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Wednesday 22.02.2017 | Name days: Rigonda, Adrians, Ārija
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Latvia’s woodland area has doubled in the past 80 years

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOver the course of the past eighty years Latvia’s woodland area has doubled. It continues growing to this day. This dismisses the myth that intensive logging in Latvia allegedly negatively impacts Latvia’s woods.

Latvia is the fourth richest country in Europe in terms of forests. It is expected to remain the same, considering that intensive logging is balanced out by intensive restoration and management of forests, as reported by Zaļās mājas association.

In spring, the association performed a sociological survey to learn society’s understanding of the situation with Latvia’s forests. The association concluded that, unfortunately, society lacks real understanding of the situation. For example, 41% of respondents believe Latvia’s total woodland area has declined in comparison with K.Ulmanis’ Reign. In reality, the situation is exactly the opposite: Latvia had 1,747,000 ha of forests in 1935. By 2015, the total woodland area had reached 3,356,000 ha.

«It is sad that a large number of residents do not research the real situation. Instead they express their opinions based solely on emotions or baseless rumours. People live in dogmatic confidence that everything was better when Ulmanis was in power. It is rare to find anyone stop and think for a moment that back then Latvia was a clearly agrarian country with many farmers who each worked on their own patch of land and the forest had a much smaller role in comparison with the current situation,» – says Zaļās mājas board member Kristaps Ceplis.

Woodland resource acquisition is a very stable industry in Latvia. 10 to 12 million m3 of wood is cut down in Latvia every year. The annual increase is double of that – at least 24 million m3 a year. This provides Latvian wood workers with the necessary resources, guaranteeing Latvia a place among the most forested countries in Europe.

Latvia also employs an active forest restoration policy. For each cut down tree, two saplings are planted. In 2010, the country had restored 32,200 ha of forests (35,200 ha in 2012; 38,000 ha in 2014 and 41,700 ha in 2015).

«We can be certain of data reliability, because forest monitoring uses a method employed in all of Europe. Its accuracy is 97%. Latvia is the 4th most forested country in the EU. There is 1.7 ha of forest per capita in the country. Considering Latvia’s modest population size, it is big treasure. At the same time, Latvia’s forests are some of the most accessible in Europe, allowing residents to collect berries, mushrooms and engage in all kinds of activities,» – says Silava Latvian state forest science institute researcher Aris Jansons.

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