistence. These strategies include habitat restoration and enhancement, wildlife-friendly farming practices, sustainable land use planning, education and participation programmes.


Linas Balčiauskas is a leading Lithuanian mammalogist at the Nature Research Centre in Vilnius. Over the course of his career, he has authored more than 80 research articles in SCI(E) journals and approximately 200 in other peer-reviewed publications, delivered over 200 presentations at conferences and leaded over 50 commissioned research and experimental development projects. His research interests encompass various aspects of mammalian ecology, human dimensions of mammals, and citizen science. Linas also serves as an expert in several IUCN specialist groups, mentors doctoral students, and actively participates in the editorial processes of several scientific journals.

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