Latvia

Ingrida Krigere
Latvian Peat Association
Ernestines Str 24
LV-1046 Riga
LATVIA
phone: + 371 29106008
e-mail: ingrida@peat.lv

Annual Report 2014

The last year (2014) has been very busy for the IPS Latvian National Committee. From the very beginning of the year, preparations took place for the major event of the year – the International Peat Technology Symposium. In March, the new Board of the Latvian Peat Producers’ Association took office, with Ivans Cupruns as the Chairman.

The peat extraction season in 2014 was not as fortunate as in 2013, when weather conditions were benign for extracting 1.2 million tonnes of peat. We can estimate from the Association members’ data that the peat production in 2014 has been about 0.8 million tonnes. It was not just the rainy summer that hindered the peat producers’ work last year, but also the Russian embargo-related transport problems at the end of the year.

In general, the Association has carried on its good work just as before. We have a new member, Silu Kūdra, SIA, and a new honorary member, Zdeneks Buholcs. We also continued environmental improvement work. While the Association members sponsored the construction of a boardwalk in Cenas Bog in 2013, the scenic viewing platform destroyed by vandals in Sigulda was restored in 2014. Likewise, the Association organized a roundtable discussion with state institutions and other organizations involved in environmental protection with the aim of seeking solutions to the problem of the peat sector’s survival under increasingly stringent environmental requirements. The participants were taken on a field trip to a peat company, showing them the extraction process – explaining its gains – and the production of peat substrates. The next discussion will be followed by an excursion to a natural mire guided by nature protection specialists.

We also continued work on reintroducing the use of peat in the energy sector. This work has drawn the attention of state institutions to other problems in the peat sector. The work will go on, and we expect growth in the yield of fuel peat this summer.

Several peat companies worked on the renaturalization of peat extraction sites last year, utilizing the experience of Canada and Germany and the knowledge gained at IPS conferences. The results will be seen in the coming and the next spring.
To conclude this retrospective on the last year, I would like to thank all participants, sponsors, supporters and organizers of the International Peat Technology Symposium and the 14th Baltic Peat Producers Forum. The event was attended by about 350 participants from 26 countries. We hope that you had a well-spent time here in Riga, not only acquiring new information and exchange of experience on peat extraction, processing and technologies, but also enjoying tasty food, beautiful nature and great music!

Annual Report 2013

The year 2013 has been very dynamic for the Association: the summer blessed us not only with beautiful weather but also with an abundant harvest of peat; we have had great and sunny annual sports events, and we have admitted new members, including one Honorary Member - Juris Nusbaums - over the course of the year.

We have built a plank-way and a tower in Cenas Mire, and also put up boards with peat sector-related information. The video clip we distributed to the media attracted a large number of first-time visitors to the mire and perhaps showed the peat sector from a different perspective.

It is also worth noting that Ansis Šnore has finished his hard toil on the long-awaited book on peat production (Kūdras ieguve) this year. Following some discussion, we have decided to change the logo of the Association, along with updating the Association’s website. Besides this, we also started organisational work for the International Symposium of Peat Technologies this year. We have started to follow the European trend of considering peat as a raw material for substrates and, accordingly, have been working on the Responsible Peat Production (RPP) certification. Likewise, we have started to work on reclaiming for peat its rightful place in the energy sector – as fuel in heat generation. This will create 450-500 jobs. A total of 700,000 tonnes of peat per year could be harvested for energy generation just from those areas where peat production has already been licensed. This new economic activity in Latvia would benefit the economy and reduce the outflow of money to Russia for purchasing gas.

According to the estimate of the Latvian Peat Producers’ Association, peat production in 2013 has reached a symbolic milestone of one million tonnes (the official data on mining are only made public in May), which is about 0.3 million tonnes more than in 2012 (0.7 million tonnes) and can be explained by the relatively dry spring and summer. At the same time, peat exports have decreased in 2013 compared to 2012 by 64,000 tonnes, amounting to a total of 1,096,292 tonnes, worth 73.5 million Lats.

