A Poem to Latvia
By John Macdonald
Neglect a field, generate a forest, fell a forest, re-generate a forest!
Land of wolf, moose, deer & plenty ‘a pest,
Flat land, dirt roads & tall straight pines,
Lynx & beaver, otter & bear, and rides in very straight lines
A fantastic week travelling north west and east,
Riga, Madona, Lebano, Cesis, Stende with many a feast!
Warm welcomes and good guides helped our stay,
Andis, your more than welcome to visit -if you come our way
Latvia; can you go two weeks Thursday?
natural & cultural heritage; forests, wetland hunting and prey,
Jumped at the chance to leave the wind and rain,
with 52% forest you can’t miss the woods; and the odd drain.
Kemeri & Gauga national parks and Natura 2000 sites,
Well regulated lands with well ‘defined’ rules and rights,
Wetlands restored where many bird species flew…
Storks, cormorants, waders, white tailed Eagles & Osprey to name a few
Hunting is cultural; licensing includes Wolf, Beaver, Lynx & Bear,
Moose, Red and Roe deer that the others might scare!
Sprays & deterrents are used but fences are few,
Hunters are plenty but numbers including Golden Jackal still grew.
Hylobius only trouble restock for one year
But for the spruce bark beetle – up the gear!
Devastatingly fast at killing Norway even in mixed woods,
Dread we get it in Sitka; it will depress all foresters’ moods!
Pheromone traps properly deployed can slow the spread,
But uncontained, many trees will be dead!
Enticed by volatiles & weakness, 2 cycles and 37k beetles/tree,
Dead and de barked trees in one season are easy to see!
To harvest mature tall trees be patient, you need to wait,
100years for pine and 80 for spruce earliest allowed felling date!
Coupes restricted to 5ha or 10ha with retentions,
5-10 trees/ ha regeneration seed source the intention
In national parks & special sites felling is further restricted,
only with management plan & inventory even if trees inflicted,
Even then trees specials & trees over 50cm must stay,
Get the plans prepared early to avoid delay!
Forest increment of 26 million metres3 is impressively good,
Annual Fell 16m3 & the 2m population have plenty exports of wood,
Flat land (highest point 300m) and up 30m tall straight trees,
With brash taken out for fuel, mechanisation works with relative ease
Production at Mazsilu nursery tops 19million plants
One of three nurseries supplying export and replanting; are there grants?
3 sowings/ yr and 68% regen’d still leaves a national under-supply,
Rural depopulation & staff too, are hard to come by!
The environmental solutions institute & Barrel making were poles apart,
Youthful, dynamic, imaginative, inventive to start,
Drones to herbals & aerial surveillance with their own plane,
But the barrel making process & burning spectacular were so impressive & our gain!
The lodge at Kalsnava by the river was a treat,
A sauna, pontoon, warm water; swim across river not a testing feat
Riga & the country is oh so tidy & clean,
Count the spires from cruise on the river to see where you’ve been
The Latvian solution is there to see,
Protect the environment and keep growing the increment tree,
Promote cultural heritage and encourage the youth of tomorrow,
Plant the planet! We agree with the nursery’s moto!