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Teici Nature Reserve
In Teiči Reserve, it is like being in tundra – no matter where you look, you will see kilometres of swampy hollows grown with mosses and small birch trees. This is the Teiči bog – the largest bog in Latvia and one of the largest in the Baltic area. And quite logically, to protect this unique creation of nature, the Teiči Nature Reserve was established.
It is located in the Madona, Varakļānu and Krustpils Regions, about a dozen kilometres away from the largest lake in Latvia - Lubāna Lake which is rich with fish - and is the largest reserve in Latvia, established in 1982. Since 1994 this territory is acknowledged to be an important place for birds on the level of European significance. In 1995 it gained the international status according to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
Since 2004 it has been a “Natura 2000” territory.
The Teiči bog is one of the largest intact mossy bogs in the Baltic Region (its area is about 16 000 ha) and, therefore, the Teiči Nature Reserve is significant for preserving the specific and rare bog birds, as a feeding and rest place for water birds, for retaining species of plants and biotypes characteristic for wetlands, as well as for ensuring the existence of many species of invertebrates.
The Teiči bogs are practically unaffected by human activities. The protected territory is also one of the largest complexes of wet ecosystems in the Baltic area to have the reserve protection regime. The bulk of it is occupied by high or mossy bog, and forest occupies only 3729 ha. Apart from pools and swampy hollows, the Teiči Nature Reserve has 18 lakes, which exceed 2 ha, the largest of them being the Kurtavas, Pieslaista and Mindaukas Lakes. The Teiči bog is an internationally significant place for migrating and nesting birds. The bulk of the Latvian population of bog bird species nest here. This is the largest concentration place before migration for cranes (200 - 1500 birds) and one of the largest rest places in Latvia for migrating geese (2000 - 8000 birds).
Many isles overgrown with forest are found in the bog. Among them there is a unique place in Latvia - Siksala. This is an isle in the very centre of a bog which remained an ancient settlement of Russian old-believers. The old-believers chose this inaccessible isle in the 17th century when escaping from their religious persecutors. There are still four farmsteads remaining on Siksala and active life is still going on there.
There are two functional zones determined in the reserve’s territory: the restricted access area and the regulated access area. No economic activities are allowed in the restricted access area, no one may stay there (except for research and protection purposes). It is prohibited to enter the regulated access area without a permit issued by the administration and to perform any forest management, other restrictions are imposed as well. There is practically no direct anthropogenic influence in the restricted access area. It is located in the central part of the bog which is hard to access and where human visits even for research and protection purposes are rare.
The regulated access area may also be visited by tourists every year from 1 June to 31 October. A reference trail and several observation platforms are arranged in the bog for their convenience. The excursions last for at least three hours and the possibility to see the unique Teiči bog is undertaken by at least 1000 visitors annually. It must be taken into account that the reserve may be attended only when accompanied by its employee and all visits must be coordinated with the Teiči Nature Reserve administration by phone +371 64807201 or e-mail [email protected].
Watch a little eagle “Aquila pomarina” with the help of the video observation camera www.pomarina.lv