In the report “Wiping away the Boreal” from September 27th, Greenpeace is criticizing boreal forest management in Sweden. We would like to clarify on three subjects.
1. The Swedish forestry model ensures biodiversity in a landscape perspective by setting aside formal reserves in combination with voluntarily set asides and general environmental consideration by forest owners. Out of the 28 million hectares of woodland in Sweden, around 25% is exempted from forestry. By means of nature consideration in regular harvest operations, an additional 8% is annually exempted from harvest.
2. Sweden’s first Forest Act from 1903 stipulated the obligation on forest owners to reforest after harvesting. At that time our forests were degraded and large areas were deforested. The Act led to a remarkable change in forest management. Since then, the annual growth has more than doubled and since growth exceeds harvesting, the standing forest volume has almost doubled during the same period.
The Forest Act 1994 portal article set production and environment as equal pillars. The forest based industry has since then been conducting an active conservation work. The Forest Act and voluntary, third party audited forest certifications, set the guidelines for this work. All major forest companies and all state-owned forests are FSC-certified since the late 1990s.
3. The efforts to ensure a sustainable development and the continuous work with nature conservation and environmental consideration will never end. We will constantly need to develop and improve. However, to set aside all areas in so called “high value landscapes” will not be the right path forward since a big part of those landscapes include areas with relatively low nature value and consists of managed forests in varying age-classes, from newly planted to thinnings, and stands mature for harvesting.
The Swedish Forest Industries Federation view is that we shall look at the high value landscapes as one of many tools that will help to guide on how to focus conservation activities. We do consider it important that we, continuously and together with authorities and other actors, strive for a wise use of our resources.
The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency are also giving their view on areas of high value landscapes.