The project has completed all of the preparatory activities. Last year the project partner Latvian Ornithological Society has submitted a scientific paper in the magazine “Ornis Fennica”. Paper describes a study on military impact on species and habitats in military training area “Adazi”. It will be published within 2018.
Project partner National Armed Forces cleared up the territory from unexploded ammunition (activity A3). Cleaning works were done in the area of approximately 900 ha of overgrowing habitats where concrete restoration activities were planned.
Project results will be monitored also after the end of the project. Therefore in 2017 21 ground water monitoring wells were installed in Rampa bog to monitor groundwater level fluctuations before and after the restoration of hydrological regime (Activity C5).
To protect nature values from the negative impacts of economic activities, an agreement was made on the purchase of a property “Selgas”(Activity B1).
Concrete conservation actions
Project partner Latvian Ornithological Society has set up 55 nestboxes for a European roller in the military training area “Adazi” (Activity C1). During millions of years, Rollers have evolved to live in an environment where open fields, which serve as insect hunting sites, interchange with clumps of trees, where hollow trees for nesting can be found. Nowadays such landscapes in Europe are increasingly replaced by large intensive agriculture fields or dense commercial forests. Such conditions are not suitable for European Rollers.
During 2017 overgrown heath of 294 ha were restored. Three different methods were used:
- 183 ha of heath habitats overgrowing with birch and pine were restored by cutting and removing of trees and bushes;
- 41 ha of heath habitats were restored by mowing in areas with monolithic coverage of old heath or other thick vegetation where fragmentation and regeneration of heather is necessary;
- Area of 70 ha of old and dying heath was restored by controlled burning.
In 2017 restoration of Western taiga and Degraded raised bogs continued (Activity C4 and C5). During 2017 altogether 9 ha (in 5 different places) of Western taiga (9010*) were restored by controlled burning. The work was carried out following the action plan developed within the action A4. Controlled burning was organized by the State Centre for Defense Military Objects and Procurement with the support of National Armed Forces and State Forest Service.
Trees and bushes were removed on 150 ha in the Rampa bog. There are many historical drainage ditches in Rampa bog and the water level has dropped. As a result, bog overgrows and rare plant species disappear. In 2018, works will be continued to improve the hydrological regime, a dam system will be built on the drainage ditches that will hold water in the bog.
In 2017 Preventing of violation of regulations of nature conservation (Activity C6) was finished. In the protected landscape area "Adazi" during the project 14 barriers and six video surveillance cameras were set up and 25 illegal roads were closed.
The project monitors the impact of nature restoration activities on bird species and habitats yearly (Activity D1). The first results show that after the restoration works, the number of habitat-specific species is increasing.
In 2017, the most significant communication event was a project closing conference "Military and Nature – Mutual Benefits" (activity E5). More than 60 representatives of the defence sector and nature conservation experts from 17 different countries took part in the conference (August 29th-31st, Sigulda). It provided an opportunity for the professionals involved in the nature management in military areas to meet and share their experiences, information on the latest achievements and lessons learned. The main topics of the conference were scientific research, public perception, use of military territories by third parties, specially protected species and habitats in military training areas and controlled burning.
In order to inform the public about nature values and their protection in the project area, Visitor's day of "Adazi" military training area is organized each year. In 2017 Visitor’s day was dedicated to a specially protected bird species - European Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus). Excursions guided by experts took place in the project area to get know this nocturnal bird and its lifestyle.
In 2017 educational documentary "Birds in Trenches" was published. The film tells about the protected landscape area “Adazi” nature values – the unique nature complex, which has formed in the area by continuous military training – and site management.
An extension of the project was requested in order to complete the project activities such as restoration of heath habitats (Activity C2 and C3) and restoration of wester taiga (Activity C4).). The European Commission approved the 10-month extension of the project, so the project activities will continue until 31 August 2018.