Implementation of the Convention
Measures Taken to Achieve the 2010 Target
Outside of designated protected areas, threatened species are protected from activities such as unsustainable forestry, intensification of agriculture, and chaotic housing developments through the Law on Protection of Species and Habitats. Sectoral programmes for forestry and agriculture also encourage the maintenance of complex biological diversity, thereby enabling species protection. Species action plans are being prepared for threatened species and completed plans include those of the Brown Bear, Eurasian Lynx, Black Stork, and Freshwater Pearl Mussel. The National Environmental Policy Plan (2004-2008) sets environmental priorities and targets for main users of biodiversity-based products, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and land-use. The sustainable use of biodiversity in agriculture is also regulated by the Rural Development Plan, which provides positive incentives for maintenance of biological diversity, organic farming, and the breeding of local animal breeds. Biodiversity use indicators are established in the National Resources Use Evaluation (2004) and include age structure and species composition for forestry, fishing quotas and biomass of spawning groups for fisheries, and the number of organic farms for land use. Several indicators are also listed in the Environmental Indicators Report of Latvia (2002). To promote sustainability in the forestry sector, certification schemes are used such as the forest green certification system (FSC – Forest Stewardship Council) for state forests and the Pan European Forest Certification. 51% of Latvian forests are certified, but only 1.4% of them are privately owned. The invasive plant Heracleum sosnowskyi is one of the main threats to habitats and species in rural areas, therefore its expansion is being controlled and its extermination is a pre-condition for receiving EU agricultural support. To address the threat of pollution to marine biodiversity in the Baltic Sea, Latvia is participating in regional bodies to decrease the pollution.
Initiatives in Protected Areas
Following the accession of Latvia to the European Union, 336 Natura 2000 territories were designated, including 4 Strict Nature Reserves and 4 National Parks, increasing the total protected area from 8.9% to 11.9%. Marine territories are included in 7 terrestrial protected areas. According to the national legislation, all Natura 2000 territories have legal protection status. Management plans are being prepared for protected areas at an average rate of 30 per year. The Law “On Protection of Species and Habitats” also provides for the establishment of micro-reserves to protect small-scale biologically valuable areas outside of protected territories. Up to date, 928 Micro-reserves have been established. Within the Natura 2000 sites, some inland water habitats and species have been protected. Marine territories are included in 5 terrestrial protected areas, mostly for the protection of wintering, nesting and resting sites of migratory birds. With the recent addition of three new Ramsar Sites, there are now 6 sites in Latvia covering a total of 148,363 ha.