Restoring EU priority grasslands

Restoring EU priority grasslands and promoting their multiple use (GrassLIFE) No. LIFE16 NAT/LV/000262

A number of EU priority grassland habitat types in Latvia and the Boreal biogeographic region are in urgent need of support. The following habitats listed in the Habitats Directive are in an unfavourable and declining conservation status: xeric and calcareous grasslands; semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates, important orchid sites; species-rich Nardus grasslands, on siliceous substrates; fennoscandian lowland species-rich dry to mesic grasslands; fennoscandian wooden meadows. All of previously mentioned are seriously fragmented and require urgent action to save and restore remaining areas and improve connectivity between them.


The project will focus on developing, optimising and improving the conservation status of five EU priority grasslands in Latvia (6120 – xeric and calcareous grasslands; 6210 – semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates; 6230 – species-rich Nardus grasslands; 6270 – fennoscandian lowland species-rich dry to mesic grasslands; 6530 – fennoscandian wooden meadows). All restoration activities will be implemented within 14 Natura 2000 network sites.


To reach the objective the project team will implement following activities:

  • Restore the target priority grassland habitats and improve their conservation status on 1 320.5 ha by applying vest-practice and testing pilot and restoration methods;
  • Establish a long-term sustainable management (grazing) system on the restored grassland areas;
  • Prepare recommendations for imporving their conservation status and grassland connectivity;
  • Improve the economics aspect of sustainable grassland use;
  • Improve knowledge and public awareness about the importance of preservation of priority grasslands in Latvia and the EU.

IES activities:

During the project IES will implement the following activities: development of the grassland connectivity model using satellite data for grassland restoration both on national and Natura 2000 site level; grassland after–restoration monitoring using advanced airborne remote sensing technologies; study and field assessments of ecosystem services focusing on the medicinal and aromatic plants; development of citizen science approach to grasslands engaging schools in the reporting about soils; promotion of grassland services creating and distributing recipe-book of medicinal and aromatic plants (for health and food), as well as building an audio-visual art exposition on grasslands and use of medicinal plants through centuries.

Project duration: September 2017 – March 2023

Leading partner: Latvian Fund for Nature

Partners: Institute for Environmental Solutions, SIA “Andruks”, Z/S “Celmiņi”, Z/S/ “Drubazas”, Z/S “Kalna Rubeņi”, Z/S “Jaunkraukļi”, SIA EETAC, Z/S “Krastiņi”, University of Latvia, SIA “1NET”, SIA “Sita Nature park”, Z/S “Stirnas”, Z/S “Vekši”, Z/S “Vētras”.

Project Manager: Inga Račinska, Latvian Fund for Nature, e-mail:, tel. +371 67830999

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

Funding Programme: European Union LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity Programme

Co-financer: Administration of the Latvian Environmental Fund