Continued low rate of new habitat protection areas and nature conservation agreements
The level for the formation of the Swedish Forest Agency's new habitat protection areas and nature conservation agreements remained low in 2020 compared to previous years.
Over the past 20 years, an average of 352 new habitat protection areas and 250 new nature conservation agreements have been formed per year. The total productive forest land area was on average 1,357 and 1,623 hectares, respectively, for the two forms of protection. In 2020, 123 new habitat protection areas and 45 new nature conservation agreements were formed with a total productive forest land area of 727 and 332 hectares, respectively. The decrease in 2020 compared with previous years was mainly due to reduced funding for area protection.
Biotope habitat areas and nature conservation agreements are the forms of protected forest that the Swedish Forest Agency handles. From 1993 to 2020, just over 39,100 hectares with nature conservation agreements have been signed by the Swedish Forest Agency and almost 32,600 hectares of habitat protection areas have been formed. There were just over 5,450 nature conservation agreements in 2020 and almost 8,620 habitat protection. It happens that, for example, nature conservation agreements cease to apply, which means that the number and the total area formed, over all years, does not increase by the corresponding newly formed area. On average, the size of the nature conservation agreements was 7.4 ha in 2020 and the size of the habitat protection was on average 5.9 hectares. Over time, the tendency is for the areas to become fewer but slightly larger.
The agreements signed by the Swedish Forest Agency are linked to special biotopes. The most common biotope type for nature conservation agreements is natural forest-like coniferous forest, almost 15,300 hectares of productive forest land, which is 45 percent of all productive forest land in nature conservation agreements. The most common biotope type in habitat protection areas is older natural forest-like forests, which make up 68 per cent of the productive forest land area in the protection instrument.
In total, just over SEK 2.7 billion has been paid out for habitat protection areas and almost SEK 529,000 for nature conservation agreements since 1993. The average per hectare for habitat protection areas has increased by 15.2 per cent in 10 years and decreased by 2.4 per cent for the nature conservation agreement.
The habitat protection area is a statutory way to protect small areas of great importance for flora and fauna. The reimbursement to the landowner corresponds to 125 percent of the market value of the land.
The nature conservation agreement is a civil and time-limited agreement. The compensation varies depending on how long the contract is valid. The time can vary from one to fifty years. For a 50-year agreement, the landowner receives 60 percent of the area's net conversion value in compensation.
The statistics show the Swedish Forest Agency's decision on habitat protection area until December 31, including non-legally enforceable decisions unless otherwise stated. The statistics for nature conservation agreements include agreements signed by the Swedish Forest Agency, excluding areas included in “vitryggs-” and “ekoparks-“agreements. For both forms of protection, no overlap analyzes against other types of formal protection have been made.