PHS in NPR - Protection of habitats and species in Nature Park "Razna"

LIFE04 NAT/LV/000199

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Arturs SKUTE
Tel: +371 65425297
Fax: +371 65422890
Email: arturs.skute@du.lv

Project description:


Covering 53 000 ha, Razna Nature Park is the second largest protected area in Latvia. It contains various types of lakes, ponds, streams and wetland habitats of significant conservation value and biological diversity. One of the 125 lakes is the country’s biggest, Lake Razna, which holds a fifth of the country’s freshwater resources and 90% of its freshwater fish species.

The park contains habitats of EU importance such as permanent ponds and lakes, and free-floating vegetation.

Until 2003 when the Nature Park was established, Lake Razna and its surroundings were not adequately protected. The lake and its shores were negatively impacted by a number of unsustainable activities including intensive and illegal fishing, uncontrolled housing development and increased recreational pressures including motor boats and picnicking.

Daugavpils University has carried out research on indigenous plant and animal species, landscape ecology and geomorphology. It takes part in inventories of woodland key habitats, semi-natural meadows and identification and evaluation of potential Natura 2000 sites in Latvia. In 2001 it developed habitat-mapping methods with particular emphasis on habitats of EU importance.


The aim of the LIFE project was to draw up a comprehensive management plan for the whole Razna Nature Park, in close collaboration with all key interest groups and stakeholders. This would pay particular attention to the protection of five habitats and eight species of EU and international importance.

Individual management plans and water regulations were also to be drawn up for the five largest lakes and some initial restoration work carried out, for example to restore fish spawning grounds. Two specific objectives of the project were to re-introduce the rare European fire-bellied toad (Bombina bombina) to the Nature Park and develop recommendations for the establishment of micro-reserves on the territory. The project sought to regulate recreational activities along the lake shores and a specific target was to reduce illegal fishing by 50%.

A key element of the project would be public awareness-raising, targeting both the local communities and recreational visitors. This would aim to encourage people to use the lake areas more sustainably.


This Nature project successfully contributed to the development of the Natura 2000 network in Latvia through the mapping and elaboration of a management plan for the largest Nature Park in Latvia – National Park “Rāzna”.

The project started by carrying out a detailed inventory and habitat mapping of Razna Nature Park to identify the most sensitive areas and the location of key threats. The GIS-based habitat map is incorporated in the interactive map of the ArcIMS Server available to the public on the project website. A detailed database of more than 7 500 lake owners, renters, water users, landowners and their interests regarding water and land use in the National park “Razna” was compiled.

Creating the database and a very detailed map of biotopes provided the information that made it possible to design and implement a set of measures for the protection and management of 16 habitats and 71 species of EU and international importance in the territory of the Park. The Management Plan was approved by the Ministry of Environment in May 2009.

New lake exploitation regulations were also elaborated and approved for Lake Rāzna and the four other biggest lakes in the Park territory. Recommendations were developed for establishing micro-reserves for the protection of target species.

To reintroduce the European fire-bellied toad to the park, Latgales Zoo established breeding facilities and a research laboratory for the rare amphibian. A reintroduction programme was developed and implemented, with the targeted number (300) of Bombina bombina individuals reintroduced to selected wetlands and shallow ponds restored to improve their habitat. Further habitat work included cutting of reeds and uprooting of bushes on Lake Raznas to restore spawning grounds of three endangered fish species of EU importance. A more efficient patrolling of water bodies to protect fish species from activities such as fishing was carried out effectively using volunteers.

The project produced a website, 32 informative booklets, 10 information boards and 86 newsletters aimed at raising public awareness of the project and the Park. It also organised and participated in a number of conferences and seminars.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Freshwater


environmentally responsible behaviour‚  fishing industry‚  aquatic ecosystem‚  ecological assessment‚  environmental impact of recreation‚  environmental impact of tourism‚  freshwater ecosystem‚  rural development‚  touristic zone‚  management plan‚  informal negotiation‚  restoration measure‚  conflicting use‚  recreational area‚  information system‚  lake‚  land use planning‚  landscape conservation policy‚  wetlands ecosystem‚  site rehabilitation‚  cartography‚  decision making support‚  public awareness campaign‚  integrated management‚  policy integration‚  sustainable development‚  development planning‚  social participation

Target EU Legislation

  • Water
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)
  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
  • Decision 93/626 - Conclusion of the Convention on Biological Diversity (25.10.1993)
  • COM(95) 189 - "Communication on the judicious use and conservation of wetlands" (12.12.1995)
  • COM(98)42 -"Communication on a European Community Biodiversity Strategy" (05.02.1998)
  • COM(2001)162 -"Biodiversity Action Plan for the conservation of natural resources (vol. I & II)" ...

Target species

 Bombina bombina     

Target Habitat types

  • 3140 - Hard oligo-mesotrophic waters with benthic vegetation of Chara spp.
  • 3150 - Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition - type vegetation

Natura 2000 sites

SCI LV0303400 Raznas nacionalais parks



Coordinator Daugavpils University
Type of organisation University
Description Daugavpils University is the the second largest university in Latvia. It has five faculties: Humanities; Social Sciences; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Music and Art; and Education and Management.
Partners Daugavpils Regional Environmental Board, Latvia Latgale Zoo, Latvia Rēzekne Regional Environmental Board, Latvia


Project reference LIFE04 NAT/LV/000199
Duration 01-OCT-2004 to 31-MAR -2009
Total budget 678,740.00 €
EU contribution 339,370.00 €
Project location Associated Latvia (LV)(Latvia Latvija)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website (LV/EN)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (LV/EN)
Video link Project video (26')


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