Gård i skogskanten.

Large gender differences in forest ownership

Nyhet | Statistik - 08 September 2020

Women who own forests are not only fewer in number than men, but they also own significantly smaller management units. This, according to new structural statistics from the Swedish Forest Agency.

New statistics show that an average Swedish forest owner is approaching 62 years of age. They declare, on average, a holding of 40.4 hectares of productive forestland if they are a man, and 25.4 hectares if they are a woman. The median, which is a better central measure in a skewed distribution, is 14 hectares for men and 9 hectares for women. The number of forest owners continues to decline in Sweden. In 2019, 316 691 private individuals owned forestland, which is 1 473 fewer than in 2018. Sixty percent of forest owners are men, 38 percent are women and 2 percent are unknown either due to foreign ownership or protected identities.

In total, private individual forest owners declared 11 million hectares of productive forestland in 2019. Nearly 6.2 million hectares of forestland were solely owned by men, 1.6 hectares solely owned by women only and 3.2 million hectares where joint owned by both men and women.

The largest management units are found in the North of Sweden and the smallest in the South.

New to this year’s statistics is the publication of municipal level data. Strömsund, in the northwest of Sweden, is the municipality with the most forestland, with over 646 000 hectares of productive forestland declared. With regards to private individual owners, Skellefteå, on the north east coast, tops the table with 285 000 hectares of productive forestland owned by private individuals. The municipality with largest median management unit is found even further North in Kiruna where the median size of management unit is 103 hectares. The municipality with the smallest median management unit size is however found in Southern Sweden in Höganäs with a median size of 2 hectares.

Furthermore, municipal statistics for private individual owners based on their place of residence have been compiled. An example of these statistics is the municipality of Härjedalen which has 192 000 hectares of productive forestland owned by private individuals of which about 86 000 hectares are owned by residents within the municipality, 10 000 hectares by people living outside the municipality but within the county, and 96 000 hectares by individuals who are resident outside of the county.

These statistics are compiled from the Swedish Tax Agency’s tax assessment register.

These statistics are part of the Official Statistics of Sweden.

Further results can be found in the Swedish Forest Agency's statistical database.