Equally importantly, the sector reached another symbolic milestone last year: peat was exported to 101 countries worldwide, seven countries more than in 2012. For comparison: in 2003 we exported peat to 53 countries. In 2013 we ceased exporting peat to Sudan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe, while starting export to 10 countries: Iceland, Kyrgyzstan,
North Korea, Montenegro, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nicaragua, French Polynesia, Seychelles and Yemen. The main export countries have been the same for several years: Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. Peat export to Germany, Japan, Syria, Sweden, Lithuania, South Africa, et al. has dropped, while significantly increasing to China, the UK, Austria, Denmark, Turkey, Peru, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Brazil, et al.

Finally we warmly invite you to join us in Riga – the European Capital of Culture – for the International Peat Technology Symposium 2014 and 14th Baltic Peat Producers Forum in August 2014 (www.peat2014.lv)!

Annual Report 2012

The year 2012 for the Latvian Peat Producers’ Association, which also functions as the IPS Latvian National Committee, was rich in events and changes. A new Board was elected at the Association’s Annual General Meeting on 22 March. Furthermore, the Association acquired new office spaces and a new Executive Director.

This year, the Association also witnessed a rapid growth in membership: there were 5 new fullmembership members, 1 associate member and 1 honorary member admitted, thereby increasing the total current membership to 33. Moreover, we were admitted as an associate member of EPAGMA.

Like before, the Association goes on with keeping track of developments and changes in the peat sector, submitting proposals and expressing opinions on a variety of issues important for the sector, both internationally and locally.

We continue to actively promote peat as a local energy source in various publications, in the mass media, as well as in meetings about “Energy Strategy 2030” and in conferences. The topic of the Science Night 2012 was “The Story of Energy”. One of the ways how the Association participated in this widely attended public event was the preparation of the exhibition “Peat and Energy” in the Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences of the University of Latvia.

We have started several new projects: support for establishing a peat production museum; a LIFE+ project on the impact of peat extraction field drainage networks on pristine areas of bogs; and a study of peat accumulation rates. Besides that, the Association supported a couple of other interesting projects this year: the delivery of peat sculptures to the International Peat Congress and building of an educational peatland trail in Cena Mire.

The former project shows that peat can be used not only in such sectors as agriculture, livestock farming and generation of energy; it can also have artistic applications. Building of plankways and a viewing tower and fitting up educational stands in Cena Mire, in turn, gives people a chance to learn more about the peat production sector, to see peat extraction fields and to enjoy a beautiful raised bog landscape.

We continue our successful cooperation with Professor Laimdota Kalniņa from the University of Latvia. As part of her telmatology course, she takes students and teaching staff to peat production enterprises to show bogs from the perspective of peat production. Thanks to her, Association members were invited

to participate in the Scientific Conference of the University of Latvia (January 2013); and Ivans Cupruns from “Pindstrup Latvia” gave his report about the management of peat extraction fields in Lielsalu Mire and their after-use, and encouraged students to make their studies about re-naturalization of the cutover peatlands in Latvia.

There were two more events that are definitely worth noting. Both are annual events, and both were perfectly organised and had a large number of participants. Of course, these were the Baltic Peat Producers’ Forum (BPPF, Tallinn, 5 - 7 September) and the Association’s Sports Games (17 – 19 August). The next BPPF will take place in Vilnius, and the upcoming Sports Games at Ķegums (26 – 28 July 2013).

The Latvian Peat Producers’ Association suggests to mark and reserve 26 - 29 August 2014, when several important events in one are going to take place in Riga at the Radisson Blue Hotel Latvia: the International Peat Technology Symposium, the Baltic Peat Producers’ Forum, and the IPS Annual Assembly.

