12-14 September Naturalit project representatives took part in the Nordic-Baltic LIFE platform meeting to discuss land-use planning processes and challenges, and examples of successful nature management.

The event, which took place in Nuuksio National Park in Finland, was attended by more than 90 participants from 34 LIFE projects and more than 40 different organisations representing Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. The extraordinary sincerity of the organisers, the excellent organisation and the meeting with long-lost colleagues of the LIFE family created a memorable friendly atmosphere, replenished the work motivation for a long time and enriched the new contacts.

12 September was devoted to a wide range of presentations: from an overview of the LIFE Programme, LIFE projects implemented in Finland, LIFE innovations related to project management, to specific experiences of projects implemented in Finland, such as examples of planning procedures, evaluation of socio-economic indicators and the involvement of volunteers in nature conservation work. At the end of the day, various LIFE projects implemented in Finland, Estonia and Latvia were presented in outdoor exhibitions.

The second day of the meeting was devoted to visiting three LIFE managed sites – Hanko, Rekijokilaaks and Nuuksis National Parks – and discussing practical examples:

  • Hanko: cleaning eutrophic lagoons, restoring sandy coastal habitats, sun-dependent habitats and marine coastal grasslands;
  • Rekijokilaaks: flying squirrel habitats in Natura 2000 sites and their management;
  • Nuuksio National Park: examples of peatland and stream restoration, grassland management and areas of controlled forest cover burning.

On 14 September, a truly outstanding example of conservation of protected values (the flying squirrel and its habitats) in urban areas was presented in Espoo: the planning and implementation of urban infrastructure in line with nature conservation requirements. And the dessert of the event was the Haltia Nature Centre, located next to the Nuuks National Park, an outstanding example of environmentally friendly Finnish architecture dedicated to Finnish nature and the experiences it can offer.

Next year’s meeting will take place in Latvia, organised by the Latvian LIFE Integrated Project “LatViaNature”.