Removing unexploded ammunition from the heath areas to be restored

At the end of August cleaning up of the unexploded ammunition took place in the protected landscape area "Adazi" heath areas where one of the project's conservation acitivties - sod cutting - will be carried out.

During one day a team of 13 representatives of the National Armed Forces searched about 1.5 hectares of heath. Initially the area was divided into a two-meter wide strips, marking them with red string. Sappers, teams of two, carried out a systematic examination of the marked zone, using a special ammunition ordnance detectors and shovels to dig up metallic objects, that detectors signaled about. One potentially dangerous unexploded ordnance was found.

In September, sod cutting was started in the treated area, these works will continue until the end of the year. Sod cutting is a new heath management method in Latvia. Overgrowth and upper soil layer (10 to 20 cm deep) is removed in small (up to 1 ha), irregular squares, using a specially equipped tractor. This method is combined with other heath management methods (cutting, mowing and burning), and as a result a mosaic of different age heather is formed. Mosaic structure is characteristic to the natural heath habitats and a largest number of heath plant and animal species, rare and endangered in Europe among them, are found in such diverse environment.

Within the LIFE + project "Birds Adazi" sod cutting and its preparation works - cleaning up of the unexploded ammunition - will be carried out in a total of 20 hectares. These works will continue in 2016 and 2017.

Photo and video: the project field work coordinator Ieva Mādega.