Contrary to a popular belief the fact that all trees in Latvia have been cut over for export is not true. Indeed, the other way around – the country is slowly, but surely running wild.
Over the post-war period the forest area in Latvia doubled! In 1935 the country was covered with 1.747 million hectares of forest, but in 2015 – with 3.356 million hectares. Feel the difference.
At average 10 to 12 million cubic meters of timber is produced in Latvia a year, at that forest increases by at least 25 million cubic meters a year. Go nuts!
Forest occupies 52% of the area of the country and in the EU the states more overgrown with trees are scarce. For instance, Finland — 66%. Moreover, with 1.7 hectare of forest per capita Latvia now takes in the EU the forth place on this indicator.
In its turn, the added value of timber processing increased 4 times: thus, instead of export of roundwood to Scandinavia and Great Britain planking and furniture are being sent increasingly frequently. The forest industry creates 2 billion euro in Latvian GDP, which makes it the most profitable in the Latvian national economy.
The process of overgrowing of the country has been well under way also after the restoration of independence of Latvia in 1991. According to Eurostat data, in 1990 the country had 3.173 million hectares of forest, in 2015, as mentioned above, as much as 3.356 million hectares.
In comparison: for instance, Lithuania is the place where woods are scarce – just 2.18 million hectares in 2015, what is more, this country in terms of area is larger than Latvia.
However, it is not surprising that the Latvians now live in the jungles. Dismantlement of economic operations after the restoration of independence, the loss of large-scale industry and disappearance of collective farms could not result otherwise. Therefore the social activists, who raise moans because of every cut pine - tree, should hardly suffer so much. The main problem of Latvia now is not the shortage of trees, but the shortage of people, who can be kept in the country only by creating jobs and decent living conditions. Even though something somewhere got to come off.
As to the myth of total vegetation clearance then it developed most likely for the simple reason that logging operations in Latvia for convenient shipment take place predominantly along good roads, by which city folk preoccupied with ‘green’ thinking’ like to travel. The way all fields in the province have been long overgrown with forest rather than weed they do not see from windows of their personal cars.