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Latvia: Geography

Geography Latvia
Location:
Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania
Geographic coordinates:
57 00 N, 25 00 E
Map references:
Europe
Area:
total: 64,589 sq km
water: 1,000 sq km
land: 63,589 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than West Virginia
Land boundaries:
total: 1,150 km
border countries: Belarus 141 km, Estonia 339 km, Lithuania 453 km, Russia 217 km
Coastline:
531 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate:
maritime; wet, moderate winters
Terrain:
low plain
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Gaizinkalns 312 m
Natural resources:
peat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, wood, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 29.01%
permanent crops: 0.48%
other: 70.51% (1998 est.)
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 (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
NA
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, and 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, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note:
most of the country is composed of fertile, low-lying plains, with some hills in the east

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Source: The CIA World Fact Book 2003

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