Final season of “Nature census”
In May 2017 ELLE and Latvian Fund for Nature commenced assessment of quality and distribution of EU protected habitats in Latvia (“Nature census”). The first season was a big challenge both to experts carrying out field work (constant rains, flooded roads, meadows and forests), and to organizers, who had to ensure training of existing and new specialists, coordination and management of work of more than 200 experts, working in various corners of Latvia. Second season had its own challenges, namely long period of drought and high temperatures that made forest inventory easier but impeded mapping of semi-natural grasslands and in separate cases also rivers. More than 50 new specialists were trained and calibrated for fieldwork, including about 20 Belorussian experts. Mapping of all coastal zone of Latvia was almost completed during season of 2018, only small sections left to inspect.
Third season of project has started with calibration seminars in forests and bogs, and part of specialists are already working. Workload is even bigger than in 2018 so coordinators put a lot of effort into planning fieldwork and assigning mapping areas to teams of specialists. Meanwhile, landowners are getting information letters about grassland and freshwater habitats mapped in their properties, and state and municipal institutions are using information from project in nature management plans, decision making for planning purposes and other administrative tasks.