Diversity of Ecosystems
Agricultural lands occupy 25.4 thousands km² (38.8% of States territory). 69% of agricultural lands are arable, 30% - pastures, 1% - orchards. For maintenance of biological diversity, some very important habitats are the semi-natural grasslands, which developed during a long period of human influence. In most of these grasslands, chemical fertilizers have never been applied; thus they are important biotopes for a number of threatened plant and bird species. Approximetly 40% of protected plant species are observed in the grasslands. It is estimated that semi-natural grasslands in Latvia occupy less than 1% of the territory. They can be found mainly in river valleys and in several areas along the seacoast. The most important grasslands complexes are those around the Lakes Pape and Liepaja, at Kalnciems, Daugavgrīva, in the Lubana lowlands, in Daugava, Venta and other river valleys and in the Randu salt marshes in Vidzeme coastland.Coastal grasslands are very important habitats for rare bird species such as dunlin (Calidris alpina), redshank (Tringa totanus), black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa) and ruff (Philomachus pugnax).
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