Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda on Wednesday called on Environment Minister Kęstutis Mažeika not to become "a forest-cutting minister" amid concern by some environmentalists over the preservation of Punia forest.
"Unfortunately, we see a certain deficit of attention for environmental protection in this area at the moment," Jaroslav Neverovič, a president adviser, told journalists after Nausėda's meeting with Mažeika on Wednesday.
"The president's wish for the minister is not to become a forest-cutting minister [and] pay attention to the environmental aspect," he said.
Earlier in the day, Mažeika ordered the State Forestry Enterprise to halt clear cutting at Punia pinewood, one of the most valuable forests in Lithuania.
Read more: Tree felling halted in Lithuania's ancient forest
In a document seen by BNS, the minister ordered a halt to clear cutting, except for the necessary selective sanitary felling and those necessary for the maintenance of young plants.
Due to the diversity of old trees, large habitats, rare and protected species of flora and fauna, Punios forest is one of the most valuable forests not only in Lithuania but also in Europe, according to State Service for Protected Areas.