Continued increase in felling costs 2020
The cost of felling increased by 2 percent in 2020, according to new statistics from the Swedish Forest Agency and Skogforsk. This is the third year with increasing prices and costs are now the highest since 2005, which was a year characterized by large areas of storm damaged forests in southern Sweden.
The cost for regeneration felling increased in both northern and southern Sweden during 2020. The largest increase was in southern Sweden by 2.4 percent, while the cost rose by 1.9 percent in northern Sweden. On average, it costs SEK 107 per cubic meter for felling and transportation of the logs to the roadside. This is the highest level since 2005 when the same cost was SEK 110. In 2005 the storm Gudrun damaged roughly 75 million cubic meters of wood, about equal to the annual felling in Sweden. That caused an increase in the cost of regeneration felling by 57 percent between 2004 and 2005.
The cost of thinning increased by 4.0 percent in southern Sweden and by 1.8 percent in northern Sweden. On average, the cost of thinning was SEK 210 per cubic meter. This is the highest cost of thinning during the years these statistics have been produced, since 2000.
This survey also includes estimations on fellings that were more difficult because the forest was damaged by fires, storms, insects or fungus. The costs of these fellings due to natural disasters were 35 percent higher than ordinary regeneration felling in 2020. During the previously mentioned storm year of 2005, the cost of felling due to natural disasters was 83 percent higher than ordinary felling.
Over a longer period, the cost of regeneration felling and thinning have both increased by 16 percent from 2010 to 2020. This can be compared with the increase in the consumer price index by 8 percent or the producer price index for the production industry which has increased by 13 percent.
Costs for silvicultural measures and pre-commercial thinning
The cost for silvicultural measures has also risen to new all-time highs during 2020. Since 2020 the cost of clear-cut cleaning has increased by 8 percent to SEK 1 526 per hectare, scarification by 1 percent to SEK 2 454 per hectare, planting by 6 percent to SEK 5 925 per hectare and sowing by 2 percent to SEK 4 976 per hectare. Even the cost for precommercial thinning increased by 3 percent to a new all-time high of SEK 2 746 per hectare.
Revisions and changes to the statistics
The historical data for these statistics have been further examined and some minor adjustments of reported values have been made. The revisions are relatively small and mainly effect the years 2017 to 2019. They were caused by faulty coverage due to the changes in land ownership of one of the largest forestry companies in Sweden.
In conjunction with the revision of the time series, completely new estimations on the felling costs for purchases from other forest owners are presented. Previously only costs from self-owned forests and fellings due to natural disasters were published.
These statistics are volume weighted or area-weighted and relate to current prices. The survey population is large scale forestry with an ownership of more than 16 000 ha forest land or an annual felling of more than 50 000 m³.
The survey is a collaboration between the Swedish Forest Agency and Skogforsk (The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden) and is included in Sweden’s official statistics.
The estimations are also available in the web-based statistical database and annual report.