At the end of August Fredrik Lundin from the County Administrative Board of Dalarna and Dalarnas regional project manager for Life Taiga attended the international conference Military and nature – mutual benefits in Sigulda, Latvia. The conference was hosted by the Latvian Life project Birds in Adazi.
It was a three-day conference including different indoor presentations, including Swedish Life Taiga, and various field trips. Among the field trips there were two burning sites that the participants visited.
This is a part of Fredrik Lundins travel report regarding the conference.
The conference was opened by the secretary of Ministry of Defence, Viesturs Silenieks and the chief of the military base at Adazi. There was a presentation of the Life project Birds in Adazi by project manager Baiba Švane and by Captain Vendija Stamere, of the national armed forces. They told us about the history of the military field from the 1920s and onwards. After the Russians left the training area the activity was very low and there were some ideas of building projects and a new railway through the area. The military activity slowly increased in the beginning of the 2000s. The future of the military training area was secured and the main area was protected as a Natura2000-area. The major nature type on the training area is heath land. This nature type is not that common in Latvia today and the heath land in the Adazi area make up 90% of all heath land in the country. The military activity has not been enough to keep the heath land open and it has in recent year been slowly overgrowing. In order to stop the overgrowing and to enhance the nature values of the area the LIFE-project Birds in Adazi was formed.
The main actions in the project were:
Restoring hydrology of the mires by blocking ditches with small dams.
Marking the Natura2000-border and putting up information signs.
Reentering fire in the western taiga by doing prescribed fires.
On the field trips the participants visited three different ongoing and completed restoration actions. Burning of western taiga were one of the actions visited. The project has carried out two burnings, one in May 2016 and the other in July 2017. Both areas were visited.
– I will say that the conference was a success – very well organized and a balanced program. I made a lot of new connections and I got some good ideas to bring back to Sweden. Ideas about public relations, information actions and about restoring methods, says Fredrik Lundin.