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Formally protected forest land, voluntary set-asides, consideration patches and unproductive forest land, 2019

Slight increase in formally protected forest land and voluntary set-asides

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2020-06-25 9.30

Almost 22 000 hectares have been added to the formally protected forest land in 2019. This corresponds to 0.1 percent of all forest land in Sweden. Voluntary set-asides increased by almost 45 000 hectares, which corresponds to 0.2 percent of all forest land in Sweden.

Forest land is the dominating type of land in Sweden. According to Swedish National Forest Inventory statistics, forest land accounts for 28 million hectares, which corresponds to 69 percent of Sweden’s total land area. This high proportion of forest land makes Sweden, second only to Finland, the country in Europe with the highest proportion of forest land in relation to its total land area.

Statistics Sweden presents coherent statistics on different aspects of forest land in Sweden. These statistics are divided into four types:

  1. Formally protected forest land
  2. Voluntary set-asides
  3. Consideration patches
  4. Unproductive forest land

Formally protected forest land, voluntary set-asides, consideration patches and unproductive forest land, 2019
 Areas in hectares, without overlapping areasShare of Sweden’s total forest land
FormsProductive forest landTotal forest landProductive forest landTotal forest land
Formally protected forest land 1 395 200 2 352 700 6% 9%
Voluntary set-asides 1 254 800 1 254 800 5% 4%
Consideration patches 456 400 456 400 2% 2%
Unproductive forest land . 3 221 800 . 11%

Comments: Areas are rounded to even 100s. Consequently, sub-quantities cannot be summed to a total. The overlaps are estimated and excluded starting with formally protected forest land. The total area of forest land is retrieved from the Swedish National Forest Inventory statistics. The proportion of formal protection is calculated based on total areas according to national land data 2019. The area of consideration patches are preliminary estimates based on the most recent definitive three-year average value in 2014.

Formally protected forest land comprises almost 2.4 million hectares, of which just under 1.4 million hectares are productive forest land. Sixty-two percent of formally protected forest land is located in the subalpine region. Forty-six percent of productive forest land that is formally protected is located in the subalpine region.

Voluntary set-asides account for 1.3 million hectares of Sweden’s productive forest land. These are relatively evenly distributed across Sweden, with around 350 000 and 270 000 hectares per part of the country.

According to calculations, consideration patches account for just over 456 000 hectares. The areas are fairly evenly distributed across Sweden, with a minor predominance in Southern Norrland, in which 32 percent of the areas are located.

Unproductive forest land amounts to almost 4.5 million hectares. More than half of it is located in Northern Norrland. Unproductive forest land in the subalpine region amounts to almost 1.9 million hectares. Unproductive forest land that does not overlap with formal protection comprises 3.2 million hectares, of which 24 percent is located in the subalpine region.

The calculation of areas without overlaps between the various forms is based on the formal protection, which is presented in its entirety. The statistics only show voluntary set-asides and consideration patches on productive forest land, thus cannot overlap with unproductive forest land. The statistics therefore only present overlaps between formal protection and unproductive forest land, where overlapping areas have been removed from the unproductive forest land.

Overlaps between the four types of forest land

Overlaps between the four types of forest land

Changes in 2019

New areas within formally protected forest land are mainly located in Northern Norrland, which is comprised of the counties of Norrbotten and Västerbotten. The increase in voluntary set-asides occurred mainly in Svealand. The estimates indicate that new areas of consideration patches are evenly distributed across all four parts of Sweden, although with a slight predominance in Svealand.

Added areas, without overlaps between forms, 2019
 Areas in hectares, with overlapping areasShare of Sweden’s total forest land
FormsProductive forest landTotal forest landProductive forest landTotal forest land
Formally protected forest land 17 400 21 800 0.1 % 0.1 %
Voluntary set-asides 44 700 44 700 0.2 % 0.2 %
Consideration patches 22 500 22 500 0.1 % 0.1 %
Unproductive forest land . ‑17 700 . -0.1 %

Comments: Areas are rounded to even 100s. Consequently, sub-quantities cannot be summed to a total. The overlaps are estimated and excluded starting with formally protected forest land. Overlaps in unproductive forest land are excluded. The change in unproductive forest land outside formal protection is based on random sample data from the SLU Swedish National Forest Inventory and lies within the margin of uncertainty. Consideration patches: Refers to the latest known value, which is the three-year average value in the felling season 2014/15. The total area of forest land is retrieved from the Swedish National Forest Inventory statistics. The proportion of formal protection is calculated based on total areas according to national land data in 2019.

Definitions and explanations

Formally protected forest land refers to forest land that is protected through various instruments, governed by laws and other regulations on forestry. Formally protected forest land includes areas within national parks, nature reserves, habitat protection areas, nature conservation agreements and Natura 2000 with designated forest habitats. Nature reserves and habitat protection areas that have been decided on but do not yet apply are also included. Furthermore, land compensations for future nature reserves are included, as well as areas under an agreement between Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish Fortifications Agency.

Voluntary set-asides refers to smaller areas of productive forest land for which the land owner has voluntarily made a decision not to carry out measures that can damage natural values, the cultural environment or social values. These areas must be documented in a management plan or similar.

Consideration patches refers to smaller areas of productive forest land that have been designated for rejuvenation harvesting, voluntarily by the land owner or pursuant to the Forestry Act.

Unproductive forest land refers to forest land that, on average, cannot produce more than one cubic metre of wood per hectare and year. Examples of unproductive forest land are trees on wet lands and mountainous impediments, as well as large parts of the mountain birch forest.

The four types differ with regard to

  • legal aspects, content and duration;
  • methods for collecting input data;
  • the possibility of reducing overlapping areas between the different types; and
  • the quality and resolution in data registers.

These statistics are not valued in relation to national or international goals and are therefore not summed here.

Publication

A more detailed report of this survey is published in the Statistical Report:

Formally protected forest land, voluntary set-asides, consideration patches and unproductive forest land (pdf) 

Next publishing will be

The next statistical news in this series will be published in 2021.

Statistical Database

More information is available in the Statistical Database

Feel free to use the facts from this statistical news but remember to state Source: Statistics Sweden.

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