 

Annual Report 2011

 

Members of the Latvian Peat producers’ Association (IPS National Committee of Latvia) met several times during this year whether it was in all members meetings or in open Board Meetings. Some of them were dedicated to most important topic – Baltic Peat Producers’ Forum as it was our turn to organize it. At the end of the year another important issue raised by State Stock Company “Latvia’s State Forests” request to give Association proposal to increase rent for the peat extraction territories. As this question is rather complicated it was decided to create Work Group consisting of representatives from both sides that will try to find most appropriate solution for this problem. Association provided proposals also for the laws and regulations. 

Before the season meeting for peat extractors and representatives of state institutions was organized. Representatives presented the latest changes and updates in legislation that affect or could affect peat extractors in Latvia.

In the one of the Annual reports of IPS National Committee of the Netherlands we can read that old-fashioned hands-on knowledge about peat and peat dikes are disappearing and similar problem is observed in Latvia – specialists in peat winning are retiring and their knowledge is disappearing. Therefore Association in collaboration with Mr.Ansis Snore - Honorary Member of IPS and LPPA are preparing manuscript for the book ''Peat winning''. The main themes of the book are as follows:   peatlands, peat and peat deposits; drainage, preparation and repair of the peat winning area;   peat winning; designing. The book will be useful for all those dealing with peat extraction as well for students in relevant specialities. The book will be in Latvian. 

Data about extracted peat volume in 2011 has not yet been compiled. Admittedly, last year was not really successful because second half of the season was spoiled by unfavourable weather conditions - strong and frequent precipitation.

During the summer two different workshops for artists took place. The results – peat sculptures were exhibited at the Baltic Peat Producers Forum. As there have been great interest about the sculptures similar workshop will be organized also in 2012.

One of the events where peat people and their families can come together is Association Sport games. This year they could have fun by Lake Usmas in many interesting sports. 

As it was mentioned above 11th Baltic Peat Producers’ Forum took place in Riga. This time theme of the Forum was “After-use of cut-over peatlands: measures and methods”. At the first day participants could take part in excursion to small brewery in Bauska or have an interesting excursion to Old Riga. Second day traditionally is dedicated to different presentations and forum dinner. Ivans Cupruns(Chairman of the Board, Latvian Peat Producers’ Association), Rolands Bebris (Minister of Environmental protection and Regional development) and Jaakko Silpola (IPS Secretary General) opened the Forum. Prof.Laimdota Kalniņa and Juris Nusbaums introduced attendees with peatland recultivation problems in Latvia. Prof.Jaanus Paal gave interesting presentation about progress and problems in sustainable usage and protection of mires in Estonia. Dr.Romas Pakalnis told about possibilities of cut – over peatbog restoration in Lithuania and Dr.Mara Pakalne about her experience with raised bog restoration in Latvia. Later on Bernd Hofer spoke about his experience in Germany with different after-uses of cut-over peatlands during the last decades”. Last presentation before the discussion had Hein Bonn about the Dutch project „Responsibly produced peat”. After seven presentations attendees had a lot of questions and they could ask in the discussion part that was chaired by Dr.Norbert Siebels. After the lunch Giedrius Kavaliauskas had a presentation about Lithuanian Peat Producers Association, peat extraction and weather conditions and the problems they are dealing with: fires and their prevention and draft law on the tax on natural resources. Erki Niitlaan form Estonian Peat Producers Association spoke about weather and production at 2011 and news and events of 2011. Prof.M. Klavins afterwards informed about peat usage as sorbent, Oskars Purmalis continued with presentation „Peat humic acids and their application possibilities”. Colleagues form Belarus D. Sc., Academician I.Lishtvan and Valery Kovalov reported about peat resources and their usage in Belarus. Marie Kofod-Hansen and Gunilla Öberg invited all attendees to the 14th International Peat Congress in 2012. Georgij Sicov informed about radiolocation sounding application possibilities in geological mapping of peatlands. Konstantsin Pachepka introduced with “Vitebskoblgas” new peat factory, but Marc Peray with Premier Tech Chronos new Technologies. Rob van Rijnswou from Slootweg Machinefabriek had presentation about fire safety in peat factories in combination with machine equipment. Jazeps Kivlenieks presented Agrovita Technologies. 

