Significant growth of Latvian "green gold" branch
About the forestry, in brief:
- the government has placed timber industry in the list of priority branches;
- currently, foreigners have a limited opportunity to purchase agricultural land and timberland. However, after May 1st 2014, these limitations will cease to exist;
- 47% of all Latvian forests are owned by the state;
- more than 2500 various enterprises, which employ approximately 59,000 people, work in the forest branch of Latvia;
- there are almost 150,000 owners of private forests in Latvia.
The products of forest industry have always been the leaders of the products for export. In 2010, this branch has had the quickest recovery from the impacts caused by economic crisis.
- It is envisaged, that the incomes of the forest branch could be doubled within five years, exceeding EUR 2bn, if the production of timber products with advanced processing would be stimulated on the state level.
- The crisis, as well as highly productive equipment, has significantly decreased the amount of employees in the branch.
- The majority of production is sold outside Latvia.
- The internal consumption of timber products has decreased due to economic recession, which has begun at the end of 2008. Currently, nothing indicates a fast recovery of the internal market of these products.
- Before that, the major investors in the forest industry have been from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Great Britain, as well as Cyprus.
- The area occupied by woods continues to increase on account of overgrown and afforested lands, which are not utilized in agriculture. As of now, forests occupy 50% from the total territory of the state.
- 53% of all forests are managed by owners of private forests, while 47% are the property of the State of Latvia.
- According to the data of the Forest statistics stock-taking, in 2008, timber volume has exceeded 631 million m³.
- In Latvia, the main forest stands, which have reached the age of cutting, occupy almost 0,5 million ha, and the timber volume, which is accumulated thereon, amounts to 160 million m³. Every year, according to the data of the State Forest Service, an average of 10–11 million m³ of timber is cut down in Latvia.
- The maximal allowed amount of cutting in the main cutting area of the state forests for 2011–2015 is 23,2 million m³.
- There are approximately 150,000 owners of private forests in Latvia. In 2009, due to landslide of prices on timber, the wood cutting in the forests of private owners has significantly decreased. However, in 2010, wood cutting activities have renewed.
- Foreign investors, whose companies manage significant forest areas in Latvia, express interest in forestry. The available timber resources also make it possible to assign the status of perspective branch to forestry.
- The driving force of the forest branch is timber industry, especially the well-developed production of sawn conifer timber.
- There are 8 working sawmills in Latvia (part of them – with Latvian stock capital), the annual capacity of which exceeds 100,000 m³ of finished product.
- There are more than ten manufacturers of sawn timber, the annual production volume of which is 10,000 to 75,000 m³. In 2009, notwithstanding the overall recession, these major manufacturers of sawn conifer timber have realized a significant profit.
- The production of birch plywood and its products, of which Latvia is one of the major manufacturers in all Eastern Europe, holds a significant role.
- Until 2006, virtually all pulpwood has been exported to the pulp plants of the Scandinavian countries. However, owing to the investments of the international concern Kronospan in the establishment of OSB plate production unit, large internal consumption of pulpwood has also been established in Latvia.
- In 2010 export value of forest sector products in Latvia comprised 1.45 billion euro, which was per 46% more than in 2009 when the value of forest export was 995.06 million euro. The overall value of wood and its products export in 2011 was 1.28 billion euro which is per 51,3% more than in 2009.
- In the first 6 months of 2011 export of forest sector in Latvia reached 847.54 million euro, which is per 26,4% more than in the same time period of the previous year when it was 670.54 million euro. Export value of wood and its products was 752.8 million euro which is per 28% more. The biggest share of export value has timber and round timber with 203.7 million euro and 130.4 million euro respectively. Export of wood and its products was the most significant sector of Latvian export in the 1st half of 2011 comprising 18% of the overall export value in Latvia.
- The biggest export markets for Latvian forest sector production in the 1st half of 2011 remained traditional: Sweden (18,3% of the overall amount of export or 155.3 million euro) Germany (11,4% or 96.81 million euro) and the United Kingdom (11,3% or 96.19 million euro).
Export of the production of forest branches (millions of EUR)Source: Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Latvia
Major export destinations for the forest branch, %, according to the revenue in 2010Source: Ministry of Agriculture
TOP 5 largest forestry branch companies in Latvia according to net turnover
Turnover, mil. EUR, 2009
Turnover, mil. EUR, 2008
Turnover changes, 2009 vs 2088, %
Profit 2009, mil. EUR
Latvijas valsts meži JSC
Latvijas Finieris JSC
Vika Wood LLC
- Ministry of Agriculture
- Latvian wood industry portal
- Latvijas Valsts Meži
- National portal of forest branch