C.1. Grassland restoration and improving their conservation status

In this action, we plan to restore 668.5 ha of priority grasslands (project target habitats 6120*, 6210*, 6230*, 6270* or 6530*). We have identified the core Natura 2000 areas for the project target grasslands and have involved 11 farms located in the priority areas as partners in the project.

The restoration work in this action will be performed on 11 Natura 2000 sites, as follows:

  1. Ziemeļgauja
  2. Kuja
  3. Augšdaugava
  4. Raznas nacionālais parks
  5. Abavas senleja
  6. Abeli
  7. Sitas un Pededzes paliene
  8. Daugavas ieleja
  9. Mugurves pļavas
  10. Lielupes palienes pļavas
  11. Ogres ieleja

Within this action, we will apply the combination of best practice methods that have been already tested in the region, and those new to our geographic context. The following grassland restoration methods will be applied and tested:

  1. Seed harvesting from good quality priority grasslands and sowing them in degraded priority grasslands, to improve the habitat quality.
  2. Removal of overgrowth, bushes and trees followed by milling of stumps and aligning the surfaces.
  3. Restoration mowing, i.e. intensive mowing 2 times per year, with removal of biomass, to remove the excessive nutrients from the grasslands and avoid re-growth of shoots, or mowing on specific times to reduce distribution of unwanted species.
  4. Restoration grazing, i.e. intensive, grazing (short-time overgrazing) of the grasslands, to remove the excessive nutrients from the grasslands or grazing on specific schedule adapted for reducing distribution of unwanted species (wide application of best practice method).
  5. Light milling of grassland, to prepare it for mowing and grazing.
  6. Deep ploughing for removing of expansive vegetation, combined with transfer of seed material from donor grasslands and commercially available low diversity seed mixtures (testing regime).
  7. Removal of topsoil. According to scientific literature, this method is very effective for removing the nutrients from the grasslands, but it is very cost-intensive, involving complicated machinery and transportation costs. We will try this method on 1 ha, to test its effectiveness and options for minimising the cost.