Agriculture is one of the main sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Latvia, accounting for 24% of the country's total GHG emissions.

Latvia is the country with the second highest share of agricultural GHG emissions in the European Union.

 

News

 
At a time when climate change is becoming more and more visible in the daily lives of Latvians, Latvian Fund for Natu... Read more
2021-01-26
 
We invite you to prepare for the next garden season now - by incorporating biochar into the soil in autumn. Read more
2020-09-14
 
Direct sowing is one of the farming methods that allows farmers to work in a modern, innovative and climate-friendly ... Read more
2020-09-08
 
For the third year, Latvian Fund for Nature has been implementing the LIFE CRAFT project, the aim of which is to intr... Read more
2020-06-01
 
Direct sowing is one of the types of plowing technology. When working with this method, the only tillage operation is... Read more
2020-04-01
 
 
 

About project

 

The objective of the project is to implement, test, evaluate, promote and provide guidance on effective and economically feasible means for the reduction of agricultural GHG emissions while preserving stable income for farmers by taking an ecosystem-based approach.

Specific objectives:

  • Increase farmer and political decision-maker awareness about available GHG emission reducing agricultural practices by developing a guidebook that lists all the relevant climate responsible agricultural practices applicable in the Baltic Sea region;
  • Implement, test and demonstrate 3 different GHG emission reducing agricultural management practices at farm level;
  • Adapt remote sensing based monitoring instruments for improved evaluation of national policy efficiency targeting agricultural GHG emission reduction.

Activities

A
Preparatory actions
A.1
Elaboration of the technical documentation and acquisition of permits for installation of controlled drainage systems

The goal of the action is the preparation for the actual implementation phase through the elaboration of technical documentation and acquisition of permits for installation of controlled drainage systems (CDS).

Action in process. We have received the approval of the technical documentation required for the construction of CDS in both Mengele parish and Smiltene parish. In 2020 we received a building permit from the Ogre District Construction Board and started the construction of CDS in Mengele Parish. In December 2020 it was put into operation. The Smiltene District Construction Board has also issued a building permit and the works will start in 2021.

B
Purchase / lease of land
B.1
Lease of land for installation of CDS

Installation of CDS will take place on agricultural land that will be leased for project duration (5 years) from a private landowner. A preliminary lease agreement with the landowner has been reached. IES will be allowed to install and operate CDS as well as perform other activities foreseen in the project on 80 hectares of agricultural lands.

Action in process. The action is implemented on ca 80 ha. Farms “Tilbe” and “Uppsala” are located in Mengele parish and have allocated 42.9 ha for the project. The farm "Rožkalni" is located in Smiltene parish and here 37.7 ha will be used for the needs of the project.

 

C
Implementation actions
C.1
Compilation of agricultural best practice measures for climate change mitigation

The action aims at assessing different agricultural measures to mitigate climate change and compile the best practice available and equip stakeholders with know-how. The action will consist of the following activities:

  1. Experience exchange seminar on agricultural measures to mitigate GHG emissions.
  2. Preparation of the guidebook about best practice measures for climate change mitigation in agriculture.

The document will include compilation and assessment, including cost-effectiveness, of different measures applied in the agricultural sector and practical advice on how to implement the measures on the farm level.

Action in process. The project team is working on the development of the handbook. Its content will focus on climate change mitigation measures related to soil management. We plan to publish the handbook both in Latvian and English by December 2022.

C.2
Demonstration of emission reduction through the use of soil carbon enrichment

The objective of this action is to evaluate and demonstrate the use of biochar for the reduction of emissions from agricultural soils in Latvian climate conditions. In the project, the use of biochar made out of wood and hay pellets will be demonstrated. By using the methods proposed by the project the farmers would achieve economic benefits by lowering the running costs of their farms. 

Action in process. We have applied biochar in three farms. In farm “Avotiņi” we incorporated it together with the cover crops already in autumn 2018. The other two farms - “Atvases” and “Mazbungas” incorporated in the spring of 2019. In one of the farms it was incorporated together with manure, but in the second one biochar was inoculated with a microbiological preparation before incorporation into the soil.

We have also prepared recommendations for biochar production. You can find them here.

C.3
Demonstration of emission reduction through no-till technique

The objective of this action is to evaluate and demonstrate the application of no-till farming as an effective measure for GHG emission reduction in Latvian climate conditions. No-till farming is a way of growing crops without disturbing the soil through tillage. The no-till technique increases organic matter retention, therefore increases also carbon storage and cycling of nutrients in the soil. It increases the amount and variety of life in and on the soil, including disease-causing organisms and disease suppression organisms. The main benefit of no-tillage from an agricultural perspective is improvement in soil biological fertility, resulting in more resilient soils.

Action in progress. In no-till testing nine farms are involved, all of them are located in Nitrate Vulnerable Zone. All farms involved have applied the no-till system for two years now. During the first season (in 2019) no-till was applied on 143ha.  During the second season, no-till was applied on 156 ha. We have established an interest group of farmers that consist of both farmers involved in the project and farmers who are interested in no-till but are not applying it yet. The interest group meets regularly, visits sown fields, discusses various issues related to sowing and productivity.

C.4
Demonstration of CDS capacity for GHG emission reduction and sequestration

The objective of the action is to install, test, and demonstrate CDS capacity for GHG emission reduction and carbon sequestration on 4 pilot sites with total coverage of 80 hectares. The available territory will be divided into control and CDS implementation fields, where crop yields and GHG emissions can be compared from business-as-usual and CDS management scenarios. The CDS system is expected to be an innovative, sustainable and cost-effective management technique for long-term GHG emission reduction.

