Ornithologists concerned about destruction of protected bird habitats

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The Latvian Ornithologist Society (LOB) has raised concern that  Latvian State Forests (LVM) are felling specially protected and threatened bird species habitats in Vilku kalns–Krievkalni forest in Dobeles municipality, LOB said on March 3. 

According to the LOB, there are many specially protected forest habitats in the Vilku kalns-Krievkalni forest, and priority areas for protecting several species of owls and woodpeckers have been identified in the forest.

However, LVM, which operates public forests in the area, is felling trees that are habitats of specially protected species, LOB noted.

The Member of LOB and resident of Dobele, Valdis Lukjanovs, said: "Vilku kalns-Krievkalni forest is not only a place of concentration of natural values but also an important area of recreation for local residents as well as for arrivals. For this reason, we have called on the LVM to manage this area more gently, with no bare areas. In order to establish a nature park in this area, we have made an official submission to the Nature Conservation Agency, but the process of setting up a natural park is not rapid. Unfortunately, the LVM uses this and, contrary to our call, cleans out old landscape forest areas which [..] should be maintained and preserved."

The Society has developed plans for the protection of the species of owls and woodpeckers, which the Environment Ministry approved in 2020 and 2021, respectively. These plans identify areas that should be prioritized to ensure the conservation of populations of specially protected species.

The Chairman of the LOB Board, Viesturs Ķerus, stated: “This array of forests covers particularly important areas for the conservation of a number of protected and threatened species. This information is available to the LVM, which means that the destruction of habitats for protected species is a deliberate decision [..]. "

LOB asks the Nature Conservation Agency (DAP)and the Environment Ministry not to hesitate with extension of the network of specially protected natural areas. In addition, LOB considers that the management of public forests in specially protected nature areas should be entrusted to the competent authority, DAP, and not to the commercial enterprise, LVM.

 

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