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Restoration of woodland dune habitats started at the Natural Park “Seaside”

In November 2019, the restoration of woodland dune habitats in Carnikava, Gauja and Lilaste will be started in the Carnikava Nature Park “Seaside”. The work is being carried out within the framework of the LIFE CoHaBit project “Coastal Habitat Protection in the Nature Park “Seaside””. The works are scheduled to be completed by spring.

In ancient times, sand dunes were forested, with pines planted in tight rows. Currently planted pines are densely overgrown, creating a homogeneous forest landscape. Woodland dunes have poor light conditions under cover, pines are unhealthy and their needles form a large layer of litter, making it difficult for other species to enter. For a dune forest to be healthy, it needs to be cultivated.

What are woodland dunes?

The woodland dunes are a rare habitat, accounting for 0.9% of Latvia's land area. The woodland dunes form the coastal landscape typical in Latvia. They are important habitats for rare and protected plant and animal species, such as sand pink, woodland and meadow pasque-flower, nothorhina muricata, sand wasp, and birds such as wood pigeon, eagle owl, woodlark and others. Woodland dunes play an important role in recreation, sport and tourism. Forests are important to all of us because they bring countless benefits to people, so it is important to care for and maintain the forest.

meza silpurene Askolds Kļaviņšpriežu sveķotājkoksngrauži Uģis Piterāns







Meža silpurene (Pulsatilla patens).Photo: Askolds Kļaviņš         Priežu sveķotājkoksngrauža sasveķojumi (Nothorina muricata). Photo: Uģis Piterāns  

garlupas racējlapsene Viesturs Vintulis

Smiltaja nelke








Garlūpas racējlapsene (Bembix sp.). Photo:Viesturs Vintulis                              Smiltāja Neļķe (Dianthus arenarius). Photo: Julita Kluša 

sila cīrulis Jānis Jansons

ūpis Uģis Piterāns







Sila cīrulis (Lullula arborea). Foto: Jānis Jansons                             Ūpis (Bubo bubo). Foto: Uģis Piterāns 


Why are woodland dunes restored and what will be done?

The work planned for the LIFE CoHaBit project focuses on the restoration and improvement of the ecological status of the woodland dunes of the protected habitat, creating favorable habitats for rare and protected species. Regeneration is needed to create a non-homogeneous forest stand structure that is close to that of natural processes. The task is to promote the naturalization of the forest stand, which is characterized by trees of different dimensions, openings, diversity in the cover vegetation, heterogeneity in the density of the stand, the occurrence of rare species.

In the restoration of the woodland dune habitats, the following works are to be completed:

1) The trees of the previous generation will be preserved and their growing conditions will be improved by de-shading them and cutting down the youngest trees growing in the crown of these older trees.

2) Hallow trees, stumps, dried trees, which are especially important forest elements and at the same time habitats for different insect and bird species, will be preserved.

3) Specific trees of high ecological and landscape value will be preserved; undergrowth plant species such as juniper will also be protected.

4) Thinning of densely overgrown pines at different intensities will be carried out in different forest sections (reduction of the cross-area of a forest stand up to 30-50% within one forest section).

5) Glades or openings will be restored and created, leaving old trees but cutting down some younger trees.

6) Thinning of high-density young pine stands, leaving some of the most viable, thicker and tall pines or groups of pines.

7) Small, open areas of soil will be created because in some areas the forest has too thick a layer of moss, which interferes with the growth of various herbaceous plants, such as sand pink or meadow pasque-flower, and makes it difficult for young pines to sow.












The densely planted forest stand creates a homogeneous landscape, generates a lot of litter, has little sunlight and a low diversity of plants and animals. Photo: Agnese Jeniņa.

mežainās kāpas lilastē labs piemers











A good example of the woodland dunes with more open areas for sunlight and thicker clusters of trees. The natural landscape is diverse and the conditions are favorable for different species of plants and animals to live and develop in the forest.

Woodland dune restoration and maintenance will be carried out during the winter season also in conditions of frozen soil to minimize the impact on the surface layer. Work will be carried out with machinery suitable for forestry. The total area of the works exceeds 200 ha where intact forest stands will be preserved, glades will be formed and trees will be reduced by 30-50%.

Maps showing work areas can be found below (click on Carnikava, Gauja or Lilaste)

Carnikava   Gauja   Lilaste

We draw the attention of the residents about the colored trees in the Nature Park - an explanation of the colored marks on the trees:

























We apologize to the public in advance for any inconvenience this will cause during forest management. Please be advised that some nature trails may be closed during the works, and there will be limited movement of visitors in the Nature Park “Seaside”. For the purposes of public safety, no vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists are allowed in any forest maintenance and adjacent areas, closer than 100 m!

Please note that during forest maintenance, trees that will be felled will be piled in large piles, from where they will be removed from the Nature Park. Within the framework of the LIFE CoHaBit project, such restoration of 13.1 ha of woodland dunes was previously carried out in Mangalsala Nature Park “Seaside”.












Pile in Mangalsala. Similar piles will also be created in the area of Carnikava district.

The restoration works of the woodland dunes are coordinated with the State Environmental Service and the Nature Conservation Agency based on expert opinions in the area of species and habitats protection in Carnikava and Lilaste. The works will be carried out in accordance with the regulatory enactments – “Individual Conservation and Use Regulations for the Nature Park “Seaside””, the Law on the Protection of Species and Habitats, and the forest management legislation of the Republic of Latvia and others. The works will be performed in close cooperation with the specialists of JSC “Latvia's State Forests”.

Expert advice on species and habitats can be found here:



Resident information!

On November 23 at 10:00a.m., there will be an informative tour in the Nature Park “Seaside” starting at the promenade. The tour will address such questions as, “Why the woodlands of the Nature Park should be maintained? Can I cut trees in a Nature Park? Is it necessary to intervene in natural processes?”

Tour duration: from 10 am - 1 pm

Register by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with note Registration for the tour to be organized on November 23, always specifying the number of participants.

Pre-registration is required! Registration is open until 21.11.2019. at 9pm.

More information on restoration of woodland dunes

- Published information on LIFE CoHaBit project activities in Carnikava district can be found at www.carnikava.lv (under Development - Projects - LIFE CoHaBit).

- LIFE CoHaBit Project website https://dabasparkspiejura.lv/index.php/en/.

- www.daba.gov.lv – “Guidelines for the Conservation of Protected Habitats in Latvia”.

More about project activities:




Projekts LIFE CoHaBit (Nr. LIFE15 NAT/LV/000900) „Piekrastes biotopu aizsardzība dabas parkā “Piejūra”” tiek ieviests ar Eiropas Komisijas LIFE programmas un Valsts reģionālās attīstības aģentūras Latvijas vides aizsardzības fonda administrācijas finansiālu atbalstu. 

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A. Jeņina , A. Rudusāne, S.Voskāne

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Project Co-Financed By

Administration of Latvian Environmental Protection Fund 200


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