On the third day of the Forum field trip to Amatciems and Sigulda were organized to see how boggy meadows can be transformed into a beautiful village with many ponds and hillocks. 

The number of participants – little bit more than 200 shows that the interest about the Forum is growing every year (to compare – there were 97 participants in 2008).

Our neighbours and colleagues Estonian Peat Association celebrated 150 years Anniversary of Peat Industry and we would like to thank them for invitation, for interesting conference and wonderful evening afterwards. 

Association has collaborated also with University of Latvia, Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences by giving several lectures and excursions to Association member companies. The aim is to show peatlands not only from environmental but also from economic point of view. 

Annual Report 2009

Currently the Latvian Peat Producers Association has 24 members, two of which are associated members, one individual member and five honorary members.

The Annual Meeting of Latvian Peat Producers Association was held on 19 March, 2009 on the cruise ship “Regina Baltica” from Riga to Stockholm. The general meeting discussed the report of the Board, the Revision Commission, welcomed new members and approved the income and expenditure estimate of 2009. The participants enjoyed also an excursion through Stockholm.

Association members had a meeting with representatives from the Ministry of Environment, State limited liability company “Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre" JSC Latvijas valsts mezi (State forests of Latvia) in February 2009. During this meeting our members were instructed in the latest changes in the legislation.

JSC “Latvijas valsts mezi” developed together with the Association auction rules for one of their supervised territories for peat extraction.

The Association held its 7th Sport Games in July 2009 in Rojas district, organized by “Pindstrup Latvia Ltd”. In the team ranking, the first place was taken also by the host company. The next Sport Games will be organized by JSC “Seda”.

Association members participated in the 9th Baltic Peat Producers Forum that was held in Tartu. Our members found it very interesting. Thanks’ to the organizers – the Estonian Peat Association!

Finally, the Latvian society knows a little bit more about peat production because of several broadcasts in National TV about some of our corporate members.

IPS Latvian National Committee applied to organize the 15th International Peat Congress in 2016 in Riga, Latvia. The final decision will be made at the Annual Assembly 2010 in Finland by the IPS National Committees present.

The Association also restored the “K?dras zi?as” informative issue for our members and started to update and improve our webpage at www.peat.lv.

 

Annual Report 2008

Currently there are 24 members in the Latvian Peat Producers Association; two of them are associate members, and five honorary members. The members of the Latvian Peat Producers Association extract 74% of all extracted peat in Latvia. One of the members has left the Latvian Peat Producers Association, but at the end of 2008 one new associate member joined - Laimdota Kalnina, professor from the University of Latvia, Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences. She is researching formation and development of mires and is involving students in these activities, such as our project manager Ilze Gorovneva.

There have been some changes in the structure of LPPA. Up to finishing her Master’s thesis, “Reconstruction of palaeovegetation at the North Eastern area of Ancient Burtnieks Lake”, Ilze Gorovneva was working as Secretary, but after graduating she has been working as Project Manager. At the moment she is finalizing her Doctoral thesis “Natural and human induced Holocene environmental and climate change recorded in lake and bog sediments of Northern Latvia”. In early December Ilze gave birth to her first son. Uldis Ozols took care of her duties during  the maternity leave.

The Annual Meeting of the Latvian Peat Producers Association was held on 28 March in the guest house “Aitinlauvas”. In the general meeting, four topics were discussed, including the Board’s report, the revised Commission report, a welcome to new members and the approval of income and expenditure estimates for 2008.

