Picture over forest landscape taken from above.

Forest land owned by men is increasing among individual landowners

Nyhet | Statistik - 24 May 2022

The proportion of forest land area among individual forest owners who are men is increasing. This is shown by the Swedish Forest Agency's latest ownership statistics. It is mainly male forest owners who contribute to the trend that large forest owners are increasingly owning forest land. The proportion with male ownership increases at the expense of reduced joint forest ownership.

Forest holding size

For individual owners, the area in holdings between five and up to 100 hectares has decreased during the period between 1999 and 2021, while the area in holdings greater than 100 hectares has increased. In the class larger than 1000 hectares, the area declared productive forest land has more than doubled between 1999 and 2021. In 1999, the declared average holding size among natural persons (who make up 99 percent of the individual owners) was 30 hectares, while the average in 2021 was 34 hectares. The median, which is the most commonly occurring holding size, has decreased from 13 hectares in 1999 to 12 hectares in 2021. In 2021, the median holding size for men was 14 hectares and 9 hectares for women. For the same year, the average holding size for men was approximately 40 hectares compared to the women's average holding size which was approximately 25 hectares. The increase in large forest owners can therefore mainly be attributed to men due to a sharper increase in the average holding with male ownership.

Female, male and joint forest ownership

Where information on gender is available three different classes are presented on co-ownership (natural persons) between men and women; Female, Male and Both sexes. Joint ownership is assigned to the class Both sexes and amounted to 3.1 million hectares in 2021. For female ownership (one or more jointly), the total area for 2021 was 1.6 million. The corresponding area for Male ownership was 6.3 million hectares for 2021. The trend over time shows that co-ownership between both sexes shows a slight decrease while Male ownership increases. Female ownership also shows an increasing trend, although not as clear as for Male ownership. 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 2021.


Number of management units

A correction has been made to the number of management units compared with previous years' publication. An error in the calculation routine has been detected and corrected. The number of management units owned by single owners 2021 was just over 232 000 and has decreased during the period from 1999 to 2021, by over 13 000 units. 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.


The survey is part of the Official Statistics of Sweden.


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