This paper deals with environmental and agricultural problems of countries in transition from centralized planning to a market economy, using Lithuania (an independent democratic state since March 1990) as a case study. Conclusions and recommendations made here are to a great extent common to all Baltic countries since the ongoing processes are similar in many respects, even if they have some distinctive features. Lithuania is the largest country of the three Baltic states, being inhabited by 3.75 million people, of whom 31.5 per cent live in the countryside. The territory covers 65 300 square kilometres, with forests covering 27.9 per cent of total area and farming utilizing 54.0 per cent, of which 85 per cent is ploughed land and pastures, 13 per cent meadows and natural pastures, and 1.6 per cent gardens. Under the conditions of the former centrally planned economy, decisions were usually taken on the basis of economic factors alone, almost to the complete neglect of ecological issues. Furthermore, even proposals supported by the results of careful research had to pass what can only be described as 'ideological tests'. At present agricultural and environmental problems are having to be tackled against the background of unfavourable circumstances. There is continuous economic depression and a deficiency in public finance, difficulty over the financial state of enterprises, and lack of experienced specialists. The ecological situation, inherited from the past, is one in which pollution from industrial, transport and agricultural activities has damaged about two-thirds of the country, some of which is damaged beyond easy recovery.