Increasing the amount of dry wood in the forest

This winter LIFE+ project "Birds in Adazi" in cooperation with the National Armed Forces increased the quantity of dry wood in the protected landscape area "Adazi" forest areas, where burning of the undergrowth will take place later this year.

According to forest habitats expert's advice, using three methods - bark removal, felling and blasting, quantity of dry wood was increased in seven forest plots with a total area of ​​10.1 hectares. State Centre for Defence Military Objects and Procurement staff removed bark from more than 10 trees - both forming an annular rim and removing the bark to the root - and felling of more than 30 trees. National Armed Forces Land Forces Infantry Brigade Combat Support Battalion Civil engineering company carried out blasting of 18 trees. By using these different methods, diverse dry wood is created in the forest - laying and standing trees that during the burning of forest undergrowth will scorch and in the future will serve as a home for rare insects, lichens, mosses and mushrooms. Woodpeckers will feed on insect larvae found in the dry wood, but beetles associated with dry wood will serve as a food for European Roller.

Preparation works and burning of the forest undergrowth is carried out within the project's action C.4 "Restoration of habitat Western taiga (9010*)". It is planned to restore a total of 20 hectares of old or natural Western taiga forests (9010*) by using controlled burning of the undergrowth. Activity will be carried out following the Action plan developed by the LIFE+ project "Birds in Adazi" in cooperation with the State Forest Service and Incukalns Volunteer Firefighters Association. The total area of 20 ha will be burned in seven separate events each lasting approximately for a day. The support from the air will be ensured by the National Armed Force's helicopter for surveillance and fire fighting if necessary.

Existence and regeneration of Western taiga 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. Controlled burning is a new method in Latvia, but elsewhere in Europe, especially in Scandinavia, it is carried out for several decades and experience and knowledge in the use of the method have accumulated, as well as the positive effects can be seen.

Photo and video: Ieva Mārdega