Rīga, the capital city of Latvia, has been successful with FSC certification for its entire urban forest, following other European municipalities like Paris, Lisbon and Amsterdam.
Certification will ensure that multiple needs of people who depend on this forest are catered for simultaneously: space for recreation and inspiration, a healthy ecosystem hosting biodiversity, and wood to harvest for everyday products.
The landscape of the Rīga forest features woodlands and wetlands, which are home to various wild plants and animals:
- Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) is the dominant tree species, and there are also birches (Betula pendula) and spruces (Picea abies)
- Large birds of prey, as well as European rollers (Coracias garrulus) and woodpeckers of various species nest in these forests
Rīgas meži (Rigas Forests) is the forest management company that takes care of over 60,000 ha of forests on behalf of the Riga municipality who owns them.
Responsible forest management means that along with conservation of ecosystems and care for people who depend on the forest, the managing actors can make their business profitable and cover the costs of preserving biodiversity and maintaining the forest for visitors.
Urban green spaces are becoming more and more important with the ongoing urbanization of society. They improve the quality of life of people living in cities, allowing them to get away from work or household routines.
Balancing the ecological, economic, and societal ecosystem services of urban forests which come along with forest certification will be key in the urban planning of the future.
“I applaud the fact that Rīgas meži have risen to meet the requirements to be certified in accordance with the criteria established by the Forest Stewardship Council. It is not just the economy that depends on highly responsible management of the forests within and around the capital of Latvia, but also the quality of their ecosystem services like clean air and drinking water, healthy landscapes and abundant wildlife diversity. So, as the FSC standard implies, the forests are there for all of us.” – Mārtiņš Staķis, Mayor of Rīga.
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