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Experts of the Forest Habitats Working Group Gather in Sigulda

On June 12, 2013, members of the forest habitats working group gathered in Sigulda to discuss various forest habitat management methods. 

Traditionally the conservation of forests has been based on strict restrictions of economic activity and the promotion of natural processes. However, in some cases human activity is needed to improve the structure of forest stands or imitate natural disturbances, which are essential to ensure the existence of habitats for rare, protected species, as well as sustainability of the conserved habitat.
The seminar gathered almost 30 participants, representing various State institutions, as well as the private sector. The Seminar opened with a brief lecture by Professor Guntis Brūmelis (University of Latvia, Faculty of Biology), who reviewed the ecology of natural disturbances and their role in the maintenance of biological diversity. The rest of the seminar work was organised in smaller groups, where the task for each group was to analyse 2 habitats, evaluate quality indicators for these habitats, threats, their management objectives and potential management actions.
In most cases the best approach to habitat management is non-intervention, allowing for natural processes and natural habitat development to take place. However, in some instances management actions targeting habitat conservation should be considered, especially when the lack of natural disturbances causes replacement of tree and plant species and rare, conserved species vanish.
After discussions in the smaller groups each group presented their recommendations, which were then discussed and improved. Till the end of July, 2013 the information prepared by the members of the working group will be collected to be further reviewed and elaborated to, possibly, be included in the forest management guidelines. It was agreed that the next forest habitats working group seminar will take place in the first week of September.

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