Preparatory actions
A1 Development of criteria for national protected species lists

The activity is planned for the period from January 2021 to 2022. 

All partners are involved in the implementation of this activity.

In Latvia, one of the national priorities is to re-evaluate the list of state protected species and habitats and to re-evaluate the role of the existing Natura 2000 network in the protection of species and habitats. The reassessment should be carried out in close collaboration with scientists, policy makers and other stakeholders. The re-evaluation must be based on accurate and up-to-date information and clear criteria. In Latvia, the lists of protected species (list of protected species and list of species in the regulations on micro-reserves) approved by the Cabinet of Ministers were issued 15–20 years ago. 

Objectives: to develop lists of specially protected and micro-protected species and criteria for inclusion (and exclusion) of species in one or two lists.


  • To discuss (with the authorities and individuals publicly) and decide whether the existing system with two lists can provide adequate protection for the species: 1) a list that is more general and defines endangered species at national level, and 2) a list related to certain conservation measures; allows for strict protection through the creation of small protected areas (list of micro-protected species) or the system needs to be changed (e.g. by merging rules);
  • To develop criteria for the inclusion (and exclusion) of species in one or two lists. 
  • To explain and discuss the draft criteria in 3 expert seminars, in which all experts of the species groups are invited to participate.

Result: Lists of specially protected and micro-protected species are evaluated and updated and criteria for inclusion (and exclusion) of species in one or two lists are developed.

Deliverables: New protected species lists for all groups of organisms (draft for legislative amendments) . In process.

Milestones: Action A.1. implementation plan developed and agreed on within the project team. (finished)

University of Latvia Completed
A2 Mobilising and re-evaluation of available data and collecting of new species data


All partners are involved in the implementation of the activity.


  • Reassessment of species data and improvement of data quality in the GIS-based National Biodiversity Data System OZOLS.
  • To mobilize species data from non digitized sources (many sources are still in paper form, stored in private databases, research / restoration project reports and other sources) and their preparation for species assessments and supplementing the NBDS OZOLS.
  • To evaluate the part of the data obtained from the "Nature Census" project implemented by NCA, which would be useful to further use and correctly store in OZOLS;
  • To carry out field studies by visiting ancient sites or similar habitats where the species could potentially be found.

The improved data will be available for multifunctional use, including project implementation, decision making, and biodiversity conservation and management. 

Deliverable: re-evaluated datasets (mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, invertebrates, vascular plants, mosses, lichens, fungi, algae) by checking at least 100,000 records of species. In Process.

University of Latvia Completed
A3 Development of communication strategy


University of Latvia - communication strategy development, Latvian Ornithological Society, Nature Conservation Agency, University of Daugavpils - contribution to strategy development.

The results of the project and the process of achieving the results can attract the attention of a wide audience, create new legally binding rules and to some extent transform the understanding of which species, why and how to be protected. That is why smart communication is needed throughout the life of the project.

The communication strategy will also include lobbying and advocacy activities to minimize the risk of non-adoption of draft legislation. The strategy sets out the means to reach key stakeholders.

Deliverable: Communication strategy. (finished)

University of Latvia Finished
Core actions
B1 Re-assessment of species conservation status and preparation of threatened species list based on IUCN criteria 

All partners are involved in the implementation of the activity: University of Latvia  – organizing the training, supervision of work, expertise (all taxonomic groups except for birds and mammals);  Latvian Ornithological Society, – expertise (birds); Nature Conservation Agency  – expertise (mammals); University of Daugavpils  – expertise (vascular plants, invertebrates, lichens).


Species experts and technical assistants who participate in species assessment according to IUCN criteria and methodology:

Vascular plants. Liene Auniņa, Ieva Roze, Ansis Opmanis, Nora Rustanoviča, Aiva Bojāre. Papildus piesaistītie eksperti: Brigita Laime, Pēteris Evarts-Bunders, Gunta Evarte-Bundere, Inita Svilāne, Dana Krasnopoļska, Uvis Suško, Laura Grīnberga.

Moss. Līga Strazdiņa, Baiba Bambe, Ansis Opmanis. Papildus piesaistītie eksperti: Ivars Leimanis, Ligita Liepiņa, Evita Oļehnoviča, Uvis Suško.

Mushrooms. Diāna Meiere, Inita Dāniele. Papildus piesaistītie eksperti: Gaidis Grandāns, Renāte Kaupuža, Julita Kluša, Ilze Ķuze, Ivars Leimanis, Uldis Ļoļāns, Edgars Mūkins, Evita Oļehnoviča, u.c.

