IMPACT OF ORIENTEERING COMPETITIONS ON GROUND VEGETATION IN PINE FORESTS AT THE SEASIDE, LATVIA
Keywords:pine forests, forest layers, orienteering, trampling, projective coverage
Orienteering is one of the most popular folk sports in Latvia, it involves a very large number of participants, and this number is growing every year. While participating in the competition and running through the forest, the competitors are trampling the forest floor. In Latvia, the impact of orienteering competitions has not been studied a lot, therefore when organizing competitions, disagreements arise when choosing the competition area – there are groundless suspicions that orienteering sport has a significant negative long-term impact on the forest floor. The aim of research is to assess the impact of orienteering competitions on ground vegetation in pine forests at the seaside, Latvia. The research was carried out in the orienteering competition “World Masters Orienteering Championships 2019” or “WMOC 2019” competition area, which was located in Scots pine forests in the seaside territory – in the vicinity of Bumbukalns and Garezeri. The study describes orienteering competitions and their process in forest lands; analyzes the vegetation at orienteering competition checkpoints before and after the competition; compares and evaluates vegetation changes in hilly areas on hill tops and in depressions. The study has found that orienteering competitions do not significantly affect the forest layers. It is concluded that as the distance from the control point increases, the trampling intensity decreases. The intensity of trampling does not depend only on the shape of the terrain. The effect of trampling is best seen on the moss layer.