Nature Park Bernāti

The territory of the Nature Park Bernāti was created for the protection of coastal habitats and rare plant and animal species. Most of the area is home to protected habitats of EU importance, such as wooded seaside dunes, embryonic dunes, fore-dunes, herbaceous grey dunes, and boreal forests.

In total, 14 rare and protected species of vascular plants, lichens, mosses, and fungi have been found on the territory of the park. Nine of them are included in the Lists of Specially Protected Species of Latvia, three – in the EU lists of specially protected species, and three – in the 3rd category of the Red Book of Latvia.

Animals and plants in the nature park

The nature park is an important area for the protection of plant species that can grow and reproduce only in the primary dunes (embryonic and fore-dunes) of the seaside. The most significant of these is the Linaria loeselii, listed in Annex II to the Habitats Directive of the Council of Europe. Since the species occurs only in the primary dunes, in which there is an active overflow of sand, the size of its populations varies dramatically from year to year.

The small-flowered buttercup Silene borysthenica is very rare and only found in small numbers in the park. Its habitat is the gray dunes.

In the park, there are some relatively common plants like sea pea Lathyrus maritimus, Tragopogon heterospermus, Anthyllis maritima, Tragopogon heterospermus. The favorable conservation status of these species depends on the course of natural coastal processes, the active formation of dunes and the overmoistening of sand.

Less common are the grey hair-grass Corynephorus canescens and the Gmelina alice Alyssum gmelinii.

In the wet depressions of the dunes, its wonderful aroma is spread by the bog myrtle Myrica gale and in the old forests there is the interrupted club moss Lycopodium annotinum.

The most important of the mosses is the leucobryum moss Leucobryum glaucum, found in wetlands and old boreal forest habitats. There, on old trees, you can also find the rare lichen –a comma lichen Arthonia spadicea.

As a special species of mushrooms, it is worth noting the winter stalk balls Tulostoma brumale. This species is a typical inhabitant of gray dunes and is found only in small areas. Only a few specimens of the velvet-top fungus (Phaeolus schweinitzii) have been found in the territory of the Nature Park. In 2020, in Latvia and in May 2021 in the nature park “Bernāti”, a fungus was found for the first time– the white-footed elf cup Helvella leucomelaena.

 

The Eurasian hoopoe Upupa epops is increasingly common on sandy roads.

The invertebrate fauna of the Nature Park has been relatively little studied, as the area is isolated and far from research centres. Three specially protected species have been found in the nature park: the wood-boring beetle Nothorina muricata (=N. Punctata), the Flatheaded pine borer Chalcophora mariana and Laphria gibbosa.

The larvae of Nothorhina punctata feed on the dead part of the bark, as a result of which characteristic dark yellow resinous drains form on the trunks of the pine, which makes it easy to detect the presence of the species. This species of beetles does not feed on the living tissues of pine, so the tree does not die. Under suitable lighting conditions, the species can inhabit the tree for several decades.

Chalcophora mariana and Laphria gibbosa inhabit sunlit pine drifts, windfallen trees and stumps. Both species are associated with old or natural boreal forests, but in the Nature Park, they are found on the edges of forest roads and gray dunes, in less shady places. Adult specimens of both species are strongly heat-loving. 

Adult Flatheaded pine borer, on the other hand, inhabit sunlit fallen pine trees, stumps, or heaps of timber, while their larvae develop in the wood of old, heavily weakened pine trunks and stumps or in aisles carved under the bark.

In addition to specially protected species, several species recorded in the Red Book of Latvia have been found in the territory – scarlet tiger moth Callimorpha dominula (one specimen) and Musk beetle Aromia moshata (damage to Salix caprea), as well as the indicator species of natural forest habitats Monochamus urussovi.

The antlion Myrmeleontidae is an insect belonging to the family of lacewings. There are about 2200 species of antlions worldwide. So far, 3 species of ant ions have been found in Latvia. The most common and inhabiting the Bernāti forest is the common antlion Myrmeleon formicarius.

The presence of boreal forests provides a suitable habitat for the black woodpecker Dryocopus martius, thereby creating nesting opportunities for the stock dove Columba oenas and the boreal owl Aegolius funereus.

 

The nesting density of the Wood Pigeon is particularly remarkable: 5–8 couples, which is a high indicator for such a small area.

A few pairs of cranes Grus grus nest in the wet depressions of the Nature Park. The Eurasian hoopoe Upupa epops is increasingly common on sandy roads.

The Eurasian wryneck Jynx torquilla nests in the wooded coastal dunes.

The park is home to roe deer, deer, wild boar, moose, badger, fox, marten, squirrel, and hare. Of particular note is the small dormouse Muscardinus avellanarius, which is one of the specially protected species of squirrel-like rodents. In 2020, a small population of these cute animals was found in the park.

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