Our nature conservation strategy comprises a six-point program and integrates nature conservation measures with our practical forest management.
The measures that are required to integrate productive and profitable forestry management with effective nature conservation that preserves biological diversity are:
- Nature consideration in all forestry operations
- Environmentally compatible management methods
- Knowledge of conservation value in our forests.
- Ecological landscape planning.
- High level of competence.
- Collaboration with authorities.
Nature consideration in all forestry operations
SCA incorporates nature conservation measures into all of its forest operations, from harvesting, thinning and pre-commercial thinning to soil scarification.
This is most evident during harvesting operations, when various trees with high conservation value are left standing. Individual trees, groups of trees as well as various types of buffer zones and significant habitats such as swamp forests, ravines, bed rock and rock faces are left untouched.
About 4% of the timber volume, corresponding to 7% of the area, is left on the site.
About 5% of the timber volume is left in the felled areas.
Environmentally compatible management methods
Natural disturbances, particularly forest fires, have been shaping our forests since the Ice Ages. We want to imitate these processes in our forest management.
The forest ecosystem in northern Sweden has adapted to major disturbances, especially natural forest fires. The most common method of felling used by SCA is harvesting, a disturbance that – to some extent – is not unlike a forest fire.
To reintroduce the impact of fires into the ecosystem, SCA carries out controlled burning. Some forests, which have never or rarely burned for natural reasons, are excluded from forestry or are managed using specially adapted methods.
Knowledge of conservation value
SCA has conducted a comprehensive habitat inventory of its forests to identify the areas that are particularly significant for biological diversity.
The most significant forest areas are called key habitats and include old-growth coniferous forests, old hardwood forests and swamp forests.
The most important features in these areas are dead trees, thick fallen logs (dead tree trunks lying on the ground) and old trees. About 1% of SCA's woodland comprises key habitats, corresponding to approximately 20,000 hectares.
Ecological landscape planning
SCA's ecological landscape planning is based on results from the habitat inventory and information from the forest database.
Areas that are particularly significant and sensitive are selected for exclusion from forestry activities or for management using specially adapted methods.
About 5% of the forest land is completely excluded from forestry, while an additional 3% is managed with particularly far-reaching considerations for the area's flora and fauna. Less common types of forest are also restored, such as hardwood forests.
High-level of competence
Highly competent employees and continued development of the knowledge base and methods.
SCA provides regular training in nature conservation to all employees. Employees should not only know what to do, but also why different types of nature conservation are important for the environment.
Collaboration with authorities
When high conservation values require protection under the Swedish Environmental Code, SCA works together with county administrative boards and the Swedish National Environmental Protection Agency to establish nature reserves.
SCA meets the various county boards on an annual basis to discuss the areas to be sold as nature reserves. Over the years, SCA has sold large areas of forest, about 41,000 hectares, to the Swedish government.