Landscape with soil scarification and planted forest.

Decline in area of approved regeneration

Nyhet | Statistik - 16 November 2021

Statistics from the Swedish Forest Agency show that 86% of the harvested forest area has been regenerated to the levels stipulated by the Forestry Act. This is a five per cent decrease compared with results from 2020, and the lowest approval figure in seven years.

As the Forestry Act stipulates that forest owners regenerate forests, the Swedish Forest Agency conduct yearly surveys 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, but this year’s survey shows a five per cent decrease.

 - What this decrease depends on is difficult to say at present, according to Magnus Martinsson who leads the survey at the Forest Agency. It’s too early to see if this is a break in the positive trend that has previously been seen. 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.

The largest per cent of approved regenerations were seen in Götaland and Norra Norrland, with 88 and 87 per cent respectively, followed by Södra Norrland with 86% and Svealand with 84% of the harvested area showing approved regeneration levels.

The ownership class Other owners has for the past 20 years, shown better results than private owners. The difference between the classes has however been decreasing steadily and the results now show the classes are on par with one another.

Regarding regeneration methods, planting seedlings has consistently been the most reliable method for regeneration. The statistics for the past four years show that 88 per cent of the planted area is approved. Harvested areas that are sown now show highest approval ratings for regeneration at 91 per cent, but they account for only three per cent of the total harvested area. Natural regeneration results in 73% of the area reaching approved regeneration in the most recent results. 59% of the areas where no regeneration measures have been taken attain approved regeneration.

Continued decline in area regenerated naturally

Planting is the dominating method for regeneration. In the beginning of the 21st century approximately 60 per cent of the harvested area was planted, this figure is now at 86 per cent. The area regenerated naturally is declining and is now at 9 per cent of the harvested area, slightly higher in Svealand and slightly lower in Norrland.

More common with scarification before planting

Soil scarification is performed on 92 per cent of the harvested area that is planted, according to the results from the past three years. In comparison, where natural regeneration is used, scarification is now done on 64 per cent of the area. In total, 89 per cent of harvested areas are scarified. In Norra and Södra Norrland, levels of soil scarification are high, at 97 and 96 per cent respectively. In Svealand this figure is 90 per cent and in Götaland, 72 per cent.  

Scots pine more common than Norway spruce

The number of main plants per hectare has been relatively stable the past years. The latest results show however a decline of around three per cent to 2 371 main plants per hectare. The most common species are Scots pine and Norway spruce. Scots pine now account for approximately 45 per cent of main plants, followed by Norway spruce with 36 per cent.

The statistics is part of the Official Statistics of Sweden.

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