Latvia - Forestry

Latvia's forests and woodlands covered 2.9 million ha (7 million acres), or approximately 47% of the total land area in 2000 (up from 24.7% in 1923). Before World War II (1939–45), the timber and paper industries accounted for 29% of employment; by 1990, the number had fallen to 9%. In 1939, the timber industry contributed 53.5% to total exports; in 1990, wood and paper exports accounted for 2.2% of total exports. The timber cut in 2000 was 14,488,000 cu m (511 million cu ft), with 12% used as fuel wood. Production amounts in 2000 included: sawn wood, 4,030,000 cu m (142 million cu ft); particleboard, 102,000 cu m(3.6 million cu ft); plywood, 156,000 cu m (5.5 million cu ft); and paper and paperboard, 16,000 tons. Exports of forest products amounted to $625.9 million in 2000.

Jaako Poyry Consulting AB (Sweden), a subsidiary of Finland's Jaako Poyry Group, has been doing a preliminary study for a new pulp plant in Jekabpils, financed by the Latvian government and the Swedish International Development Authority. The new plant will have a capacity to produce 350,000 tons of bleached softwood per year, and will require an investment of up to $1 billion.

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