Main threats of project area and expected results after actions
1. Decreasing of open meadow area, overgrowing with trees and bushes - Ca 2400 ha of open floodplain meadows will be restored in 16 locations.
2. Fragmentation of meadow area - 980 ha of former meadow areas that are partly or completely covered with bush, will be restored, thus removing interruptions of overall meadow area, constrained by the bush lines along ditches or separate bush patches.
3. Degradation of meadow quality - Meadow quality that is necessary for Crex crex*, Gallinago media and Aquila pomarina* will be restored in ca 2400 ha of restored floodplain meadows. Continuous management will ensure further maintenance of this quality (but see Threat 11).
4. Changes in water regime - As we do not plan any interventions in site hydrological systems during this project, we will focus on the reduction of the main negative impacts caused by this threat: overgrowing with bushes and fragmentation of the meadows. This will be achieved by restoring ca 2270 ha of floodplain meadows affected by drainage. Ca 960 ha of former meadow areas partly or completely covered by bushes and thus causing fragmentation of meadows will be restored.
5. Early grass mowing - We shall organise educational seminars (6) and study tours (6 within Latvia) inviting ca 400 3 farmers from project sites. A possibility to receive support for delaying mowing till the date, which conforms to the requirements of late breeders Crex crex*, will be shown.
6. Risk of ploughing the meadows - We shall organise educational seminars (6) and study tours (6) inviting ca 400 farmers from project sites. Alternative nature friendly grassland management methods (e.g., mowing and extensive cattle grazing) will be advertised.
7. Afforestation of meadows - We shall organise educational seminars (6) and study tours (6) inviting ca 400 farmers from project sites. Alternative nature friendly grassland management methods (e.g., mowing and extensive cattle grazing) will be advertised.
8. Overgrowing of oak stands with bushes - 112 ha of currently overgrown 6530* Fennoscandian wooded meadows will be restored, paying attention also to individual oak trees.
9. Damages to oaks by burning of dry grass - We shall organise educational seminars (6) and study tours (6 within Latvia) inviting ca 400 farmers from project sites. With help of education activities we expect to prevent damage of oak trees, thus maintaining habitat for Osmoderma eremita*.
A lot of oak treese are demaged after uncontrolled dry-grass burning. Dry-grass burning is so popular action on Latvian countryside during earlie spring, done by local farmers in abandoned grasslands.
10. 10. Farmers are lacking knowledge on conservation of biodiversity in meadows - We shall organise educational seminar (1) and study tours in Latvia (6) and abroad (3) inviting at least 100 site managers and farmers from project sites. We shall produce grassland management handbook to expand information on nature friendly grassland management methods beyond project sites
11. Farmers have little or no experience in applying for agri-environment support - In order to ensure continuous management of project sites after project ending, a possibility to receive support to manage biologically valuable grasslands will be advertised. Up to 300 farmers will be invited to 6 regional seminars. Further project staff will assist in preparing project applications.
The local farmers of Raķupe valley and leaders onf municipalities in Dundaga informative meeting are listening about state support for agriculture
12. Lack of management planning experience in the regions and weak legal basis for management planning - 15 site management plans will be prepared covering in total ca 14 050 ha of protected areas. Most appropriate protection regime (zoning) and management will be ensured. At least 8 persons from regions will be trained in preparation of management plans for protected areas. Legal basis for management planning in protected areas will be improved, further stimulating management and protection of floodplains in Latvia.