Voluntarily set-aside and protected forest

Photo: Mostphotos

Of Sweden’s total 28 million hectares of forest land, approximately 25 per cent is excluded from forestry activities in various ways. A further eight to 10 per cent of managed forest land is set aside in conjunction with felling.

Formally protected forest

There are a number of different forms of protection available to forests in Sweden. There are 30 national parks, more than 5,200 nature reserves, more than 8,400 biotope protection areas, and 5,400 nature conservation agreements. (The Swedish Forest Agency).

According to Statistics Sweden, a total of 2.4 million hectares of forest land in Sweden was subject to some form of formal protection at the end of 2020. This corresponds to nine per cent of Sweden’s forest land. Of this, roughly 1.3 million hectares were productive forest land, which corresponds to almost six per cent of the country’s productive forest land.

Voluntarily set-aside forest

Forest land owners who are either FSC- or PEFC-certified refrain from cultivating at least five per cent of productive forest on their land. Voluntary set-asides in Sweden currently total roughly 1.3 million hectares of productive forest land distributed over several hundred thousand areas of various sizes.

Unproductive forest land

Unproductive forest land refers to forest on fallow land where total tree growth is less than one cubic metre per hectare per year. According to the Forest Protection Act, these areas are exempt from forestry and are important for green infrastructure, biodiversity and other ecosystem services. Unproductive forest land, outside formally protected forest, amounts to 3.1 million hectares, or 11 per cent of Sweden’s forest land, according to Statistics Sweden.

View voluntarily set-aside forest and protected forest on our interactive map

Interactive map showing voluntarily set-aside forest land among five major forest owners in Sweden. The map also shows the formal forms of state protection.