Sod cutting carried out to restore heath

Sod cutting was carried out in the heath of the protected landscape area "Adazi" and Adazi military training area in the autumn and winter 2015 - until the earth froze and snow appeared. This nature management method is innovative in Latvia and helps to create a diverse, natural heath mosaic.

By removing the topsoil, open sand grounds are formed in the heath. Rare plant species such as Grey Hair-grass and Wild Thyme that can not compete with more robust plants, grow into sand. Rare insects - Digger Wasp and Blue-winged Grasshopper are found in the sandy patches. Rare in Europe Tawny Pipit and specially protected in Latvia Hoopoe feed in sand grounds.

Sandy patches

Sod cutting is carried out by a tractor specially equipped with a front loader with a bucket in the heath areas mostly smaller than one hectare - 0.1 to 1.7 ha. Prior to that, the sappers of the National Armed Forces cleared these areas from unexploded ammunition. In 2015 sod cutting was carried out in a total of 1.43 ha. Unexploded ammunition has been removed from another 5.91 hectares, where removing of the topsoil will be carried out in the spring - summer 2016.

Tractor equipped with a front loader with a bucket

Within the project sod cutting will be carried out in a total of 20 hectares.

Although innovative in Latvia, elsewhere in Europe it is a common heath management method that has been used for many years in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and in other countries.