Lichens. Polina Degtjarenko. Papildus piesaistītie eksperti: Rolands Moisejevs, Dace Stepanova.

Invertebrates. Dmitrijs Teļnovs, Dāvis Ozoliņš, Rūta Rozenfelde, Digna Pilāte, Jānis Ozols, Uģis Kagainis, u.c. 

Birds. Viesturs Ķerus, Andris Avotiņš, Ainārs Auniņš, Antra Stīpniece.

Reptiles, amphibians. Andris Čeirāns.

Mammals. Valdis Pilāts. Papildus piesaistītie eksperti: Gunārs Pētersons, Viesturs Vintulis.

Fish. Māris Plikšs (†), Jānis Bajinskis, and others.


Up to now, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) criteria for red lists of threatened species were not applied in Latvia, though this approach is widely used worldwide. The IUCN framework provides a set of criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of species and allows evaluating the status of species on a national level. By implementing this action, we intend to make a comprehensive re-assessment of the national threatened species lists which has not been done for at least 20 years (or more, as for some species groups). The current Red Data Book of Latvia and national regulations concerning protected species are outdated, as the socio-economic situation in the country and thus also the threats have evolved considerably since the 1990s. The actual conservation status of many species has changed. This is among the key actions in the project and tightly related with achieving the project objectives – enhanced knowledge on species on national level, improved national legislation and data system of threatened species.


  • To organize initial training on the use of IUCN criteria for project experts and nature experts;
  • Assessment of the threat status of the species using the IUCN system. (This activity will analyze all available data for each species: distribution, trends, population size, habitat, threats, etc. Potential data sources are data obtained and digitized in activity A2. As a result, based on the IUCN criteria, we will create an updated list of endangered species in Latvia (all groups of organisms).
  • To organize expert meetings in the middle and end of the activity for all species groups, for a total of six groups (mammals; birds; amphibians and reptiles; fish; invertebrates; vascular plants; and mosses, lichens, fungi and algae), inviting competent experts from other countries working in the same field (but not in this project) to present and discuss preliminary results at an early stage. Experts (researchers, species experts) and policy makers (Ministry of Environment Protection and Regional Development and Nature Conservation Agency, other public authorities) will be invited to share specific knowledge, data and views.

Deliverable: new threatened species list for Latvia (mammals; birds; amphibians & reptiles; fish; invertebrates; vascular plants; mosses, lichens, fungi & algae). In process.

Milestone: training on application of IUCN criteria organized. (finished)

University of Latvia Completed
B2 Developing legislative drafts concerning species conservation


Partner responsible for the implementation of the activity -  University of Latvia and the Nature Conservation Agency.

Legally binding lists of protected species are one of the most important tools for nature protection. The current lists of protected species are outdated because they were drawn up almost or more than 20 years ago, lack clear criteria for listing species and are inflexible, making it almost impossible to add new species or exclude a species. However, the actual conservation status of many species has changed for a number of reasons, such as the socio-economic situation, the discovery of new species, etc., need to be re-evaluated, updated and improved.


  • To prepare draft amendments to national legislation in order to improve the management of species protection based on the results of the project, i.e. comprehensive analysis of species data and existing legislation and its impact on the conservation status of the species over the last twenty years;
  • to discuss draft legislation and its justifications with experts and stakeholders (Ministry of Agriculture, Environmental Protection and Regional Development, JSC Latvian State Forests, main non-governmental organizations representing foresters, anglers, farmers, beekeepers, peat producers, municipalities, etc.) and submit them to the Ministry of Environment and Regional Development.

Deliverable: legislative drafts concerning species protection prepared and submitted to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development.

Milestone: at least two stakeholder meetings organized for each legislative draft.

University of Latvia,
Nature Conservation Agency
In progress
B3 Preparation of species data sheets and production of printed data sheet books

For all threatened species selected in Action B.1 the basic information for data sheets will be prepared by applying the IUCN criteria. In B3 activity the focus will be on the editorial improvements, restructuring of the material, addition of illustrative material and the development of recommendations for the conservation and management of species. The data sheets will contain basic scientific information (morphological description, ecology, distribution and trends, hazards). The data sheets will be prepared in Latvian (with a summary in English) and supplemented with photographs or drawings of species and features relevant to their identification, a distribution map, typical habitats and / or other relevant illustrative information. 


  • To prepare, discuss and coordinate with experts the implementation plan for measure B.3 in the initial phase of this activity;
  • To prepare structured data sheets on endangered species selected in activity B1
  • To publish data sheets both in electronic format on the project website and in hard copy (six books).


