Trees have a special place in Latvia, not only in the economy but also as cultural monuments: and many of the largest, rarest, most historic and most characterful examples have special protected status as a result.
Known as 'dižkoki' or 'great trees', many different trees of different types are cattered throughout the country. While the locations of many are recorded on maps and in local legend, many others remain unrecorded or little-known.
Now, as part of Latvia's centenary celebrations, a full-scale effort is under way to record the locations and other information of as many of Latvia's great trees as possible. The initiative is explained in the film below, which comes with English subtitles.
As stated in the film, a special website has been set up where the details of great trees can be recorded (though sadly it does not appear to be available in English) and you can learn more about how trees grow and when a tree becomes a truly great tree.
To be in with a chance, the tree trunk should be measured at a height of 1.3 meters, approximately at chest height. The coordinates for the location of the tree should be noted, but if you are unable to do so, a sketch of the tree’s location should suffice so that the tree can later be registered on the digital map. The tree should be photographed from a distance, to show how it looks in the landscape, and up close, so that specialists can assess the state of the trunk.
You can read more about the initiative HERE.
According to the organizers, there are already around 8,000 known great trees registered in Latvia, but this may represent only a quarter of the total number.
If you want to find out more about Latvia's great trees, perhaps you'd like to visit our series on a few of them from last year?
The white willow of Jaunsloboda.
The black alder of Raina park.
The crab apple of Ciemgali.
The thickest oak in the Baltic states.
The great oak of Budas.
The elm of Istra.
The ancient oaks of Zemgale.
SOURCE: Public broadcasting of Latvia