Red house on Swedish countryside.

Fewer and older forest owners

Nyhet | Statistik - 07 October 2021

New statistics from the Swedish Forest Agency show that Swedish forest owners have become both fewer and older between the years 1999 and 2020 . Statistics on forest ownership for the period 1999 to 2020 show that the distribution between ownership classes is stable.

The category of individual owners (single owners, estates and small privately owned companies) own roughly half (48 percent) of the area of declared productive forest land. The second largest group of owners are private-sector companies/corporations (24 percent) followed by public owners (21 percent). Other private owners own six percent, and other public owners own 1 percent of the declared productive forest land. The development during the period from year 1999 to 2020 is relatively stable amongst the ownership classes.

The area productive forest land per holding varies between different ownership classes. In 2020, public owners, private-sector companies/corporations and other private owners all had 90 percent or more of their possession larger than 1000 hectares. The equivalent share for other public owners were 79 percent and for individual owners was seven percent.

The size of holdings within the category individual owners is more evenly distributed. For individual owners, the area within holdings from five to 100 hectares decreased between 1999 and 2020, while it increased in holdings over 100 hectares.

On average in 1999, the area per holding for single owners (who make up the majority of the individual owners) was 30 hectares whilst the average for 2020 is 34 hectares. The median for 1999 was 13 hectares and it decreased to 12 hectares in year 2020.

Number of forest owners

The number of single owners of forest land in Sweden in 2020 was 313,084. Of these, 98 percent were registered as living in Sweden while 2 percent lived abroad. During the period from 1999 to 2020, the proportion of single owners living abroad increased from 1 to 2 percent.

In year 2020, 60 percent of forest owners in Sweden were male and 38 percent female. For 2 percent there is no information on gender. The changes in this distribution are small for the period 1999 to 2020.

For single owners, co-ownership between men and women can also be illustrated through a division into the three classes women, men and both sexes. If women and men own jointly (one or more), these are divided into the class both sexes, while land classified as owned by women, is land owned exclusively by women, with one owner or several co-owners. The corresponding division is made for men.

The share of area of declared productive forest land owned jointly by both sexes has decreased during the last twenty years from 32 percent in 1999 to 29 percent in 2020. At the same time, the proportion of land owned by men has increased from 54 percent in 1999 to 57 percent in year 2020. The proportion of the area where women own on their own or with other women is almost unchanged during that period of time.

During the period 1999 to 2020, the average age of forest owners (single owners) has increased from 55 to 61 years. Regionally, there are some differences between counties regarding average age, with average age varying from 59 to 62 years in 2020.

Number of management units

The number of management units owned by single owners has decreased during the period from 1999 to 2020 from just over 236 000 to roughly 222 000 and the share of management units owned by non-residents (owners not living in the vicinity of the forest holding) increased from 22 to 26 percent whilst the share of properties partly-owned by non-resident decreased from 9 to 6 percent. The share of locally owned management units remained the same (at 68 percent) in a comparison between 1999 and year 2020.

Change of source

There has been a change of source for the statistics from the Swedish Tax Agency to Statistics Sweden. However, the basis for the statistics still originates from the property assessment and therefore the data on area of declared productive forest land still refers to area data specified in the property assessment by the forest owners themselves. Statistics Sweden do some processing on the material rendered by the property taxation and the complete time series from 1999 to 2020 is retrieved from Statistics Sweden. In the previous statistics, there were to some extent the same years as are now presented and these have therefore been replaced in whole by the new statistics.


The statistics is part of Official statistics of Sweden.


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