Forests of Latvia
During the month of October 2017, I completed a photographic residency with the Rucka Arts Centre in Cesis, Latvia. I produced a web-based body of work entitled, "Forests of Latvia"
Forests blanket the Latvian landscape and naturally play a large emotional role in the psyche and identity. Forests have been seen as a place of refuge from the stresses of urban life, there is nothing more Latvian than to go mushroom picking in the forest, or as a place of refuge during the resistance to Soviet occupation.
Latvia has been called the greenest country in the Baltics which is somewhat true as Latvia has made tremendous progress in cleaning up the highly toxic Soviet environmental legacy, sadly, the current environmental challenge is to promote proper management of the forests.
Only drive twenty minutes from the Old Town of Riga and you are pleasantly welcomed with dense forests and the Baltic coastline has a protected strip but the protected strip is spoilt on the other side of the road by clear cutting.
Of course, forests have an economic place as wood is needed for furniture and energy and forestry provides jobs but that does not mean that the industry cannot be run in a sustainable manor. For instance, legislation should be rescinded lowering the age and diameter of trees to be felled and what tree species replace the trees that have been cut down.