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Interesting facts about the Swedish Forest

Management of the Swedish Forest
40.7 million hectares is the size of Sweden's land area, of which around 70 percent is forested, of which around 75 percent is managed long-term. Wood is therefore Sweden's most important renewable raw material. The rotation period of trees (planting to harvest) in Sweden is around 80 to 120 years. This is mainly due to the climate. When trees are harvested, an average of 11 percent of the area remains as so-called general takeover. 25 percent of Swedish forest areas are not managed for various reasons. This is mostly due to the unproductivity of the forest area mentioned. Percent of Swedish forest areas are officially protected in nature reserves.

Pine forest Sweden

Is there still primeval forest in Sweden’s forests?
Original forests, so-called primeval forests, are important. Primeval forests are home to many rare animal species. In Sweden, primeval forest / old forest is defined according to the age of the stand. In the north of Sweden, an average age of 140 years and in the south an average age of 120 years is required to be considered a primeval forest. The lowest primeval forest stand in Sweden was at the end of the 20th century. However, since 1990, a positive development of the old stand has been measurable, which can be attributed to a stricter forestry model.
Older forest stands, which are over 160 years old and often provide important habitats for certain threatened species, can be found to a small extent today. But the fact that a forest is old does not necessarily mean that it has high natural values. The history of the forest, the degree of continuity, structures and characteristics of the surrounding forest landscape also have a significant influence on forest quality.

Biodiversity in Sweden’s forests
The conditions for biodiversity in the forest have improved over the last 30 years. For example, the amount of deadwood and the proportion of old forest on areas used for forestry have increased by 80 percent. The proportion of hardwoods/deciduous trees has also tripled. The starting point for forestry is to manage the forest in such a way that all naturally occurring species can survive in the forest landscape. By 2030, the members and representatives of the forestry industry will work to increase the old forest area, the deciduous forest area, the volume of deadwood and the stock of coarse trees by at least another 10 percent each.

Forest-Fallen area-Bark area

Sweden's forest plantations
Plantation forestry is often associated with intensively managed forests with very short rotation periods, consisting of straight rows of trees planted. This is what the young trees planted in Sweden initially look like, but this picture changes quickly as natural regeneration contributes to a natural forest appearance in just a few years. However, the rotation period is long at Sweden's latitudes. Sweden's growth cycles last from 60 to 120 years, depending on where the forest area is located. Usually after a few years, many self-seeded trees of different tree species grow into the stand, resulting in a more diverse forest. When timber is harvested, many trees and forest stands are also left behind, becoming part of the new stand and helping to ensure that the new forest retains important elements of older trees. Even if a forest planted on certain areas in Sweden has certain visual similarities to plantation forestry, it is not a plantation by definition.

The many debates in forestry
Both in Sweden and in the EU we are facing important political decisions that affect forestry. There are many different interests, which are reflected in the heated debate among environmental organizations and the media, among others. The discussion also covers the role of the forest for the climate and the forest as a recreational and adventure space.

Autumn forest_Sweden_Nature_Swedish house

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