Imagine that you are the caretaker of an apple orchard and you have harvested your apples. You have a basket full of apples. What will you do with them? Will you treat your friends? Eat some yourself? Or sell them? How do you know how many apples you can share with your friends, how many will be left for you, and if all of the apples are edible? To determine a wise course of action, it is necessary to measure the harvest and assess its quality.
This story can also be applied to Latvian nature, which we do not only enjoy, but are also rapidly using up. What and how much belongs to us? What is Latvian nature worth?
In preparation for and in honour of the Latvian Centenary, the Nature Census will take place throughout the country in order understand what it is that we have and how to protect it.
* The survey of natural capital in Latvia will collect new information about the natural resources (habitats of EU importance) in the country as well as their condition and quantity.
* In many cases, landowners will not have to spend their own money for an expert's report to be able to apply for support/compensation payments, or to receive building permits or technical specifications.
* The activities that will take place during the project will help reduce the administrative burden and time spent for the preparation and issuing of various permits, as the data input into the data management system 'Ozols' will be integrated with other government information systems, e.g. the united geospacial information portal www.geolatvia.lv. With the information available in these databases it will be possible to plan entrepreneurial activities more intentionally with the distribution of endangered species and habitats in mind.
* The data collected during the project will help balance the development of nature conservation and the national economy much more effectively. It will also help us recognise the distinctive character of certain areas, and will support territorial planning efforts and the resulting economic gains.
The project will be continue through May 2023; assessment of the distribution and condition of habitats will be completed no later than 31 December 2020.