“Integrated planning tool to ensure viability of grasslands” 
(LIFE Viva Grass) No LIFE13 ENV/LT/000189

Marginal agricultural areas in Europe, remote from geographical perspective or not suitable for intensive agriculture, are still hosting high biodiversity of natural and semi-natural grassland that has formed through interaction between various ecosystems and extensive farming practices. However, due to change in rural lifestyle, such regions are experiencing depopulation and land abandonment, which results in overgrowing of the fields by shrubs and consequent loss of grassland biodiversity. This is also the case in the Baltic States where high rate of land abandonment was experienced since beginning of 1990ies.

With EU accession and availability of agricultural subsidies the share of managed agricultural land has increased. However, measures within the Rural Development Programmes are more tending to promote agricultural production and intensive use of land, instead of continuing extensive, nature-friendly management practices.

This project ( aims to support maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem services provided by grasslands, through encouraging ecosystem-based approach to planning and economically viable grassland management. The project shall demonstrate opportunities for multifunctional use of grasslands as basis for sustainability of rural areas and stimulus for local economies.

Specific objectives:

• To scrutinize synergy potentials & shortcomings in land use & nature conservation policy as well as best practice examples in relation to sustainable grassland management and come up with proposals for improvement of the policy and legal framework;
• To offer integrated, ecosystem based planning solutions based on economically viable grassland management scenarios;
• To encourage implementation of economically viable grassland management models within areas of different natural and socioeconomic contexts;
• To raise awareness and capacity of planners and local stakeholders on economically viable approaches to management of grassland ecosystems and services they provide.

The project aims to increase effectiveness of natural and semi-natural grassland. The project will implement business catalytic activities and elaborate business development scenarios that might function as background for investment plans. management by contributing tostrategic planning processes in delivering an Integrated Planning Tool for sustainable grassland management. The Integrated planning tool will strengthen linkage among social, economic, environmental and agricultural policies.
The project is with some of its practical actions preparing the habitats (by restoring their semi-natural nature after overgrowth and abandoning) for again being semi-natural agricultural lands that require management. If the habitats will be restored, then a farmer or landowner could apply for subsidies for its agricultural production measures.

The LIFE Viva Grass ( project has 14 partners in the three Baltic States:

BEF Lithuania (Coordinating Beneficiary)

BEF Latvia

University of Latvia

Municipality of Cesis


BEF Estonia

Estonian University of Life Sciences

Municipality of Lääne- Saare 

Farm Kurese

Pavilniai and Verkiai Regional Park

Dubysa Regional Park

Silute District Municipality

JSC Hnit-Baltic

Institute for Environmental Solutions


Kęstutis Navickas/ Project manager
Sustainable developement expert
Baltic Environmental Forum Lithuania
Phone +370 5 255 9146

Duration 06/2014 – 11/2018

Support: LIFE Viva Grass is partly financed by the EU LIFE+ Programme