Young stand with pine. Foto: Michael Ekstrand

Continued decline in area of approved regeneration

Nyhet | Statistik - 21 November 2023

Statistics from the Swedish Forest Agency show that 80 percent of the annual harvested forest area has been regenerated to the levels stipulated by the Forestry Act. This is a decrease with four percentage points compared with results from 2022, and the lowest approval figure in ten years.

As the Forestry Act stipulates that forest owners regenerate forests, the Swedish Forest Agency annually conducts a survey to monitor regeneration. The harvested area which meets the levels stipulated in the act, regarding number of approved plants and maximum gap area, has shown a positive development since the millennium and has remained at a stable level. However, over the last few years, this level has decreased and this year’s survey also shows a decrease with further 4 percentage points to 80 percent.

From the 1 April 2022 new regulations come into force pertaining to the minimum number of main plants/main stems that must be present for a regeneration to be seen as approved. Until we have sufficient data to be able to present a three-year average according to the new regulations, the results presented will be in accordance with the older regulations.

”Over the previous two years we could see a decrease, after a period of stable results, and this has continued this year”, says Magnus Martinsson who leads the survey at the Forest Agency. What this decrease depends on is difficult to say. “A possible explanation to the decline is the drought of 2018 which strongly affected seedlings and small plants. If the results are an effect of the drought, we will continue to see this effect in the coming years”, explains Magnus.

The highest percent of approved regenerations was seen in North Norrland with 87 percent, followed by Götaland and South Norrland with 84 percent and 80 percent respectively. The lowest percent of approved regenerations was found in Svealand with 76 percent.

No difference between owner categories

The ownership class Other owners has, for the past 20 years, shown better results than Individual owners. The difference between the classes has however been decreasing steadily. This year’s result show Other owners at 82 percent and Individual owners at 78 percent approved regenerations respectively.

Most approved regenerations when planting and sowing

Regarding the choice of regeneration method, planting seedlings has consistently been the most reliable method for regeneration. The statistics show that 83 percent of the planted area is approved, which is a decrease of three percentage points from last year. Harvested areas that are sown now show approval ratings at 78 percent, but they account for only three percent of the total harvested area. Natural regeneration results in 64 percent of the area reaching approved regeneration in the most recent results. 49 percent of the areas where no regeneration measures have been taken attained approved regeneration.

Continued decline in area regenerated naturally

Planting is the dominating method for regeneration. At the turn of the century approximately 60 percent of the harvested area was planted, this figure is now at 87 percent. The area regenerated naturally is declining and is now at 8 percent of the harvested area.

More common with scarification before planting

Soil scarification is performed on 92 percent of the harvested area that is planted, according to the results from the past four measurements. In comparison, where natural regeneration is used, scarification is undertaken on 53 percent of the area. In total, 89 percent of harvested areas are scarified. In North and South Norrland, levels of soil scarification are high, at 96 percent respectively. In Svealand this figure is 89 percent and in Götaland 73 percent.

Scots pine more common than Norway spruce

The number of main plants per hectare has been relatively stable over the last few years. The latest results show however a decline to 2 291 main plants per hectare. The most common species are Scots pine and Norway spruce. Scots pine account for approximately 48 percent of main plants, followed by Norway spruce with 34 percent.


Individual owners = Single owners, estates and small companies (sole traders).
Other owners = State, state owned companies/corporations, other public owners, private-sector companies/corporations and other private owners except individual owners.


Regeneration in compliance with Swedish Forestry Act

Percentage of regeneration area

Source: Swedish Forest Agency

Logotype Official Statistics of Sweden

Surveyed 5-7 years after regeneration cutting.

Compliance with Swedish Forestry Act by regeneration method

Percentage of regeneration area

Source: Swedish Forest Agency

Logotype Official Statistics of Sweden

Surveyed 5-7 years after cutting.

Regeneration method

Share of logged area.

Source: Swedish Forest Agency

Logotype Official Statistics of Sweden

Surveyed 5-7 years after cutting.

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