Forests blanket more than half of the Latvian landscape, and are deeply rooted in the nation’s traditions. It’s true that Latvia has made tremendous progress in cleaning up the highly toxic environmental legacy of Soviet occupation, but there remains a lot to do. Today, the greatest environmental challenge facing the country lies in the management of these vast and beautiful woodlands.
But the importance of the forest is not only environmental.
The Latvian forest also plays a large emotional role in the psyche and identity of the Baltic nation. The woodlands have traditionally offered a place of refuge from the stresses of urban life – whether it be for hunting sports, working in the timber industry, or picking mushrooms and berries.
And there is an economic factor for Latvia, too. The abundance of wood provides massive opportunities for employment and energy. For the Latvian government, it’s all about finding a balance.
Alan’s residency culminated in a body of work entitled Forests of Latvia. The images produced depict the landscapes, people, and culture of these stunning woodlands.