People walking in a broad leaved forest. Foto: Jenny Leyman

Minor changes in voluntary set-asides and certified area during 2023

Nyhet | Statistik - 21 May 2024

1.3 million hectares of forest land were voluntary set-asides during 2023 and the certified area was 14.7 million hectares. Both voluntary set-asides and certified area decreased marginally since 2022, according to the Swedish Forest Agency’s statistics.

The area of voluntary set-asides in 2023 is 1.3 million hectares of productive forest land, which is a minor decrease of 22,000 hectares compared with 2022. The main reason for the reduction is an agreement between Sveaskog and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, whereby approximately 29,000 hectares of voluntary set-asides will become formally protected forest land and therefore no longer counts as voluntary set-aside. Otherwise, there are small changes in the voluntarily set aside area between 2022 and 2023.

The voluntary set-asides were evenly distributed across the four regions Northern Norrland, Southern Norrland, Svealand and Götaland, each with 300 000 to 400 000 hectares.

Individual landowners accounted for 565 000 hectares of voluntary set-asides during 2022. Other landowners, which include private companies, public landowners, religious communities et cetera had 773 000 hectares of voluntary set-asides.

66 percent certified

The area of productive forest land under the PEFC or FSC certifications amounted to 14.7 million hectares in 2023, a decrease of about 113,000 hectares compared with 2022. 66 per cent of all productive forest land outside formally protected areas in Sweden is certified.

Individual landowners own about 4.6 million hectares of certified forest land while the largest part, 10.1 million hectares, is owned by other landowners.

76 percent of the certified area is double-certified, with the remainder having only one of the certifications. Of these, 19 percent are certified with PEFC and 5 percent with FSC. 

Revised statistics for the years 2019 to 2021

In connection with the publication of the statistics for 2023, we have revised the statistics for the years 2020 to 2022. The revisions are caused by a previous overestimation of the voluntary set-asides that has now been corrected and the set-asides consequently lowered for these years. Overall, the revision concerns about 12 000 hectares, corresponding to 1% of the total area.

Revisions are common for the statistics on certified area and voluntary set-aside and annual changes and regional comparisons should be made with caution. Estimates are revised when better information is available.


Voluntary set-aside – An area of productive forest land for which the landowner has voluntarily decided not to conduct measures that could damage environmental values, cultural environments or social values. The area must be documented in a management plan or other document.

Other landowners - The state, state-owned limited companies, other public owners, privately owned limited companies.

Individual landowners – Single owner, estates and small companies (sole trader).

The survey is part of Official Statistics of Sweden.


Voluntary set-asides and certified area

productive forest land

Source: Swedish Forest Agency

Logotype Official Statistics of Sweden

Certified forest area

productive forest land

Source: Swedish Forest Agency

Logotype Official Statistics of Sweden

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