Latvia works on functional land use management to find sustainable land use solutions. It is based on soil data analysis and cartographic material.
Functional land use management is a framework that helps to plan land use and soil management in accordance with soil functions. Functional land use management should be based on soil data analysis and cartographical materials.
Soil functionality is often not taken into account in land use planning – although depending on soil type, different land use functions are provided.
Latvia has a high share of organic soils. Organic soils contribute to biomass production but they also make the highest GHG emissions in land use sector.
Within EEA Grants Programme 2009-2014, historical soil maps of Latvia were digitalized. Later within the BIO4ECO project, Latvian experts developed: cartographical material on the geographical location of organic soils, the evaluation of the production structure on these lands, and the identification of unused areas.
Cartographic material provides information on current state of organic soils and serve as sound basis for further land use planning considering functionality aspect.
Main stakeholders are state institutions, municipalities, which are gaining improved knowledge, skills and enhanced availability to support civil society and provide tools for developing functional land use policy at local, regional and national level. End beneficiaries are civil sare civil society including non-governmental organizations, landowners, biomass processing industry, that will gain from improved policies and bioeconomy development in long term.
Digitalization of historical soil maps (within EEA Grants Programme 2009-2014).
Project cost: 516,503 euro
Human resources: 38 practitioners
Cartographical material on the geographical location of organic and potentially organic soils (within BIO4ECO project).
Project cost: 20, 000 euro
Evidence of success
Cartographic soil information is publicly available (https://geolatvija.lv/geo/p/244) and used by state institutions (e.g.State Plant Protection Service, Latvian Rural Advisory and Training Centre), scientific institutions (e.g.State Forest Research Institute SILAVA, University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Institute of Agroresources and Economics, University of Latvia, Daugavpils University), agricultural NGOs and municipalities.
Future challenge is establishment of national soil information system containing up to date soil data. Currently historical (about 50 years old) soil data are digitalized and thematically analysed, but updated information is not available.
Potential for learning or transfer
Functional land use management planning approach and soil data usage for the planning purposes could be relevant and useful for other regions which experience lack of updated soil information and comprehensive view to land use management planning that complicates adoption of sustainable resource management decisions, especially in land management planning and bioeconomy development.