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Restoration and management of open dune habitats is started

3 aizaugusi peleka kapa

In Carnikava County, dune management works will begin already this autumn. Within the project “Coastal Habitat Conservation in the Nature Park “Piejura”” or LIFE CoHaBit, the open dune habitats will be restored and dunes will be reinforced in the Nature Park “Piejura”. The works on the grey dunes need to be carried out to reduce the pine overgrown areas. Such restoration of dunes in small areas in Latvia has been carried out in Uzava, Ovisi coast, and, within the LIFE CoHaBit project, in Mangalsala.

Habitat for protected species. Grey dune is characterized by open spaces, where there are few or no trees and shrubs at all, the ground is covered with lichens, mosses and low caulescent plants. Consequently, it is the main home for many light-demanding species, including Small Pasque Flower, Sand Pink, Golden Alyssum “Gmelina”, Sand Vasp, and Tawny Pipit. Most grey dunes have arisen and have existed for a long time under the influence of human activity. There was a time when fishing nets were dried, boats were laid and livestock was pastured in these dunes. Today they serve mainly as recreational areas.

Since the area of grey dunes is no longer managed, it is overgrown with trees and shrubs. This habitat is most threatened by the uneven anthropogenic load, which leads to increased erosion and formation of open sand areas in some places due to intensive trampling at recreational places, while in the rest of the territory the disturbance is minimal; thus, the overgrowth of the habitat with pines begins. In an overgrown dune, the movement of sand decreases, the amount of silt and nutrients increases, the amount of light decreases, and, consequently, the species characteristic of the dune also disappear.

Smiltaja nelke

In open areas with a sufficient amount of light, various dune plants, characteristic only to sandy areas, grow; some of them are protected not only in Latvia, but throughout Europe. Photo: Sand Pink.

2 Atklata peleka kapa 2There is an open grey dune in the Gauja estuary beach, which begins to overgrow with pines in some places. In summer, a variety of dune caulescent plants blooms here abundantly. In Latvia, such habitats are rare and, in many places, overgrown with pine trees.

Planned works. The restoration of open dunes will take place on the coastal sections of Garupe-Carnikava and Gauja-Lilaste, where a total of 13.4 hectares of dune fields will be formed by cutting out the new, densely grown pines. All pines with a trunk diameter of more than 20 cm as well as all ecologically significant and picturesque pines with explicit ground branches and flat crown will be preserved. All removed trees will be used in further works to strengthen the sandy areas – branching and branch fences will be created. In general, on the coast of Garciems, Carnikava, Gauja, and Lilaste, such fences will be created in length of almost 4 km. This will contribute to the restoration of the dunes and distract visitors from excessively trampled-down places. As a result, recreation areas for people will be preserved and new places for sand species will be created. Works are planned to be completed by winter.

A typical grey dune is covered with various caulescent plants, mosses and lichens; there are some open sandy areas. The foreground of the picture shows the desired result of the works performed, but the pine trees in the background should be excavated, leaving the most picturesque pine trees with low ground branches.\

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