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Restoring EU priority grasslands and promoting their multiple use

Reference: LIFE16 NAT/LV/000262 | Acronym: GrassLIFE



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.


    Reference: LIFE16 NAT/LV/000262
    Acronym: GrassLIFE
    Start Date: 01/09/2017
    End Date: 31/03/2023
    Total Eligible Budget: 4,374,118 €
    EU Contribution: 3,280,588 €


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Latvian Fund for Nature
    Legal Status: PNC
    Address: Vilandes 3-7, LV-1010, Riga,
    Contact Person: Baiba Strazdina
    Email: Send Email
    Website: Visit Website

    LIFE Project Map



    • Grasslands


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


    • COM(2013)216 - EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change (16.04.2013)
    • COM(2001)162 - “Communication on a Biodiversity Action plan for Agriculture” (27.03.2001)
    • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)


    • 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
    • 6530 - Fennoscandian wooded meadows


    Code Name Type Version
    Gaujas nacionalais parks LV0200100 SPA and SCI/SAC v.2021
    Istras pauguraine LV0301300 SPA and SCI/SAC v.2021
    Abavas senleja LV0302100 SPA and SCI/SAC v.2021
    Raznas nacionalais parks LV0303400 SPA and SCI/SAC v.2021
    Kuja LV0304200 SPA and SCI/SAC v.2021
    Abeli LV0520000 SPA and SCI/SAC v.2021
    Lielupes palienes plavas LV0523100 SPA and SCI/SAC v.2021
    Mugurves plavas LV0528800 SPA and SCI/SAC v.2021
    Sitas un Pededzes paliene LV0532000 SPA and SCI/SAC v.2021
    Augsdaugava LV0600400 SPA and SCI/SAC v.2021
    Ziemelgauja LV0600700 SPA and SCI/SAC v.2021
    Daugavas ieleja LV0300100 SCI/SAC v.2021
    Ogres ieleja LV0304500 SCI/SAC v.2021
    Lubana mitrajs LV0536600 SPA and SCI/SAC v.2021


    Name Type
    Latvian Fund for Nature Coordinator
    Zemnieku saimniecība "Drubazas", Latvia Participant
    University of Latvia, Latvia Participant
    SIA " 1NET", Latvia Participant
    Vides Risinājumu Institūts (Institute for Environmental Solutions), Latvia Participant
    SIA "Sita Nature park", Latvia Participant
    Zemnieku saimniecība "Celmiņi", Latvia Participant
    Zemnieku saimniecība "Krastini", Latvia Participant
    Zemnieku saimniecība "Kalna Rubeņi", Latvia Participant
    SIA EETAC (Eiropas Ekoloģiskā tūrisma attīstības centrs)), Latvia Participant
    Zemnieku saimniecība "Jaunkraukļi", Latvia Participant
    SIA "Andruks", Latvia Participant
    Zemnieku saimniecība "Stirnas", Latvia Participant
    Zemnieku saimniecība "Vekši", Latvia Participant
    Zemnieku saimniecība "Vētras", Latvia Participant