LIFE GRASSSERVICE - Alternative use of biomass for maintenance of grassland biodiversity and ecosystem services

LIFE12 BIO/LV/001130

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Anda RUSKULE
Tel: +371 29222324
Fax: 37167507071
Email: Anda.Ruskule@bef.lv

Project description:


Grasslands, and in particular natural grasslands with high biodiversity, are complex ecosystems that provide a variety of different ecosystem functions and services, which are essential for the maintenance of biodiversity, as well as for human well-being. The main threats to grassland biodiversity are related to the intensification of agriculture, urbanisation, climate change, invasive species and the abandonment of agricultural land, which leads to the overgrowing of fields by forest and to a loss of the ecological value of grasslands and the related farmland biodiversity. In order to target the problem of declining grassland biodiversity and related ecosystem services, two pilot areas (Sigulda and Ludza municipalities) have been selected for the project activities. Both areas have large expanses of unused agriculture land and are rich in biodiversity.


The project aims to ensure the maintenance of valuable grasslands by introducing ecologically assessment, restoration and/or management of grassland ecosystems and by enhancing the use of grassland biomass in economically sustainable management models. Through the management of grassland habitats, and by promoting alternative options for the use of biomass (e.g. the production of biofuel), the project will also prevent the distribution of invasive grassland plant species and contribute to increasing the share of renewable energy sources in the energy mix.

The specific objectives are to:

  • Assess the biological and economic value of grassland ecosystems and services in the two project pilot areas, thus laying the basis for sustainable grassland management, as well as generating experience and building capacity of nature conservation groups in Latvia in the emerging field of ecosystem service assessment and valuation;
  • Assess the potential the grassland biomass in the project pilot areas and develop area-specific technological solutions for grassland management and the utilisation of biomass in an economically sustainable way;
  • Inform local stakeholders about the ecosystem services provided by grasslands and about alternative options for the use of grassland biomass;
  • Establish contacts and cooperation networks between land owners and entrepreneurs engaged in the production of energy and other goods from grassland biomass;
  • Demonstrate alternative technological solutions for biomass processing to a wide range of interested stakeholders, thus promoting a wider application of the proposed technologies and cooperation models.
  • Expected results:

  • Reports and documentation on the implementation of project activities, including: o A report on grassland ecosystem services at the two pilot areas; o A report on technical solutions for the use and processing of biomass and the cost-effectiveness of the proposed measures; o An action plan on the management of grassland habitats in the two pilot areas; o Technical documentation on the purchase or upgrading of equipment for the processing of the grassland biomass; o A publication on the results of assessment of the alternative uses of biomass; o A report on the impacts of the project activities on grassland ecosystems; o A report on the socioeconomic impacts of the project activities; o A register of local landowners and entrepreneurs to be involved in the project activities;
  • Agreements with local landowners on the collection of grassland biomass for the project activities;
  • At least 150 ha of grassland habitats restored in the two project pilot areas;
  • Grassland biomass collected for the demonstration activities on an area of at least 300 ha;
  • Demonstration actions on biomass processing at the two project pilot areas;
  • A seminar on the assessment of ecosystem services;
  • An international seminar on solutions to sustainable grassland management;
  • Four information seminars on project activities for local stakeholders;
  • An international seminar to disseminate the project results;
  • An informative leaflet on the project and on alternative uses for grassland biomass;
  • Four noticeboards;
  • A project homepage and information on the project partners.



Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Grasslands


grassland ecosystem‚  protected area‚  biodiversity‚  biomass energy‚  management plan‚  restoration measure

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Baltic Environmental Forum - Latvia
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description The Baltic Environmental Forum - Latvia (BEF Latvia), a non-profit organisation, was established in 2003. It promotes environmental protection policy by developing co-operation and initiating dialogue between various institutions and stakeholders. Its activities also include capacity-building for environmental management, expert meetings, seminars and training on environmental management topics. BEF Latvia promotes wider access to information and a greater understanding of the principles and practical implementation of environmental protection and environmental policy.
Partners Latvian Fund for Nature, Latvia Institute of Physical Research and Biomechanics, Latvia Sigulda Municipality Council, Latvia Ludza Municipality Council, Latvia "Skujas" Farm, Latvia Riga Technical University, Latvia


Project reference LIFE12 BIO/LV/001130
Duration 01-OCT-2013 to 31-DEC -2017
Total budget 1,280,964.00 €
EU contribution 640,482.00 €
Project location Latgale(Latvia Latvija) Vidzeme(Latvia Latvija)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version