There are many values that must coexist in the forest. To be able to combine sustainable forestry with effective nature conservation and protect biodiversity in the best way, we look at our forest holdings from a landscape perspective and over the long term. We call it landscape ecological planning.
In order to be able to plan our forestry measures and direct the right efforts to the right area, our entire forest holding has been subject to ecological landscape planning for many years.
This planning identifies forest areas with the highest conservation values. These forests are known as voluntary set-asides and left untouched or managed solely to promote conservation values.
In forests with other conservation values, forestry is combined with measures to preserve or develop conservation values. These are called forests with combined targets. With this kind of forestry we can preserve the feeling of a forest.
In forests with some, but more limited, conservation values, we apply adapted retention. This could mean that harvesting is adapted to the needs of a specific species by leaving och promoting all broad-leaved trees or that larger share of the forest is saved as conservation patches with a tree continuity in between.
The remaining parts of our forests are managed with basic environmental consideration, so called basic retention, where conservation patches, buffer zones and trees are left after all harvesting and other forestry measures.
We adapt our forestry and choose a method based on the conditions that exist in each forest area.
Priority conservation landscapes
In our work to further strengthen the biological diversity in our forests, where the work with our Species Commitment is an important part, we have chosen approximately 450 conservation landscapes that are between 50-11,000 hectares in size, and which together cover 15 percent of SCA's land holdings . In these landscapes there are higher concentrations of nature values than in the forest landscape on average.
In the landscapes, there are often populations of sensitive species, and therefore we prioritize greater nature consideration efforts here. Just over 30 percent of the forest within the conservation landscapes is voluntarily set aside solely for nature consideration, and another 10 percent is farmed with alternative methods where we combine goals for both nature conservation and timber production.
In the landscapes, we want to maintain or eventually create connections between forest areas that are important for sensitive or threatened species. We also want to improve the quality of forest areas through targeted nature conservation measures for our Species Commitment, and have a high knowledge of nature values. This way of working is supported by nature conservation research, which shows that it is more resource efficient to invest in nature conservation in landscapes with good conditions for preserving and improving the conditions for biodiversity in the future.
The conservation landscapes are selected based on knowledge of SCA's and other forest owners' high nature values, as well as the authorities' work for green infrastructure (so-called value tracts).
SCA also owns land within designated forest areas with high conservation values. This applies for exemle, to our forest near the mountains, or forest areas that have been designated by authorities as national "national interests for nature conservation". These are areas that have a distinctive national character with high natural values at landscape level. Within the framework of the FSC standard, these are called HCV, High Conservation Values.
Most of these forests are voluntarily set aside, and here we work specifically to avoid and reduce fragmentation in the forest landscape, that is, that forests are divided into smaller and smaller areas, which affects both flora and fauna.
SCA’s long-term strategy is that 7 percent of our productive forest land should consist of voluntary set-asides, that 3 percent should be managed with continuity forestry and that another 3 percent should be managed with adapted retention. We use the remaining 87 percent of our forests with so-called basic retention, which means that we take land, water, and natural and cultural values into account in connection with all our forestry measures.
The goal of our voluntary set-asides is that these forests will be allowed to develop and become old. Currently, 6.6 percent of our forests are older than 140 years, and these are distributed today so that more than 2 percent of our forest within each natural geographical region consists of older forest.
Natural geographical regions
Sweden is divided into 29 natural geographical regions, based on both biological and geological factors in the landscape as well at the topograhy. When we account for the effects of SCA’s forestry from a landscape perspective, we assume from de 15 natural geographical regions where SCA has its forest holdings.
Wind energy, Lodgepole Pine and Conservation parks
Some of our forest land we use for wind energy. The goal is to have energy production corresponding to 11 TWh until 2025. Today we have over 820 wind turbines in operation or under construction on our land - corresponding to 9.5 TWh.
On other parts our our forest land we grow Lodgepole pine (Pinus Contorta), which have some advantages compared with Swedish pine. This contributes to increase our production of renewable forest raw material and the forest sequestering of carbon dioxide, which further improves the climate benefits from our forest. SCA's forest strategy is based on a plan to grow 15 percent lodgepole pine on our productive forest land.
Both wind energy and the growing of lodgepole pine entails an impact that does not arise on other parts of our holding. To compensate for this extra impact, we work with our five conservation parks, among other things. A conservation park is a large, cohesive forest landscape with a great diversity of natural and cultural values and good opportunities for outdoor life and experiences. In the parks, we have particularly high nature conservation ambitions, try alternative management methods and conduct and support experiments and research on, among other things, nature conservation, cultural conservation and recreation.
Welcome to visit our five conservation parks in northern Sweden. These areas is distinguished by a higher degree of diversity than the forest landscape in general. With the park, we are continuing our efforts to develop forestry and ensure even greater resilience and sustainability from all perspectives.
Environmental consideration is a natural part in all we do in our forests. It encompasses; nature conservation consideration, cultural heritage consideration, consideration to recreation and outdoor life together with consideration to reindeer operations.
To address the looming changes due to climate change, society needs to reduce its dependence on energy produced with fossil fuels and increase the share of fossil-free renewable energy. Wind power is one of the keys to coping with the transition.