Forest and climate

Statistics concerning forests, climate and raw materials supply.

The forest-based sector’s total climate effect is calculated as the sum of the following three parts: 

  1. The net carbon sink in the forest and wood-based products.
  2. Reduced fossil emissions when fossil fuels are replaced with renewables from the forest (substitution).
  3. Emissions from the forest-based sector itself. 

In 2020, the forest-based sector removed 93 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It compensates for all of Sweden’s territorial emissions – twice over. During the period 1990–2020, the positive climate effect of Sweden's forest sector has increased by 1 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. The most important factor in this trend is that products and materials from the forest replace fossil fuels. In addition to this, the emissions in the industry’s value chain have been reduced by half.  

Just over 70 percent of Sweden’s surface is covered by forest, which makes us Europe’s second most forested country after Finland. Of 41 million hectares, approximately 28 million hectares in Sweden are counted as forest land. 

Did you know that almost half of Sweden’s forests are owned by private individuals? 313,084 individuals, to be more precise. In many families, the forest is inherited and managed from generation to generation. A quarter of the Swedish forests is owned by private companies. The remaining quarter is owned by the state, municipalities and the Church of Sweden, among others.  

Internationally, it is quite unusual for private individuals to own forests. In Central Asia, Russia and Africa, almost all forests are owned by the state. In Canada, the state owns 93 percent of the forest and in the United States – 68 percent. In Europe, however, private forest owners are more common. On average, 56 percent of forests are privately owned. 

Forests are preserved through the establishment of national parks, nature reserves and areas to protect valuable or vulnerable biotopes. Collectively, they are usually referred to as formally protected forest land. As the graph shows, this area has increased since the 1990s. The figures refer to productive forest land only.  

In the last 100 years, active forestry has ensured that the amount of forest has doubled in Sweden. Harvests are always lower than the growth in forests. The figures refer to productive forest land.  

The proportion of deciduous trees has increased by approximately 53 percent since 1990, and today constitutes 18 percent of the standing volume on Swedish forest land. Since 1985, the proportion of forests dominated by deciduous trees has increased from 6,5 to 8,9 percent of the forest land in the country as a whole.