LSIWCh history

Theoretical and applied studies have been typical for the themes of IWC from the moment of its foundation in 1946, when it formed a part of the newly founded Institute of Forestry Problems of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. The Institute’s founder was a prominent Latvian scientist, Prof. Arvids Kalninsh (1894-1981), who headed the Institute from 1946 to 1976. His main idea regarding the forest resources management was the purposeful reproduction of the forest as well as the comprehensive and rational usage of the tree potential on the basis of multidisciplinary fundamental research. This idea has been a background for the research activity of IWC until now.


In 1958, the Institute was reorganized into the Institute of Forestry Problems and Wood Chemistry. On its basis, in 1963, the Institute of Wood Chemistry, Latvian Academy of Sciences (IWC, LAS) and the Institute of Forestry Problems, Ministry of Forestry, were founded.


WC, LAS, was the leading Institute in the field of wood chemistry in the former USSR. Since 1966, IWC had been the only Academic Institute that coordinated the scientific work carried out all over the former Soviet Union in the field of the chemistry of wood and its components. On the basis of IWC, the corresponding Scientific Council of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR functioned, headed by IWC’s directors. The Scientific Council comprised the most prominent Soviet scientists working in this field and representatives of decision-makers’ administrative structures. About 90 research and applied institutions, universities, specialized laboratories and design offices were involved in the network of the coordinated organization.


WC organized All-Union Scientific Conferences (200-300 participants), Symposia (about 50 participants), Methodological Seminars, and Young Scientists’ Schools.


Since 1974, IWC had published the All-Union Journal “Khimiya Drevesiny” (Wood Chemistry) (6 issues per year). The Journal published fundamental works by scientists from all the republics of the former USSR as well as scientists from foreign European countries.


IWC has always carried out the training of high-skilled scientific staff: Dr. sc. and Dr. habil. sc. in the field of wood science and high-molecular compounds. After the restoration of independence of the Republic of Latvia, IWC continued its activities on training and certifying the scientific staff and coordinating scientific research in Latvia.


In early 1990-s, the staff of the Institute has been reduced considerably: from 309 in 1991 to 125 in 1995. The number of the scientific staff also continued to decrease until 1995 and then stabilized at 117. We are viewing the future with optimism because the scientific work now is closely connected with teaching. More than 20 students are involved in the Institute’s activities.

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Page updated 17.02.2009.