Manual pre-thinning in young forest.

Continued high level of silvicultural activities in 2021

Nyhet | Statistik - 25 August 2022

Silvicultural activities were at a continued high level 2021, according to the Swedish Forest Agency’s survey results. The area on which the owners have the ambition to conduct long-term non-clearcut forestry is collected for the second time and is now also shown by ownership class.

Silvicultural activities were carried out on 874 000 hectares during 2021. This includes scarification, precommercial thinning, artificial regeneration and fertilization. Precommercial thinning was the most common activity with 445 000 hectares. Precommercial thinning has increased during the 21st century and is now almost twice as high as it was at the end of the 1990s.

Artificial regeneration, which includes planting and sowing, was a little over 212 000 hectares in 2021. Of this, planting accounted for around 200 000 hectares. The activity has increased in recent years compared with the 1990s when artificial regeneration averaged around 144 000 hectares annually. That can in turn be compared with the first estimations from the period of 1955-1959 which had an average of 95 000 hectares of artificial regeneration per year.

Scarification was done on almost 174 000 hectares and 43 000 hectares of forest land was fertilized during 2021.

Silvicultural activities by region

In all four regions precommercial thinning was the most common silvicultural activity during 2021. In Götaland 157 000 hectares were precommercially thinned. In Svealand and Södra Norrland, 108 000 hectares and 95 000 hectares were precommercially thinned respectively. The least amount of precommercial thinning was in Norra Norrland with 86 000 hectares.

The highest area of scarification was in Södra Norrland, 60 000 hectares, while the lowest was in Götaland with 33 000 hectares. Planting areas was largest in Södra Norrland, 61 000 hectares, while it was 45 000 hectares in Norra Norrland.

Less common with forest management plan among individual owners

In total 80 percent of the forest land had a current forest management plan during 2021. A current forest management plan refers to a plan that is less than 10 years old and this is less common among individual owners compared with other owners. Other owners refer to the public owners and private-sector companies/corporations and other private ownership. During 2021, 63 percent of the individual owners had a current forest management plan. For other owners it was 97 percent.

There is a marginal decrease of the estimated area with forest management plan between 2020 and 2021 but taking into account the statistical margin of error there is no significant decrease between the years

New statistics about non-clearcut forestry

For the second time the Swedish Forest Agency has measured the non-clearcut forestry among all forest owners. Non-clearcut forestry is defined in the survey as forestry managed so that there is a continues tree cover without any larger patches of clearcuts.

The result shows that the owners during 2021 had the ambition to conduct long-term non-clearcut forestry on about 728 500 hectares. The estimate has a margin of error that gives a confidence interval (95% confidence interval, described below) from 603 000 hectares to 854 000 hectares. The largest area, about 487 500 hectares non-clearcut forestry was reported from individual owners and about 241 000 hectares from other owners. The area does not include forests that are improductive, voluntary set-asides or protected.

Explanations about the statistics

The statistics on silvicultural activities from the Swedish Forest Agency are based on two surveys: one random sample survey to small-scale forestry (owners of less than 5 000 hectares of forest land) and a total population survey of large-scale forestry (owning more than 5 000 hectares). The survey to the large-scale forestry has a few more questions which is why for example the Pinus contorta regeneration is only known for this group.

All estimates presented here have a statistical margin of error. The interval formed by the estimate and the margin of error is a 95% confidence interval. This means that if one were to repeat the survey, it would in 19 cases out of 20 cover the true (but unknown) value. The size of the interval depends on the number of observations in the sample and how widespread the variable is. The margins of error are usually not written in text but are available in the Swedish Forest Agency's statistics database together with the estimates. It has been included in the text above about clear-cutting forestry as this is the second time such an estimate has been calculated and it means increased uncertainty.

The survey is part of the Official Statistics of Sweden.

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