Nine events were organised for the eradication of five invasive species, which have been nominated as priority species by LatViaNature: ash-leaved maple Acer negundo, Japanese rose Rosa rugosa, Himalayan balsam Impatiens glandulifera, Canadian goldenrod Solidago canadensis, and dwarf serviceberry Amelanchier spicata. All of them have a scientifically proven negative impact on the biodiversity of Latvia. Eradication events for invasive species took place in six specially protected nature areas: Nature Reserve “Vecdaugava”, Nature Park “Ragakāpa”, Gauja, Ķemeri and Rāzna National Parks, as well as Protected Landscape Area “Augšdaugava”.
Two events with a wide range of participants were organized for habitat restoration. A restoration event for a specially protected habitat of European importance – the rapids of the Narūta River – was organised in Rāzna National Park, and a natural grassland restoration event was held in Ķemeri National Park (expert event “Meadows are made in autumn”).
The majority of the participants were employees of various companies – 37%, and active residents – 33%. Also, nature experts, schoolchildren and students participated in the events.
“The involvement of society in the management of protected nature areas is really important. People increasingly feel responsibility for nature of Latvia and, accordingly, wish to contribute. We clearly see this in the LatViaNature project – the interest in events and their attendance increases from year to year both for the eradication of invasive species and for the restoration of habitats. We pay special attention to ensure that the nature experts explain the necessity and importance of the work to nature during the event – so that the events emphasize the educational side, and a deeper comprehension of processes in nature would arise. We see that interest in such events is growing also in the corporate environment,” says Ieva Saleniece, manager of the LIFE integrated project LatViaNature.