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Latvia

Wetland types

There are 12 400 rivers and 2256 lakes which are bigger than 1 hectare. Together with ponds and reservoirs they cover about 3,7 % of Latvia. Untouched wetlands cover 4,9 % of Latvia. All three types of wetlands – raised bogs, transitional bogs as well fens are represented.  There are also flooded and coastal meadows represented in the country. In total about 10,4 % of Latvia are covered by different types of wetlands, including forests on peat soils.

In Latvia there are all together 6 Ramsar sites covering 148 145 hectares (2012).

Ramsar sites in Latvia

 

 

Name

Announced as Ramsar site

Area in hectares

1.

Lake Kanieris

1995

1200

2.

Lake Engure

1995

18 000

3.

Teici and Pelecare bogs

1995

24 000

4.

Lubana wetland complex

2002

47 902

5.

Lake Pape area

2002

51 725

6.

Northern Bogs

2002

5318

Total (hectares)

148 145

1. Lake Kaņieris

Lake Kaņieris is a unique coastal freshwater lagoon lake, remnant of the previous stage of the Baltic Sea. The Ramsar site covers 1200 ha, where the shallow Lake Kaņieris, Slocene River delta with its untouched swamp forests, lakeshore calcareous fens and several islets are included. The lake is a mosaic of shallow open water and reed beds, dolomite, mud and sand beds. The lake and its surroundings are particular with bird species richness, both nesting and migratory species are present there. Several threatened mammals species are present in the site. The lake lies on dolomite ground, thus providing suitable conditions for calcareous fens, rich in rare plant species including numerous threatened orchids. The lake is used for angling and reed cutting, and is a popular bird watching site. The Ramsar site overlaps with Ķemeri National Park, Natura 2000 site.

Ķemeri National Park Wetland information centre

Information centre is located in Ķemeri National Park administration building, in Ķemeri, Jūrmala. Centre is available for visitors in the summer season (May to October) or at the office throughout the year. The information centre provides exhibition on wetlands, photo exposures, mobile exhibitions placed in different locations in the region etc.

The Ķemeri National Park administration provides a chance to take part in Nature School for kids including various activities concerning wetlands (bioindication in aquatic ecosystems, bogs, coastal area).

2. Lake Engure

The Ramsar site includes a variety of ecosystems: the Lake Engure, a coastal freshwater lake, fens, dry pine forests on coastal dunes, wetlands, swampy forests, coastal grasslands and brackish marshes. Area holds about 186 nesting bird species and approximately 860 vascular plant species. Numerous threatened bird species such as white tailed eagle, corncrake and several thousands of breeding waterbirds are present here. Large variety of rare plant species, particularly the calcareous fen species including orchids – 22 wild orchid species occur in the surroundings of the lake. The area is used for fishing, angling, hunting and reed cutting. The site is popular also as a tourism attraction, particularly the Lake Engure as bird watching site and the sea coast with its recreation facilities.

The Ramsar site overlaps with Lake Engure Nature Park, Natura 2000 site.

3. Teiči and Pelečāre Bogs

The Ramsar site covers 23560 ha. The Ramsar site overlaps with Natura 2000 sites Teiči Nature Reserve (19779 ha) and Pelečāre Bog (5683 ha). Besides the entire territory of Ramsar site overlaps with Important Bird Areas of European Union importance. Teiči bog complex is the largest raised bog in Latvia and one of the largest bogs in Europe. Due to its nature values this area is recognized as an IUCN Management Category I: a protected area managed mainly for science or wilderness protection. The Teiči bog complex and Pelečāre bog are particular with large open raised bog areas, fens and transitional mires, bog pools, marshes and the islands formed of the silt sediments. The bog complexes are just slightly affected by negative anthropogenic impacts; therefore they represent a nearly pristine wetland landscape pattern. The area is considered as internationally significant breeding and migrating site for birds.

