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Experimental Forest Management Activities in Paņemūne and Rāzna.
In addittion to developing and writing habitat management guidelines, project NAT-PROGRAMME is also conducting practical, hands-on experimental habitat management activities to test various habitat management methods and evaluate their effectiveness. In 2014, management of forest habitats has been carried out in two territories – Nature Reserve Paņemūne Forests and Rāzna National Park.
Forest habitat management activities in the Nature Reserve Paņemūne Forests 
In the Nature Reserve Paņemūne Forests testing of management methods has been carried out in the European Union habitat "Sub-Atlantic and medio-European oak or oak-hornbeam forests of the Carpinion betuli" (9160), in a forest stand where the first level is dominated by oaks with an admixture of birch tree, aspen and spruce and a prominent second level of spruce. Spruces are a significant rival to oaks for access to sunlight and soil nutrients, hence it was necessary to cut the spruce undergrowth as well as the second level. The aim of these actions was to create better conditions for the species typical for these forests.

Six round plots (radius 25m) have been set up in places with the highest concentration of grown oak trees. Spruces in the sample plots were sawn with a hand electric saw, branches were collected into piles and  transported away from the territory or laid on the roads used for transporting branches and other materials outside the sample plots.

 Photogallery: Management of oak forests in Paņemūne
Forest Management in the Rāzna National Park
In the Rāzna National Park experimental management is carried out in a 2 ha territorry of the European Union habitat "Coniferous forests on, or connected to, glaciofluvial eskers" (9060). The lack of natural disturbances (fire) in such dry pine tree forests creates conditions that lead to the disappearance of species otherwise typical for this forest type. By the end of winter 2014, spruces have been cut down creating improved light conditions for this habitat.

In the beginning of summer 2014, practical suggestions about forest management from our colleagues in Finland will be used to decide how to proceed with the experimental forest management activities.
 Photogallery: Forest habitat management in the Rāzna National Park

Experience gained in the experimental forest habitat management activities will be used for drafting the National Conservation and Management Programme for Natura 2000 Sites in Latvia, as well as provide information for the forest management guidelines, which will recommend effective methods for maintaining biological diversity in forest habitats.

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