  • Six books (compilations of species data sheets) published online on the project website;
  • Six books (compilations of species data sheets) printed.


  • Section B.3 management plan prepared and accepted among the experts; (finished)
  • Opening event dedicated to the publishing of the books (public event).
University of Latvia In progress
B4 Improving the national biodiversity data system (species geodatabase structure, database contents and database structure for species monitoring data)

The National Biodiversity Data System OZOLS is an existing national GIS-based database developed and maintained by the Nature Conservation Agency. It is the most comprehensive biodiversity database in Latvia, which has the status of an official state information system. It contains information and spatial data on the boundaries of protected nature areas (both Natura 2000 and areas of national importance), micro-reserves, protected habitats, protected species, proposed and implemented management measures aimed at nature protection, biodiversity monitoring sites and data (sample plots), transects, etc.), compensatory measures and other relevant data. During this project, it is planned to improve the operation of the National Biodiversity Data System OZOLS and improve the ability to store and analyse large amounts of species data. Improvements in the data system (data quality, data forms) will benefit all types of users, as they will ensure better data quality and help to store data more efficiently.


  • To update and improve the structure of the geodatabase for at least five large taxonomic groups of organisms (mammals, invertebrates (with subgroups), fungi, mosses and lichens, fish);
  • Create an electronic database for species monitoring data.


  • Improved geodatabase structure for at least five taxonomic groups;
  • Developed an electronic monitoring record database.
Nature Conservation Agency, University of Latvia In progress
Monitoring of project impact
C1 Monitoring of project impact

The project is expected to have both direct impacts (e.g. jobs created by the project, funds spent on external services) and indirect impacts (e.g. increased knowledge of endangered species and their application in practice, greater public involvement). The project will create a number of products with direct application in nature protection (printed and electronic books and other materials, training materials) and train a number of nature conservation staff and experts who will contribute to the improvement of species management in the future. 

Objective: to assess the overall impact of the project using LIFE Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) complemented by concrete project results and surveys indicating success.


  • To assess changes in public knowledge and understanding of species protection by conducting a representative public opinion poll twice during the project (at the beginning and at the end of the project);
  • To carry out questionnaires at training events and other public events (seminars, conferences) for specific target groups;
  • To implement project communication activities, e.g. dissemination of information through media channels, website, exhibition, etc.


  • 4 monitoring reports of project impact.
University of Latvia In progress
C2 Socio-economic assessment of national legislative amendments concerning protected species lists

To ensure that the assessment is credible and unbiased, it will be carried out by external expert economists (via public procurement). The assessment report will include evaluation of socio-economic aspects (e.g. impact on land use, potential uses and income from private lands, ecosystem services), as well as evaluation of other aspects (e.g. aesthetic, traditional, cultural, etc. values of species).

The results will be presented to the general public and stakeholders using different channels including project website, seminars, and various publications.

Deliverables: socio-economic assessment proposal of new, updated species lists and changes in national legislation concerning species conservation.

University of Latvia In progress
Communication and dissemination of the project and its results
D1 Development and maintenance of project website

Project website will be developed and maintained as a modern, user-friendly interactive platform for information dissemination and exchange among the project, general public and stakeholders. The project website will contain information about the project, its objectives and project actions, the project progress, planned events and results both in Latvian and English. The website will contain all materials prepared during the project: project booklet, brochure, reports, draft versions of documents for open discussions. One of the most important project outputs, the threatened species data sheets, will be published.

Website will provide a link to the database that will redirect the user to the new public section of the NCA National Biodiversity Data System OZOLS portal, and users will be able to view the available information for each species in detail. There will be a mobile version of the webpage available for mobile devices and the website will be run at least 5 years after the end of the LIFE project.


  • Basic project information published at the websites of project partners (finished);
  • Project website developed (finished).
University of Latvia In progress
D2 Raising awareness of the general public

Raising public awareness is one of the most important activities of this project. The main target audience is the general public - anyone who can contribute to the conservation of species, endanger species (intentionally or unintentionally), or support the conservation of species through different land use approaches, less intensive forest use for private purposes. land, etc. 

Objective: to promote public support for nature conservation and raise awareness on the protection of endangered and rare species.


  • Dissemination of information through various communication platforms and the development of project materials;
  • To organize seminars and use traditional public educational events organized by the Nature Conservation Agency, to disseminate knowledge about species protection through popular science lectures and field trips.


