For a country as rich in forests as Latvia (almost 45% of its territory is covered in woods), it is a matter of pride to keep count of the grandest and oldest trees growing on its land. Today, over 8,000 of the so-called Great trees (Dižkoki) of various species have been identified, but experts estimate that it is only one quarter of all Latvia's Great trees.

What is a Great tree?

Photo by the Latvian State Forests

Great trees are usually the biggest and oldest representatives of their respective species, often remarkable elements of the landscape, testimony to the majesty and splendour of the natural world. These trees play an important role in maintaining the diversity of nature – providing habitat to many forms of life, including rare and endangered species. Great trees may have a cultural and historic significance – certain events in the past are connected to them or they are the living witnesses of bygone times.

Idea of the project

On the brink of Latvia’s Centenary, everyone is invited to take part in the LV100 Great Trees project (LV100 Dižošanās), organized by the Centenary Bureau and the Nature Conservation Agency. It means going out into the nature, equipped with a measuring tape, to look for the yet undiscovered Great trees.

Great trees are rarely found in forests. The biggest chances of discovering them are in primeval hollows, river valleys, old parks and alleyways once part of manor houses, old homesteads and churches, and in dunes by the sea. Most of the identified Great trees are oaks, pines, and lindens. Less common are firs, pines, and birches.

The organizers of the project have created a digital platform, dizosanas.lv100.lv, with a map of the identified Great trees with an option of adding the newly-discovered ones. The data uploaded onto the digital map will be double-checked and followed up by specialists from the Nature Conservation Agency. If the tree fits the defined criteria, it will be registered in the official register of Great trees and an identification sign will be placed near the tree.

If you want to participate but are not sure where to start, contact the Centenary Bureau for details: linda.pastare@km.gov.lv.