The experts presented the planned activities to eradicate the dwarf serviceberry in the oldest and most biologically valuable part of the Nature Park in an area of 33 ha, which will take place in 2023-2026 in the frame of the LatViaNature project. After that, everyone had an opportunity to participate in practical eradication of the dwarf serviceberry together with the experts, meeting at the Jūrmala Open Air Museum on Tīklu Street 1A.
The invasive dwarf serviceberry has spread in the part of Nature Park “Ragakāpa” in Buļļuciems. It has massively multiplied and transformed the structure of the forest, changed environmental conditions and soil composition. As a result, the species characteristic for wooded coastal dunes disappear along to a gradual decrease of the dominance of Scots pines. The sparse and light pine forests characteristic for coastal dunes can gradually transfer into overgrown, impenetrable and opaque tree stands. In order to preserve the unique natural assets of the territory – the wooded coastal dunes, a protected habitat of European importance, the eradication of invasive species is defined as the management measure of the highest priority in the approved Nature Protection and Management Plan for “Ragakāpa” in 2019-2031.
In Nature Park “Ragakāpa”, LatViaNature will test the effectiveness of various nature-friendly methods for the eradication of the dwarf serviceberry in Latvian conditions to later develop scientific guidelines how to fight this harmful invasive species also in other parts of Latvia. The planned activities include:
- Uprooting dwarf serviceberry bushes with manual lifters – 19 ha (B areas on the map).
- Uprooting bushes with small size machinery – 14 ha (C areas on the map).
- Cutting and following accurate treatment (with a brush) of stumps with chemical plant protection products – on a limited area of 0.08 ha (D areas on the map).
- Frequent trimming of shoots on steep slopes and around noble trees – 0.14 ha (A areas on the map).
MAP OF ACTIVITIES
The activities will take place under the supervision of experts of the Nature Conservation Agency in September 2023 – February 2024. Experience suggests that fighting invasive species is not easy and cannot be accomplished in one year; thus, the work will continue in the following autumn/winter seasons until 2026 to eliminate unnoticed specimens or regrown shoots. The results will be evaluated until 2027. The activities will be organized in a way to have as little impact on the dunes as possible. The driving paths designated by the experts will be used for small machinery. Stacks of uprooted serviceberries will stay in the dunes for a short time. Also, sand outcrops created during the uprooting of bushes will be created, which, although visually unusual, will serve as habitats for such rare species as the spreading pasqueflower Pulsatilla patens and the sand pink Dianthus arenarius, as well as will facilitate the regeneration of pines.
The integrated project LatViaNature of the European Commission LIFE Programme is implementing currently the most extensive scientific research on the eradication of invasive species in Latvia – the methods for eradicating five harmful invasive species are being studied in 13 pilot areas throughout Latvia in an area of more than 100 ha.