Study trip to Finland - controlled burning of the forest undergrowth

On 5 July,  project manager Laura Jukāme and field work coordinator Ieva Mārdega visited Finland, where LIFE project "Light & Fire" carried out the restoration of the Western taiga habitat by a controlled burning of the forest undergrowth.

"The area was 2 ha large. A mineralized zone (width of 4 m to 30 cm) was established around the perimeter of the forest plot and before the burning the zone was fully watered. Burning was started at 4 pm and it took 40 minutes to complete. At times the flames were high, however they never reached the pine wreaths. All activity was strictly controlled, during the burning adjacent trees were also watered  in order to make them less damaged by heat. It was extremely valuable to see the practical solutions, such as installation of the plot and ensuring of the water supply, " says Ieva Mārdega.

The project "Birds Adazi" is planning to carry out a restoration of the Western taiga habitat in the protected landscape area "Adazi" by a controlled burning in 2016 and 2017.

Western taiga is a forest habitat protected in the European Union. Existence and regeneration of this type of the pine forest is related to forest fires, which prevent formation of thick undergrowth, allow self-seeding of new pine trees and create different age tree stands. In the commercial forests clear-cuts can be partially likened to the impact of fires. Forests in the project site are currently not being used in forestry and only tactical military exercise, which does not create fires, takes place in them. Therefore, there is no natural forest regeneration. During the project controlled burning will be carried out to replace natural disturbance. It will contribute to the creation of mixed age pine stands in the long-term and provide better feeding conditions for the European Roller in the short term.

Photos and video: Ieva Mārdega.