Buyer Community> Trade Intelligence> Country Profiles-Latvia> Latvia-Geography


Published: 04 Nov 2008 12:15:40 PST
Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania
Geographic coordinates:   
57 00 N, 25 00 E
Map references:   
total: 64,589 sq km
country comparison to the world: 123
land: 62,249 sq km
water: 2,340 sq km
Area - comparative:   
slightly larger than West Virginia
Land boundaries:   
total: 1,382 km
border countries: Belarus 171 km, Estonia 343 km, Lithuania 576 km, Russia 292 km
498 km
Maritime claims:   
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Current Weather
maritime; wet, moderate winters
low plain
Elevation extremes:   
lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Galzina Kalns 312 m
Natural resources:   
peat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, timber, arable land
Land use:   
arable land: 28.19%
permanent crops: 0.45%
other: 71.36% (2005)
Irrigated land:   
200 sq km
note: land in Latvia is often too wet and in need of drainage not irrigation; approximately 16,000 sq km or 85% of agricultural land has been improved by drainage (2003)
Total renewable water resources:   
49.9 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):   
total: 0.25 cu km/yr (55%/33%/12%)
per capita: 108 cu m/yr (2003)
Natural hazards:   
Environment - current issues:   
Latvia's environment has benefited from a shift to service industries after the country regained independence; the main environmental priorities are improvement of drinking water quality and sewage system, household, and hazardous waste management, as well as reduction of air pollution; in 2001, Latvia closed the EU accession negotiation chapter on environment committing to full enforcement of EU environmental directives by 2010
Environment - international agreements:   
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:   
most of the country is composed of fertile low-lying plains with some hills in the east
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