4. Lubana Wetland Complex

The Lubana Wetland Complex Ramsar site covers 47 902 ha. It has long been recognized for having the highest biotope diversity of any inland wetland area. It is a nature reserve and the largest wetland in Latvia, with a shallow freshwater lake Lubāns, raised and transitional bogs, inundated grasslands, fishponds and wet forests - in total, 15 protected habitats of European importance are represented. Studies have identified 225 bird species in the wetlands, including 43 species listed in Annex I of the Bird Directive. More than 26,000 waterfowl birds rest in the area during spring migrations, especially large flocks of Cygnus columbianus, Cygnus cygnus, and Anas acuta, and the site supports some particularly protected bird species like Haliaeetus albicilla, Gallinago media, Crex crex. The Lubana wetland is a popular bird watching place. In the spring and autumn periods it has a significant role as a through waterfowl’s feeding and repose place. One of the biggest Ardea cinerea and Phalacrocorax carbo colonies can be found here.

The main human activities are forestry, grasslands management, and fishery. Drainage and dam constructions have damaged the wetland structure and threaten the fish population. A LIFE-Nature project approved in 2003 -2007 was intended to implement an environmental management plan to achieve sustainable development.

Information on the LIFE Nature project

Lubana Wetland information Centre is available for visitors during the summer season providing mobile exhibitions, boat rent, etc.

Madonas novads, Ošupes pagasts, LV-4833

E-mail:  infolubans (at) inbox.lv

5. Lake Pape area

The Lake Pape area is coastal freshwater lake, remnant of the Littorina Sea, the previous stage of the Baltic Sea. The Ramsar site covers 51 725 ha and represents large diversity of ecosystems including coastal lagoon lake, coastal dunes, raised bogs and fens. The area is considered as internationally significant breeding, migrating and wintering site for birds.  The narrow strip of land between Lake Pape and the sea is a major “bottleneck” for migratory birds as well as thousands of bats. The lake is used for fishing and reed cutting. The surrounding areas are used for extensive grazing aimed at conservation of grasslands. The Ramsar site overlaps with Pape Nature Park, Natura 2000 site.

6. Northern Bogs

The site comprises two large raised bogs which are stretching in Estonia and divided by the border with Estonia. Together with Nigula, Runasoo, Rongu, Rakste, Sookuninga bogs in Estonia the area comprises one of the largest untouched wetland complexes in the Baltic States. It supports an appreciable assemblage of rare, vulnerable and endangered species of birds and plants, some of them occurring in great numbers or densities especially during migration. In autumn, at least 10,000 Anser fabalis and A. albifrons are roosting. Breeding species include Circus pygargus, Falco columbianus, Grus grus, Philomachus pugnax. The wetland complex plays an important role as water storage in stabilizing runoff. Land use is essentially berry picking and local fishing. Abandonment of agricultural lands outside the wetlands has a negative impact on food availability for some birds and mammals.

 

Further Information about the Ramsar Sites in Latvia:

Ramsar Sites Information Service

 

Transboundary Ramsar site

Together with Sookuninga and Nigula Ramsar sites in Estonia Northern Bogs is announced as „North Livonian" Transboundary Ramsar site. Masterplan for Transboundary Ramsar site (Wetland protection and Rural Development in the Transboundary area of Latvia and Estonia, 2006) is elaborated and addresses also socio-economical and cultural values of wetlands and adjacent areas.

Ramsar organization in Latvia

AA:  Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Inga Belasova, inga.belasova (at) varam.gov.lv

NFP: Nature Conservation Agency of Latvia, Juris Jātnieks, juris.jatnieks (at) daba.gov.lv

CEPA GOV: Nature Conservation Agency of Latvia, Rita Jakovļeva, rita.jakovleva (at) daba.gov.lv;

                   Diana Meiere, National History Museum of Latvia, diana.meiere (at) ldm.gov.lv

CEPA NGO: has not been nominated yet

SRTP GOV: Nature Conservation Agency of Latvia, Andris Urtans, andris.urtans (at) daba.gov.lv

Wetlands committee: has not been nominated yet