Forest landscape along a small river.

Unchanged area of voluntary set-asides

Nyhet | Statistik - 17 May 2022

1.3 million hectares of forest land were voluntary set-asides during 2021 and the certified area was 15 million hectares. Both voluntary set-asides and certified area were relatively unchanged since 2020, according to the Swedish Forest Agency’s statistics.

The area of voluntary set-asides in 2021 is 1.3 million hectares, which is almost unchanged compared with 2020. The changes that can be seen are too small to be verifiable as real changes and might be due to improvements in registry maintenance by the respondents, read more about revisions below.

The voluntary set-asides were evenly distributed across the four regions Northern Norrland, Southern Norrland, Svealand and Götaland, each with 300 000 to 350 000 hectares.

Individual landowners accounted for 530 000 hectares of voluntary set-asides during 2021. Other landowners, which include private companies, public landowners, religious communities et cetera had 780 000 hectares of voluntary set-asides.

Area under certification

The area of productive forest land under the PEFC or FSC certifications amounted to 15 million hectares in 2021, roughly at level with 2020. 68 per cent of all productive forest land outside formally protected areas in Sweden is now certified.

Individual landowners own about 4.3 million hectares of certified forest land while the largest part, 10.7 million hectares, is owned by other landowners.

Revised statistics for the years 2018 to 2020.

At the same time as new estimations of the certified area and voluntary set-asides of 2021 are published, revisions are also made for previously published estimations of 2018 to 2020.

The revisions are mostly caused by improved quality in the reporting of regional data and ownership classification by the respondents. Also, some large changes in ownership of forest land in recent years have been properly integrated into the respondents’ registries. New estimation methods have also been introduced regarding the voluntary set-asides within non-certified forest land.

Using 2020 as an example, these revisions have led to a lower estimation of certified forest land by 300 000 hectares and a lower area of voluntary set-asides by 45 000 hectares.


Voluntary set-aside – An area of productive forest land for which the landowner has voluntarily decided not to carry out 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).


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