Environments that are important for plants and animals can often only be found as relatively isolated islands in a more ordinary landscape. The Swedish legislation makes it possible to set aside this kind of areas as habitat protection areas.
The Swedish Forest Agency is responsible for this kind of protection, when the habitats are situated on forest land.
The areas that can be classed as habitat protection areas are, according to the legislation, “small land or water areas that are important environments for threatened plants or animals, or especially important to protect for other reasons”. The aim with creating habitat protection areas is, according to the legislation, to protect the biological values.
The most common size for the protected areas are 2-10 hectares, men but they can be up to 20 hectares in size.
The law restricts interference with the environment by carrying out any operations or activities that can damage the nature and the environment. Activities that can damage the conservation values in these areas include pre-commercial thinning, thinning and final felling, but also digging and construction of roads.
What does a habitat protection area involve?
- The area is protected perpetually and is marked out in the terrain.
- The ownership and the hunting rights are not affected by the decision.
- Activities that can damage the nature values are not allowed.
- The land owner gets full compensation plus 25% extra for the limitation in the management of the forest. The state compensates for the reduced value of the estate. The compensation is paid once.
After they have been set aside the habitat protection areas are managed just like nature reserves. This includes that the areas are controlled through field visits and that pre-commercial thinning and final cutting of selected trees sometimes are carried out to keep the high nature values.
Facts about habitat protection areas
- Average size: 3 hectares
- Total number of areas 2009: 6 250
- Total area 2009: 19 400 hectares of productive forest area
- Economic means 2009: 1 100 million sek