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Four out of ten cultural heritage sites are damaged by regeneration felling activities

Nyhet | Statistik - 08 December 2020

According to the Swedish Forest Agency's inventory, the proportion of cultural heritage sites affected by regeneration felling is the highest since 2015. One in five cultural heritage sites have more than minor damage.

The proportion of cultural heritage sites affected (minor damage, damage or serious damage) in regeneration felling is 39 percent for the whole country. The proportion of damage and serious damage is 22 percent, which is the highest level since the inventory began in 2012. There are however large regional variations.

This years’ data show that northern Norrland had the lowest level of damaged or seriously damage cultural heritage sites since the inventory started with 10 percent. Svealand remains unchanged at 10 percent while the levels of damage and serious damage in southern Norrland and Götaland have increased and are at 26 percent.

Culture heritage stumps works well as signal and protection

Where culture stumps are used, we see a lower proportion of cultural remains damaged by regeneration activities. A culture stump is a 1.3-meter-high stump that is used as a marking at the cultural heritage site. Whether it is the culture stump as a signal and protection that prevents damage from forest machines or whether it is the result of better planning that causes cultural heritage sites to have low damage levels where culture stumps are used is difficult to determine.

In all parts of the country, the level of damage is lowest where culture stumps are placed correctly, i.e.  outside and around the cultural heritage site. In three out of four regions there was no serious damage in 2020 where culture stumps were placed correctly. The proportion of cultural remains with correctly placed cultural stumps has a large regional variation, from 35 percent in northern Norrland to 3 percent in Götaland.

Where culture stumps have been used in any form, 92% of cultural remains have neither damage nor serious damage.

Soil scarification the most common cause of damage or serious damage

Soil scarification continues to be the most common cause of damage or serious damage in three out of four regions. The exception is southern Norrland were damage caused by wind-felled trees is more common,  soil scarification is the second most common cause in southern Norrland.

Planting on cultural heritage sites common in Götaland

Planting has been undertaken on almost one in five cultural heritage sites in Götaland. In other parts of the country, less than one in ten cultural heritage sites are affected by planting. Planting does not mean that the sites are damaged directly but increases the risk of damage in the future. Planting also reduces the visibility of the remains.


Cultural heritage sites: ancient remains and other cultural heritage sites. In the forest there may be ancient remains such as stone age settlements and tombs, but also other younger cultural heritage sites reflecting human history such as charcoal production sites and building remains.

Degree of damage:
Minor (e.g. light track damage, branches left)
Damage (Obvious damage that can be restored, e.g. deep track damage, light soil scarification)
Serious damage (Irreversible damage that cannot be restored)

Cultural heritage stump: a 1,3-meter-high stump used for marking of the cultural heritage site

Northern Norrland – Norrbotten and Västerbotten counties.
Southern Norrland – all other counties in Norrland

The survey is included in the Official Statistics of Sweden.


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