  • Brochure published both at website and printed;
  • Training materials for the general public; 
  • Project booklet published both at website and printed; (finished)
  • Interviews to radio, TV, media (at least 5); (finished)
  • Transportable exhibition prepared and opened.


  • Kick-off seminar; (finished)
  • Mid-term seminar;
  • Final seminar;
  • Opening event for transportable exhibition;
  • Workshop for amateur nature photographers; (finished)
  • 24 public events for the general public with expert contribution;
  • Participation in Researchers’ Night.
University of Latvia,
Nature Conservation Agency
In progress
D3 Raising the capacity of special target groups – personnel of governmental institutions and species experts

Training events will be organized to transfer the results of the project to current and potential species experts and staff of state institutions dealing with data, control, permitting, restoration and management of rare, endangered species, nature education and nature protection.

The training will focus on identifying endangered species and raising awareness of their ecology, threats and management. Training activities will be organized for all species groups involved in the project and will include lectures, discussions, and field trips.

Objective: to increase the capacity of representatives of public administration institutions and species experts by conducting 21 training seminars.


  • Training materials for experts (published on the project website) after each training event.


  • Seven training events for special target audience (one per for each species group) organized in 2022;
  • Seven training events for special target audience (one per for each species group) organized in 2023;
  • Seven training events for special target audience (one per for each species group) organized in 2024.
University of Latvia,
Nature Conservation Agency
In progress
D4 Networking and knowledge transfer

Networking with other institutions in Latvia and abroad, especially in the EU boreal region and Central European countries, is essential to gain experience in species conservation management and examples of legislation. 

During the project, we will contact institutions and other LIFE projects that are working with biodiversity data, databases and information systems, the management and restoration of species habitats in other countries, to negotiate possible cooperation and organize experience exchange trips. To disseminate the results of the project, share and transfer experience, and provide experience to a wider audience, the project team will organize two international conferences - in Daugavpils and Riga. To disseminate the project results outside Latvia, it is planned to develop a joint cross-border project application, focusing on the EU boreal region, especially the Baltic States.


  • Conference book of abstracts, online document (Riga conference and workshop) (University of Latvia, Nature Conservation Agency);
  • At least 3 presentations by the project team at the international conference in Daugavpils
  • Conference proceedings, online and printed documents (Daugavpils conference) (University of Daugavpils); 
  • At least 1 University of Daugavpils expert presentations at international conference/seminar; 
  • At least 4 University of Latvia expert presentations at other international conferences/seminars; 
  • At least 1 Nature Conservation Agency expert presentation at international conference/seminar; 
  • At least 1 Latvian Ornithological Society expert presentation at international conference/seminar; 
  • Conference book of abstracts, online and printed documents (Daugavpils conference) (University of Daugavpils); 
  • At least 3 presentations by the project team at the international conference in Riga;
  • An application of a transboundary project on species conservation prepared and submitted to funding institutions.


  • International conference in Daugavpils;
  • International conference in Riga (including database workshop).
University of Latvia,
Nature Conservation Agency
In progress
D5 Preparation of Layman’s report

The purpose of Layman’s report is to disseminate information on the project's content, objectives, activities and results to a wide audience and to share project experiences that could be useful for other LIFE and non-LIFE projects. At the end of the project, a Layman's report will be prepared in both print and electronic format. It will present the project objectives, activities, and results. Full information will be provided in both Latvian and English. 


  • Laymans' report prepared and published (both printed and on the website).
University of Latvia To be started in  2024


Project management
E1 Project management

This activity includes the general administration of the project, organization of procurement procedures and ensuring compliance with LIFE publicity rules in all project activities (bulletin boards-posters about project implementation, logos on equipment and informational materials, etc.).


  • Project management plan; (finished)
  • Message boards-posters about the implementation of the project are placed in public places; (finished)
  • Project audit report.


  • A project management group created for each project partner; (finished)
  • Approved project monitoring group; (finished)
University of Latvia In progress
E2 Development of After-LIFE plan

After-LIFE Plan is necessary to ensure continuation and development of actions initiated within the project and to ensure implementation of the recommendations (especially adopting legislative drafts and ensuring the functioning of the improved National Biodiversity Data System OZOLS).

The After-LIFE Plan will be developed by the project team in close cooperation with major stakeholders, especially the Ministry of Environment Protection and Regional Development. The After-LIFE plan will be presented in Latvian and English and available in electronic format on the project website. 

Deliverable: After-LIFE Plan.

University of Latvia To be started in  2024
Project sponsors and partners