An older stone wall with an opening between two gate posts. In between, a path winds in between the trees. The forest is dense and feels dark. Foto: Mostphotos

Environmental consideration to cultural heritage

Here you will find statistics on the proportion of known cultural heritage sites that are affected by regeneration felling.

The statistics are based on a sample survey of felling notifications where the felling has been conducted and where there is a known and registered cultural heritage site. The inventory started in 2012 and about 500 objects are inventoried each year.

Cultural heritage sites affected by regeneration felling

At the latest inventory in 2023, 11 percent of the known cultural heritage sites in the country were damaged or severely damaged during regeneration felling.

If you add minor damage such as light track damage and branches left on the site, 27 percent were affected or damaged.

The damage levels are in line with the inventories of recent years.

The level of damage among individual owners has decreased in recent years, while the level among other owners has remained relatively stable. Last year and this year, individual owners have a slightly higher level of damage than other owners

Logotype Official Statistics of Sweden
Logotype Official Statistics of Sweden

Over the years, Northern Norrland has shown varying results, between low and high levels of damage. This year, damage or serious damage is 13 percent.

Southern Norrland stands out as the part of the country that had the largest proportion of damage and serious damage in this year's inventory. The proportion had increased by 6 percentage points to 20 percent compared to 2022.

The damage levels in Svealand, which have always been low and slowly falling, can be said to have levelled off and were 8 percent this year.

The proportion of cultural sites that have suffered damage or serious damage was 10 percent in Götaland, which is the lowest level of damage in that part of the country since the inventory began.

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Causes of damage to cultural heritage sites

Soil scarification continues to be the single largest cause of damage to the cultural remains. The inventory in 2023 shows that the proportion of cultural remains with damage or serious damage due to soil scarification is 6 percent.

Since 2015, we have noted whether the regeneration felling at the time of the inventory is soil scarified or not. Damage and serious damage were 8 percent calculated on the soil scarified regeneration fellings alone.

Logging residues cause damage in 2 percent of cases and have remained stable between 1 and 3 percent over the years. Logging residues are never classified as serious damage.

Damage caused by forest machines and trees felled by wind have a damage level of 3 and 2 percent, respectively. The low proportion of damage by forest machines may be due to the high proportion of scarification damage. Driving damage is difficult to perceive where soil preparation is carried out.

Damage from other forestry measures such as for example stump harvesting and ditching, was 1 percent at the latest inventory.

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Damage by type of cultural heritage site

The most common type of site in the inventory is the clearance cairn. Building remains, abandoned fields, charcoal productions sites, croft sites and fences are also relatively common. Trap pits, croft sites and ancient settlement sites are the types of remains with the highest proportion of damage and serious damage.

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Damage by antiquarian assessment

In 2023, 54 percent of the inventoried sites were ancient monuments and 46 percent were other historic monuments.

The damage to ancient monuments amounted to 30 percent in the inventory in 2020 but decreased to 11 percent in the inventory in 2023. The damage to other historical monuments has been decreasing for a long time but increased to 12 percent from 8 percent the year before.

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Cultural heritage stumps and other marking

The proportion of damaged or serious damaged cultural heritage sites is higher when there is no form of marking. In the most recent inventory, 15 percent of cultural heritage sites had damage or serious damage, but for the cultural heritage sites that had some form of marking, the proportion was 8 percent.

The least damage is found on cultural heritage sites that have been marked with correctly placed cultural heritage stumps. There, the proportion with damage and serious damage was 5 percent in the most recent inventory. A cultural heritage stump is 1.3 m high (±0.5 m) and is used as a marker at cultural heritage sites to signal the presence of a historical monument but also to prevent damage.

The highest proportion of cultural heritage sites with correctly placed cultural heritage stumps, i.e., when the cultural heritage stumps are outside and around the cultural heritage sites, was found in southern Norrland (38 percent), followed by northern Norrland (27 percent) and Svealand (21 percent). Götaland had the lowest proportion of correctly placed cultural heritage stumps with 3 percent.

It is rare to use other clear markings, such as too high cultural stumps, poles and signs.

A majority of the inventoried cultural heritage sites, 60 percent, have no permanent marking in the form of cultural heritage stumps or other clear indications. In Northern and Southern Norrland, 37 and 31 percent of the cultural heritage sites are unmarked, respectively. In Svealand, 44 percent of the cultural heritage sites are unmarked and in Götaland the proportion is 77 percent

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Surrounding consideration areas

A surrounding consideration area is an area around an ancient monument that is conditioned by the County Administrative Board. The condition may be that soil preparation and planting are not allowed in the area.

The proportion of damage in surrounding consideration areas is still very high, 52 percent of the areas had damage or serious damage at the 2023 inventory. Soil scarification accounted for 23 percent of the damage and the impact from roadways for 12 percent.

  • Last Updated: 12/5/2023