Biodiversity in Latvian Agricultural Landscapes

Duration of the project

01.02.2016. - 15.11.2016.

Countries and institutions involved in the project

University of Latvia
Georg-August-University of Göttingen
Institute for Agroecology and Biodiversity
Latvia University of Agriculture

Aim of the project

  1. reveal the impact of EFAs on the diversity of birds and spiders in Latvian farmland via a scientific study;
  2. publish the results of this research in an international peer-reviewed scientific journal;
  3. promote nature-friendly farming among the general public in Latvia by organizing a seminar (potential speakers include the project partners, as well as nature conservation NGOs from Latvia and Germany).

Main activities of the project

The project was measuring the species richness and abundance of birds (using point counts) and spiders and beetles (using pit-fall traps) in three different field types. We compared (1) conventional cereal fields with the (2)Ecological Focus Area option “legume fields” in 2016 and with (3) “legume fields”in 2015, but not in 2016, to determine whether they have a benefit for these three animal groups. The field research was carried out at 60 survey points for birds and 180 for invertebrates at each of two locations – around Jelgava with high agriculture intensity and around Skulte (Limbaži) with medium to low agricultural intensity, in order to determine whether the field types have different effects depending on their landscape context. Total of 2329 observations of 79 bird species were recorded as well as circa 45,000 invertebrate specimens collected, including ca. 13,000 spiders of at least 80 species and 25,000 beetles of at least 50 species – as expected the analyses of the collected data are still in progress at the time of preparation of this report. The results will be presented in a scientific paper during 2017 (first submission to „“Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment” (ISSN: 0167-8809).

We also organised a seminar entitled “Conservation of Biodiversity in Agricultural Landscapes” in Riga on April 12, 2016 with 7 presentations from the project partners and other nature conservation groups.

Target group and number of persons involved

Our target group wasthe scientific community and policy makers in Latvia and EU generally (targeted through the scientific publication of the results; exact number of persons is difficult to predict), and Latvian students, representatives of the Latvian Ministry of Agriculture and the general public interested in farmland biodiversity. Our seminar was attended by 40 people.

Indirectly we expect to increase in awareness among farmers and the general public about farmland biodiversity in Latvia and the effects of Ecological Focus Areas by the popular article, published in December issue of Latvian agriculture magazine “Agrotops”  (circulation 5000 copies)