The Annotated Ramsar List: Latvia


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The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance


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The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Latvia on 25 November 1995. Latvia presently has 6 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 148,718 hectares.

site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas

Lake Engure.25/07/95; Talsu, Tukums; 19,700 ha; 57º17'N 023º07'E. Nature Park. The site is a permanent shallow coastal freshwater lake with fens, pines and mixed forests (often wet) and brackish marshes. The site has some threatened bird species present, such as the eagle and corncrake; it is also a nesting site for several bird species and has well over 800 vascular plant species. This area is used for commercial fishing, angling and hunting, though limited harvesting of reeds takes place during winter. Recreation and tourism are present to a limited extent. 2007 reports show progress in restoration of the coastal meadows. Ramsar site no. 738. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Lake Kanieris.25/07/95; Tukums; 1,995 ha; 57º00'N 023º26'E. National Park. Following a boundary extension in 2006, the site covers not only the shallow lagoon, but also the unique Slocene River delta swamps with several islands, large reed beds and surrounding floodplain forests at the adjacent areas to the west of the lake. Besides the floating vegetation of the lake, there is a broad mosaic of large reed beds of Phragmitetum, Typhetum angustifoliae and Cladietum marisci as well as different habitats at the surrounding meadows, fens and floodplain forests. The site supports several rare, vulnerable or endangered species or subspecies of plants, such as the orchid Liparis loeselii, and belongs to one of the richest bird sites in Latvia. The site is used for recreational and commercial fishing, while the surrounding area is mainly used for forestry and extensive agriculture. Small-scale recreational and tourist activities include primarily fishing, but also boat tours and birdwatching. Potential threats include phosphorus pollution and increasing eutrophication, overgrowing of the island, the disturbance of privacy by fisherman and other boats after the breeding season as well as through hunting, but also the spreading presence of the American Mink. Ramsar site no. 739. Most recent RIS information: 2006.

Lubana Wetland Complex.31/10/02; Madona, Rezekne, Balvi, Gulbene; 48,020 ha; 56°49'N 026°54'E. Nature reserve. The largest wetland in Latvia, with a shallow freshwater lake, 7 raised and transitional bogs and fens, inundated grasslands, fishponds and wet forests - in total, 15 protected habitats of European importance are represented. The site is important for maintaining bog-specific and rare bird species and wetland characteristic plant species and communities. More than 26,000 waterfowl birds rest in the area during spring migrations, especially large flocks of Bewick's Swan, Whooper Swan, and Pintail, and the site supports some particularly protected bird species like Haliaeetus albicilla, Aquila clanga, Gallinago media, Crex crex and protected mammals such as Castor fiber, Lutra lutra, Canis lupus, Ursus arctos, Lynx lynx. The main human activities are forestry, marginal non-intensive agriculture, and fishery. Drainage and dam constructions have damaged the wetland structure and threaten the fish population. A LIFE-Nature project approved in 2003 is intended to implement an environmental management plan to achieve sustainable development by 2010. Ramsar site no. 1384. Most recent RIS information: 2003.

Northern Bogs (Ziemelu purvi).31/10/02; Limbazi, Valmiera; 5,318 ha.; 57°58'N 024°50'E. Protected nature area, Biosphere Reserve. The site comprises two large raised bogs which are divided by the border with Estonia. Together with Nigula Nature Reserve in Estonia (Ramsar site no. 910) located 1 km westwards from the Kapzemes bog, the area comprises one of the largest untouched wetland complexes in the Baltic Republics. 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 a water storage in stabilising runoff. Land use is essentially berry picking and local fishing. Diminution of agricultural lands outside the wetlands has a negative impact on food availability for some birds and mammals. Various state monitoring programmes are carried out within the complex. Part of "North Livonian" Transboundary Ramsar site, with Sookuninga and Nigula Ramsar sites in Estonia, 2007. Ramsar site no. 1385. Most recent RIS information: 2003.

Pape Wetland Complex.31/10/02; Liepaja; 51,725 ha; 56°10'N 020°55'E. Important Bird Areas, nature park. Bordered by Lithuania at the south, the Lake Pape area is unique in the diversity of ecosystems concentrated in relatively small territory, including coastal lagoon, oligo-mesotrophic waters, natural eutrophic lakes, coastal dunes and raised bogs. The area is an internationally significant breeding, migrating and wintering site for birds and includes BirdLife Important Bird Areas. The narrow strip of land between Lake Pape and the sea is a major "bottleneck" for migratory birds such as the goose Anser fabalis and supports thousands of bats, notably the Myotis dasycneme. The site is an important place for other species considered as vulnerable or endangered within international frameworks like Lynx lynx, Castor fiber, Lutra lutra, Lampetra fluviatilis and shows also 6 habitats of EU importance, from which 5 are identified as priority. Human activities are berry picking (in mires), recreation, fishing and reed cutting. Surrounding areas are used for extensive grazing by Konik horses. Factors adversely affecting the site are the overgrowing of reeds, eutrophication of the lake, and unregulated tourist use of the area. A Nature Centre was established in 2002. A management plan for Lake Pape was prepared in 1997 and should be updated in 2004. Ramsar site no. 1386. Most recent RIS information: 2003.

Teici and Pelecares bogs.25/07/95; Madonas, Jakabhapils, Preilu; 23,560 ha; 56º34’N 026º30’E. This site is made up of 60% ombrogenous mire, 10% peat swamp forest, 19% bog lakes and 5% fens. The lake is a good representative example of a near-natural bog. The site also contains endemic plant and bird species. The surrounding landscape is characterized by extensive agriculture. Ramsar site no. 740. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

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