The Latvian Peat Producers Association held its 6th Sport Games on 27 - 28 July 2008 in the Madona district, this time organized by “Livanu Kudras fabrika”. Besides the usual sports, fishing and street ball, there were several very interesting sports - blind volleyball, blind orienteering, rolling of a horse cart wheel etc. For the first time, the Association administration attended with their own team. In the team rankings the first place was taken by “Pindstrup Latvia”. This company will organize the next Games on the coast of the Gulf of Riga at the sports complex „Dzintarkrasts” on 10 - 12 July 2009.

Also in 2008, the LPPA Board decided to make some changes to the existing Certification system of the Latvian Peat Producers Association (KRASS) and confirmed a new Certification Commission that consists of the following specialists: A.Snore (Chair), Z.Jurass, S.Viss and A.Lacis.

KRASS was developed and is operating in Latvia, or more precisely, its first phase was developed in detail and it is now operating in Latvia. The objective of introducing a certification system is to improve the quality of peat products and ensure environment-friendly and sustainable use of peatlands in Latvia. The KRASS certificate acknowledges the philosophy of the certified company to work at a high technical level, following the regulations of environmental protection. LPPA received a request for a certificate from Ltd. Laflora in November 2008 which was approved after inspecting Kaigu Bog.

The LPPA Board had a meeting with JSC Latvijas valsts mezi, LVM - State forests of Latva in February 2009. During this meeting several very important questions were discussed:

   1. Improving cooperation of LPPA with LVM;
   2. LVM long term strategy in peatland management;
   3. Principles of rental charges for peatlands provided for extraction;
   4. Lease agreements with peat extractors, LPPA members

Conclusions were:

   1. LVM will organize Salenieku mire auction;
   2. LVM representatives will inform LPPA about auction rules before sale.

The traditional forum of representatives of Baltic peat producers was held on 3 - 5 September 2008 in Jurmala, Latvia. The issue of this year’s Forum was “Peat in Life”. Besides participants from the Baltic States, delegates from Ukraine, Belarus, Germany, Russia and the Netherlands attended the seminar, totalling to 97 participants.

Mr. Valerijs Kozlovs, Chairman of the Board of the Latvian Peat Producers Association opened the Forum. All the participants had a chance to hear several very interesting presentations. Mr. Edmunds Belskis, representative of the Ministry of Economics, spoke about the business environment in Latvia. Dr. Norbert Siebels, Vice Chairman of the European Peat and Growing Media Association (EPAGMA) reported on the socioeconomic impact of the peat and growing media industry on horticulture in the EU, Mr. Albinas Cernauskas, Director of the Lithuanian Peat Producers Association, and Mr. Erki Niitlaan, Director of the Estonian Peat Association, reported on current peat industry activities and the main tasks for the next year. Mr. Agris Lacis, Managing Director of the Latvian Peat Producers Association, discussed mires and peat in Latvia and last, but not least, Ms. Triin Triisberg gave the presentation “Cut-over peatlands, needs for their restoration and experience”. Delegates from the Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus gave presentations about the peat industry in their countries. A joint field trip was organized to Kaigu Bog.

Four delegates from Latvia, Valerijs Kozlovs, Andis Gredzens, Peteris Romanovskis and Ilze Gorovneva attended the 13th International Peat Congress in Tullamore and gave two presentations: “Mire stratigraphy and resources in Latvia” (authors: L.Kalnina, A.Lacis, V.Kozlovs) and “Stone Age settlements on peatlands in Latvia” (authors: L.Kalnina, A.Cerina, I.Gorovneva, V.Berzins).

The Association is continuing its collaboration with Belarus. Chairman of the Board, Valerijs Kozlovs attended a Belarus - Latvia Intergovernmental Commission sitting that was held on 16 - 17 October 2008 in Minsk. During this meeting questions on economic and scientific-economic cooperation were discussed. The Commission recommended organizing a Latvian specialist training at Belarusian universities with regard to peat extraction. Later in individual meetings, V.Kozlovs discussed organizing summer practice in our companies for students of the Technical University of Belarus.