Action in process. In 2020, we installed controlled drainage in two of the three participating farms - Tilbe and Uppsala. Controlled drainage systems are equipped with sensors and weather stations to monitor weather conditions, precipitation, and other parameters that affect drainage operation. In 2021, the installation of the controlled drainage system on the farm “Rožkalni” will be completed.

C.5
Adaptation of methodology for GHG emission evaluation using remote sensing data

Within this action, remote sensing techniques will be used for the adaptation of GHG calculation algorithms aiming at data input derived from accurate land cover and land use (LC-LU) classification and change detection on a local and regional scale. LC-LU change classification result will be used to evaluate GHG emissions from local ecosystems and project direct activity impact on climate change.

Action in process. 

C.6
Replicability and Transferability plan

The Replication and Transferability Plan will be prepared for strengthening and streamlining the replication activities in the project, and for exploring synergies with other initiatives. The Replication and Transferability Plan will be prepared during the third and fourth year of the project when the first results from methods will be available.

Action in process.

 

D
Monitoring of the impact of the project actions
D.1
Monitoring of the environmental impacts of the project activities

Detailed criteria and the precise number and structure of sample plots for necessary measurements will be determined during the development of monitoring schemes by accounting for the local conditions. A monitoring plan containing a specific task description of Actions C2, C3, and C4 will be developed.

Aktivitāte ir procesā. At the beginning of 2019, the project team prepared a monitoring plan, which defines what will be monitored, when and how, in order to assess the progress of the implementation of each activity. Within the framework of the project, we will monitor the physico-chemical characteristics of the soil, the activity of microorganisms, the diversity of vegetation and soil invertebrates, the physical and chemical properties of drainage water, local climatic conditions, and GHG emissions. In 2019, we collected baseline data, and, starting with the 2020 field season, we are collecting data to determine changes.

D.2
Monitoring and measurement of project performance indicators

Annual analysis of the data collected within Action D1 as well as other indicators not included in Action D1 description (such as communication and economic performance indicators) will be conducted.

Action in process.

 

E
Communication and dissemination of results
E.1
Overall project visibility

The action will be led by coordinating beneficiary in co-operation with IES, who will be in charge for organizing the art event. All project partners will contribute to the preparation of information for the websites and the content of the seminars and participate with presentations.

Action in process. As part of the project, we have prepared information stands about direct sowing, controlled drainage, and biochar, and placed them on all farms involved in the project. Starting from 2019, we are working on video films about each of the three methods to be tested within the project. We plan to publish the first short film in the second half of 2021. Starting from 2019, preparations for the art exhibition are underway. We have invited the curator of the art exhibition as a team and addressed eight artists from different fields.

E.2
Project result dissemination

The action E2 aims at disseminating the Project results. It will be done via the following activities:

  1. The international seminar - conference will be organized towards the end of the project;
  2. Guidebook dissemination seminar;
  3. GHG emission evaluation/monitoring methodology seminar.

Action has not started yet. The first seminars are planned for 2022.

 

E.3
Networking with other projects

At the beginning of the project, other relevant EU projects and other relevant stakeholders will be contacted. The target audience at the international/EU-level consists of relevant EU projects, agricultural/environmental administrators, researchers, and policy makers dealing with environmental and agricultural issues. As the project partners have widely different experiences, expertise and duties within the project a total of 7 study tours and 4 dissemination events are foreseen

Action in process. Staff from the Institute for Environmental Solutions went to the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the University of Helsinki to learn about different methods for measuring GHG emissions. In May 2019, farmers involved in the no-till activities went on an exchange trip to Finland and got acquainted with their experience gained over the last 14 years. Project staff has also participated in the international conference "ADAPTtoCLIMATE" with a report.

F
Project management
F.1
Project management and administration

The activity is implemented by the Latvian Fund for Nature, the Institute of Environmental Solutions, the Latvian Rural Consultation and Education Center, the Czech Science and Society Center.

Action in process.

F.2
External audit

The final audit will be done at the end of the project. At the end of each calendar year (except the 1st year) auditors will check
the project expenditure reports from all partners. The audit will be performed by an external auditor.
 

F.3
After LIFE plan

After-LIFE plan will be prepared by coordinating beneficiary (project manager), with the help of associate beneficiaries. The After-LIFE plan will summarize all the opportunities and set the roadmap for further actions.

Action has not started yet.

 

For farmers

 
 
Use of biochar as soil amendment and its impact on GHG reduction has not been tested in Latvian climate conditions. Application of biochar to soil can reduce N2O emissions by up to 80% and eliminate CH4 emissions, which both are more potent greenhouse gases than CO2.
Read more
No-till farming is a way of growing crops without disturbing the soil through tillage. No-till technique increases organic matter retention, therefore increases also carbon storage, and cycling of nutrients in the soil.
Read more
Controlled drainage provides nutrient retention, thus reducing the costs for fertilisers, as well as improves the quality of the water leaving the drainage system.
Read more
 

Contacts

 

Project "Climate Responsible Agriculture for Latvia" 
LIFE16 CCM/LV/000083
Project manager
Laura Zvingule
Phone +371 67 830 999
laura.zvingule@ldf.lv