Grassland Mapping

Integrated planning tool to ensure viability of grasslands (Acronym - Viva Grass) LIFE13 ENV/LT/000189

Marginal agricultural areas in Europe, remote from geographical perspective or not suitable for intensive agriculture, are still hosting high biodiversity of natural and semi-natural grassland. To ensure the long-term survival of grasslands, ecosystem based planning and economically viable grassland management is required. Comprehensive analysis of ecological, social and economical aspects should become an integral part of all agri-environmental and nature conservation measures and rual development policies.

1.image. Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris). Photo by Z.Markovenas.

1.image. Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris). Photo by Z.Markovenas.

The Aims

To prevent loss of High Nature Value grasslands by providing the Integrating Planning Tool and considering socio-economic factors impacting nature conservation policy. The tool will provide models for economically viable management of grassland biodiversity that would be applicable all over Europe and particularly in integrating of marginal grassland areas that experience socio-economic decline, land abandonment and consequent loss of farmland biodiversity.

2.image. Protected marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza). Photo by Z.Markovenas.

2.image. Protected marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza). Photo by Z.Markovenas.

Our Role

By obtaining high resolution airborne images, including LiDAR and hyperspectral data, we will carry out grassland ecosystem mapping and assessment in Cesis municipality, Madliena parish and the surrounding of Šovītes Farm in Latvia. The data will serve as input for the development of Integrating Planning Tool to be used for sustainable grassland ecosystem management.

The project will also implement grassland management related business catalytic activities and elaborate business development scenarios that might function as a background for investment plans. The project is preparing the habitats by restoring their semi-natural nature after overgrowth and abandoning. If the habitats are restored, then a farmer or landowner could apply for subsidies to do its agricultural production measures.

3.image. Oxbows of the Ogre River within Madliena Parish in Latvia. Image: IES

3.image. Oxbows of the Ogre River within Madliena Parish in Latvia. Image: IES

Project duration: 06.2014 – 11.2018

Project Manager: Kestutis Navickas, Baltic Environment Forum – Lithuania, e-mail:, tel. +370 5 255 9146

IES project coordinator: Rūta Abaja, e-mail:, +371 27818676

Project financed by: European Union LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity Programme


Coordinating Beneficiary: Baltic Environment Forum – Lithuania

Associated Beneficiary: Baltic Environment Forum – Latvia, University of Latvia, Cēsis County, Society „Otrās Mājas”, „Šovītes”, Baltic Environment Forum – Estonia, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Lumanda County, „Kurese”, Pavilniai and Verkiai Regional Park, Dubisa Regional Park, Šilute County, Hnit-Baltic Ltd., Institute for Environmental Solutions

More about the project