GrassLIFE - Restoring EU priority grasslands and promoting their multiple use

LIFE16 NAT/LV/000262

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Project description:


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; and
  • Fennoscandian wooded meadows.
  • All are seriously fragmented and require urgent action to save and restore remaining areas and improve connectivity between them.


    GrassLIFE will focus on developing, optimising and improving the conservation status of five EU priority grasslands in Latvia (6120*, 6210*, 6230*, 6270* and 6530*). All restoration activities will be carried out within 14 Natura 2000 network sites.

    Specific project objectives are to:

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

    • 1 320.5 ha of priority grassland habitats restored and improved in habitat quality and conservation status - innovative/ pilot grassland restoration methods tested on some 400 ha;
    • A long-term sustainable management system established on 720.5 ha of the habitat types, by integrating grasslands into the daily farming practices of partner farms involved in the project;
    • Long-term sustainable grazing management of 600 ha of ‘difficult grasslands’ (i.e. difficult to manage and/or access) and of 300 ha per year after the project, by using mobile grazing units;
    • Submission to the Department of Environment of the Latvian government of recommendations for improving the conservation status and connectivity of priority grasslands. This will include the identification of ‘hotspots’ for restoration and (if applicable) site designation;
    • At least 120 restoration plans and 10 farm business plans produced;
    • A demonstration farm established, serving as an information and education centre. At least 150 different demonstration events carried out;
    • An economic study of grasslands, biodiversity and business. This will identify at least 10 grassland-related business products with high added-value;
    • A communication plan produced and implemented, focusing on ecosystem services;
    • Adoption of the citizen science approach to nature observations (www.dabasdati.lv) and soil monitoring;
    • Creation of a replication strategy; and
    • Submission to the Department of Agriculture of the Latvian government of an expert proposal for agri-environmental measures related to the conservation of project target habitats for integration into the country’s Rural Development Programme for 2021-2027.



Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Grasslands


agricultural method‚  environmental impact of agriculture‚  grassland ecosystem‚  grazing‚  management plan‚  restoration measure‚  ecosystem-based approach

Target EU Legislation

  • Land & Soil
  • COM(2001)162 - “Communication on a Biodiversity Action plan for Agriculture” (27.03.2001)
  • Climate Change & Energy efficicency
  • COM(2013)216 - EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change (16.04.2013)
  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...

Target Habitat types

  • 6530 - Fennoscandian wooded meadows
  • 6120 - Xeric sand calcareous grasslands
  • 6210 - Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (* important orchid sites)
  • 6230 - "Species-rich Nardus grasslands, on silicious substrates in mountain areas (and submountain areas in Continental Europe)"
  • 6270 - Fennoscandian lowland species-rich dry to mesic grasslands

Natura 2000 sites

SCI LV0200100 Gaujas nacionalais parks
SCI LV0301300 Istras pauguraine
SCI LV0302100 Abavas senleja
SCI LV0303400 Raznas nacionalais parks
SCI LV0304200 Kuja
SCI LV0520000 Abeli
SCI LV0523100 Lielupes palienes plavas
SCI LV0528800 Mugurves plavas
SCI LV0532000 Sitas un Pededzes paliene
SCI LV0600400 Augsdaugava
SCI LV0600700 Ziemelgauja
SCI LV0300100 Daugavas ieleja
SCI LV0304500 Ogres ieleja
SCI LV0536600 Lubana mitrajs



Coordinator Latvian Fund for Nature
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description The Latvian Fund for Nature (LFN) is a public non-governmental organisation, established in 1993 by nature conservation professionals, with a mission to maintain biological diversity in Latvia. It is the country’s largest nature conservation NGO and works on nature conservation educational projects and lobbying for nature conservation in legislation.
Partners SIA "Andruks", Latvia Zemnieku saimniecība "Kalna Rubeņi", Latvia Zemnieku saimniecība "Jaunkraukļi", Latvia SIA " 1NET", Latvia Zemnieku saimniecība "Vētras", Latvia Zemnieku saimniecība "Drubazas", Latvia Zemnieku saimniecība "Celmiņi", Latvia University of Latvia, Latvia SIA "Sita Nature park", Latvia Zemnieku saimniecība "Krastini", Latvia Vides Risinājumu Institūts (Institute for Environmental Solutions), Latvia Zemnieku saimniecība "Vekši", Latvia Zemnieku saimniecība "Stirnas", Latvia SIA EETAC (Eiropas Ekoloģiskā tūrisma attīstības centrs)), Latvia


Project reference LIFE16 NAT/LV/000262
Duration 01-SEP-2017 to 31-MAR -2023
Total budget 4,401,118.00 €
EU contribution 3,280,588.00 €
Project location Kurzeme(Latvia Latvija) Latgale(Latvia Latvija) Riga(Latvia Latvija) Pieriga(Latvia Latvija) Vidzeme(Latvia Latvija) Zemgale(Latvia Latvija) Extra-Regio(Latvia Latvija) Associated Latvia (LV)(Latvia Latvija)


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