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Wednesday, September 20, 2017
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Forests

 Description of the Action - Elaboration of Management Guidelines for Forest Habitats
 Why do We Need Management Guidelines for Forest Habitats?
 Expected Results
 News and Progress
 Photogalleries
 Presentations
 
Description of the Action - Elaboration of Management Guidelines for Forest Habitats
 
With this action, a set of measures to decrease the negative effects of lack of management is planned to be implemented. Experts from NGOs, NCA, land owners and other stakeholders will work in a special working group to elaborate guidelines for management of forest habitats in Natura 2000 sites in Latvia. The working group will meet in workshops to discuss final findings and recommendations. The draft of guidelines will be finished by the end of 2014/beginning of 2015, but the book containing the final version of the guidelines will be published in 2016.
 
After the first recommendations from the specialist working group (in 2013) the management methods will be tested on some Natura 2000 sites. The different appropriate management methods will be tested for EU priority habitats Fennoscandian hemiboreal natural old broad-leaved deciduous forests (9020*) and Coniferous forests on, or connected to, glaciofluvial eskers (9060) on Razna National Park where these habitats are found in a variety of quality. There are good examples for management of forest habitats in Latvia, but management methods will be tested for some unusual situations that become more frequent.
 
Management methods for Coniferous forests on, or connected to, glaciofluvial eskers (9060) will be tested. The eutrophication affects negatively this habitat type, and dense scrubs reduce the number of light-demanding species. The management should be tested because it is important to conserve both habitat and relief forms, for example, steep slopes. Too intensive management may have negative effect on relief forms and some epiphytic species. Therefore the costs of the habitat restoration includes mainly brush cutting at various times and intensities.
 
Some management methods will be tested for Fennoscandian hemiboreal natural old broad-leaved deciduous forests (9020*). There are several islands in lakes where this habitat type is threatened due to a dense beaver population. The beavers destroy the normal habitat structure and threaten large dimension trees which are important for bird species; it is hard to limit their population density on islands. There are no natural predators of beavers on islands and hunters focus on problems regulating beaver population on islands. There is need to find short term solutions while beaver population is going to be reduced. Management methods to conserve large dimension live trees will be tested.
 
The managed/restored areas will be used as demonstration sites for land-owners, managers and other stakeholders in order to provide practical information on how to organize such activities elsewhere.
 
The testing is planed for time period 2013-2015, using various methods. During the testing period monitoring for assessing the impact of the tested management methods will be conducted. 
 
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 Why do We Need Management Guidelines for Forest Habitats?
 
17-84% of protected species are related to forests in every group of organisms on which information is available. Forest habitats in Natura 2000 sites of Latvia cover natural or semi-natural forests, e.g. Western taiga (9010*), Fennoscandian natural old broad-leaved forests (9020*), Bog woodlands (91D0*). These habitats ensure the existence of various rare and protected species. For example, forests of Latvia are a very significant nesting area for about 5% of the world and 8% of the European population of Black stork (Ciconia nigra). Latvian population of Lesser spotted eagle (Aquila pomarina) counts about 24% of European population (20% from world’s population). Forests (for nesting) and grasslands (for feeding) both are equally important ecosystems for these species and therefore the overall environmental quality can be described on the parameters of Lesser spotted eagle’s populations.

All natural or semi-natural forest habitats are rare and important at the EU level and they cover relatively small areas. Sometimes the best management is non-interference in the natural processes. However, in some cases different management methods are necessary to reduce the human caused impact. The guidelines will help to choose the best management method for forest habitats taking into account available resources and priority needs for species and habitats. The testing of management methods in EU priority habitats will serve as a good practical example for all landowners.
 
It is difficult to evaluate and compare different restoration actions in one habitat type if there are different local condition, history of habitat management, etc. The testing of different management methods in one site of habitat will exclude from comparison analysis these factors and will help to evaluate effectiveness of management methods. The aim of the tests is to find a solution which is not only effective, but also low-cost. 

The elaboration of Guidelines for management of forest habitats and testing the management methods in Natura 2000 sites will help to strengthen biodiversity in Natura 2000 sites, improve habitats quality and involve the local community and landowners in practical nature conservation. 
 
Uniting all of the existing management practices into one comprehensive up-to-date publication will enable implementation of appropriate and harmonized management of forest habitats as it will be available to state institutions, municipalities, experts, land owners and other stakeholders.
 
 
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Expected Results
 
1. Management guidelines presenting various management approaches and explanations as well as including testing results as examples will be available electronically in Latvian, English and Russian on the Project website and on the NCA website.
 
2. Approximately 3 ha of EU priority habitats (2090*) and (9060) will be used for testing management methods.
 
3. A book and brochure on Guidelines for habitat management of Natura 2000 sites will be produced.
 
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