23 years ago – on 28 October 1999 – JSC “Latvia's State Forests” (LVM) was founded with the order of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia. During these years, the company has grown, developed and expanded its scope of activities, becoming one of the most important Latvian State-owned companies.
During its 23 years of operation, LVM has contributed a total of 1.5 billion euros to the State and local government budgets in the form of dividends and taxes and has achieved a turnover of almost 4.8 billion euros. During this time, almost 280 million cubic metres of wood was grown in the State forests of Latvia, proving that wood is a renewable resource and that the income from forest management is sustainable – it is generated as the forest grows. Over the course of 23 years, LVM has grown 800 million forest seedlings, which is almost 400 seedlings for every resident of Latvia!
JSC “Latvia's State Forests” manages a fourth part of the territory of Latvia, making a significant contribution to strengthening the national economy of Latvia. Although LVM started its activity as a forestry company, currently its scope is wider: the company responsibly manages the land, forest, subsoil, and other resources entrusted to it to increase welfare of the Latvian State and its citizens. Currently, one of the priority directions of the operation of JSC “Latvia's State Forests” is to contribute to ensuring country's energy independence by developing opportunities for wind energy production,” says Pēters Putniņš, Chairman of the Board of LVM.
Since the establishment of the company, 275 thousand hectares of forests have been restored in the State forests of Latvia. During this time, forest roads with a total length of 8 thousand kilometres were built and forest drainage systems with a total length of 264 thousand hectares were restored. All land managed by the company has been surveyed and registered in the Land Register. Understanding the desire of young people to acquire practical knowledge in nature, more than 140 thousand students and teachers have participated in the annual forest environment education programmes. During these years, LVM has made a significant contribution to the promotion of employment, providing work for residents in all regions of Latvia.
Forestry is the main area of activity of LVM; however, the company also develops other types of activity: provides hunting and recreation services, obtains selected seeds and seedlings for reforestation, manages underground resources by extracting mineral materials in 122 quarries, and develops geospatial data services. During these years, the area managed by the company with the main goal of environmental protection has significantly increased: from 5% of the area in 2001 to more than 20% in 2022.
To ensure high-quality and high-yielding future forest seedlings, LVM owns ten tree nurseries with a total area of 434 hectares, including 20.6 hectares of growing landfills and 5.4 hectares of greenhouses covered with plastic film. Since the establishment of nurseries, the amount of pine seedlings has almost doubled: from 10.1 million seedlings in 2003 to 25 million seedlings in 2022. In turn, the amount of spruce seedlings has almost quadrupled: from 7.2 million in 2003 to 28 million seedlings in 2022. During these years, eight LVM tree nurseries have obtained the ISO 9001 2015 quality management certificate, which means that the nurseries have well-arranged quality control principles in place.
People highly value the opportunities for recreation in forest – forest is a place for walks, active recreation, picking mushrooms, picking berries and other activities. On 5 % of the territory, the company carries out such forest tending, which provides these recreational opportunities, and 290 free recreational spots have also been created for residents and guests, thus balancing economic, social and environmental interests.