Protection implies that valuable environments and sensitive species are protected where they are living today. The importance of a specific area, as a habitat for rare and/or threatened species, is the primary reason for protection. Cultural heritage values as well as recreation and outdoor values are included in the aim of protecting areas.
Swedish forestry and environmental policy is based on cooperation between the State and forest owners in order to achieve environmental targets. The State provides the finances and is responsible for the protection in this sector as regulated by the Environmental Code. The forest owners, in accordance with their responsibility in this sector, is expected to pay careful consideration to nature and voluntarily set aside forest land in order to promote and protect different environmental values.
Forms and scope of the protection
The environmental values of the forest can be protected in several different ways.
National parks or nature reserves
A strong and long-term protection can be achieved by setting aside forest land as National Parks or nature reserves. Sweden has some 3,200 nature reserves and their size may vary from a few hectares to thousands of hectares.
Smaller habitats with plants and animals worthy of protection can be preserved through habitat protection.
Nature conservation agreements
High environmental values can also be protected through nature conservation agreements between forest-owners and the State.
The forest land that is voluntarily protected can be documented in different ways, e.g., in a Green Forest management plan.
Facts about protected areas in Sweden
- 4 200 000 hectares of land- and water areas, including a wide range of nature types in different kinds of environments, are protected.
- That equals about 10% of the total land area in Sweden.
- About 800 000 hectares of productive forest land are formally protected as national park, nature reserve, habitat protection areas and nature conservation agreements. That equals less than 4 % of Sweden’s productive forest land area.
- About 3.5 million hectares of low-productive land (forested bogs and rocky terrain) are protected in accordance with the Forestry Act against all measures except the felling of single trees.