Harvesting and cultivation methods

SCA harvests about 1% of its forest area each year. To us, it is important to use the forest sustainably and to have a sustainable harvesting level.

Where does our wood raw material come from?

  • Our wood raw material comes to 50% from our own forest. We buy the remaining quantities from private forest owners, other forestry companies and we also import a small amount, mainly from the Baltics. Read more here.

  • Our need for raw materials is increasing, partly due to our expansion of our pulp mill Östrand. All wood raw materials used by SCA come from responsibly managed forests.

How much wood raw material do we consume?

  • SCA currently uses approximately 10 million m3 fub of wood raw material that is converted into products. The need of wood material will increase to approximately 12.5 million m3 fub when our pulp production in Östrand reaches full capacity.
    Read more here.

  • We use the entire tree. Approximately 70 percent of the raw material from the tree is converted into wood products, paper and pulp. About 30 percent is converted into energy and products such as pellets and tall oil.
    Read more here.

What are our demands on purchased wood raw material?

  • SCA is working to maximize the wood raw material coming from FSC® or PEFC™ certified forests. All purchased raw materials must at least meet the FSC standard for Controlled Wood. 

  • SCA actively refrains from trading with illegally harvested wood. We also refrains from wood harvested in violation of traditional and human rights and wood harvested in forests in which there are high conservation values (HCV:s). We have guidelines for the environmental work in the forests.
    Read more here.

Harvesting plan

  • The harvesting plan is a long-term process, in which the potential harvesting volume is determined based on the sustainable harvesting level and the age of the forest.
  • A rough harvesting plan is prepared with a ten-year perspective to enable the planning for the construction of forest roads.
  • The harvesting plan is refined as the date for harvesting approaches. This phase comprises approximately three years and includes conservation value inventories in the forest and in consultation with Sami communities.
  • All harvesting objects of more than 0.5 hectares are reported to the Swedish Forest Agency. The harvesting reports are available on the Agency’s website. 
  • The exact timing for the harvesting of a specific object may be affected by weather conditions, such as the length of the winter, the amount of rain, and the risk of fires and storms.

We replant after harvesting – each tree is replaced by at least two new ones

  • We delivered 103.5 million seedlings in 2020, both to our own forests and to private forest owners to replace trees that have been harvested. A total of 380 million trees are planted in Sweden each year.

  • SCA has the largest tree nursery in the world with a capacity to produce more than 100 million seedlings each year. Our plant production is enough to cover more than 50,000 hectares or a surface area equal to 100,000 soccer fields.
    Read more here.

How much of SCA’s harvesting is conducted using clearcut forestry today?

Approximately 96% of final harvesting is in the form of clear-cut forestry with good nature conservation methods. In the area that is to be harvested, approximately 13-14% of the area is set aside on the grounds of various types of consideration – groups of trees, buffer zones, etc. 8% of SCA’s productive forest land is set aside from forestry in order to preserve and create a variation of habitats for sensitive animal and plant species. 5% of SCA’s productive forest land is used with the aim of increasing the variation in habitats, for example, in the form of prescribed fires. The average harvesting area was reduced by more than two hectares between 2010 and 2021 and is now slightly less than 8 hectares.

How does SCA regard continuous cover forestry as opposed to continuous cover methods?

Continuous coverage forms of forestry and continuity forestry can be an excellent way of meeting the need for other values than effective wood supply, such as biological diversity, consideration for reindeer herding or consideration for recreational values. However, they are not appropriate in all types of forest and always entail higher costs and reduced growth.

What proportion of clearcut areas with a cohesive area larger than 20 hectares does SCA have?

An average clearcut area is just under eight hectares. 92% of SCA’s clearcut areas are less than 20 hectares. There are various reasons why a clearcut area is sometimes larger than 20 hectares, such as when a wind or insect-damaged stand is to be discontinued. However, it may also be that the natural forest land holding in a landscape is larger than 20 hectares and should therefore be managed in its entirety. Clearcut areas are usually significantly smaller and have forest features such as groups of trees or buffer zones around streams and creeks. Living and dead trees are left throughout the entire area for reasons of nature conservation.

Do SCA’s harvesting plans for the coming years include continuous cover methods, such as single-tree selection or selective cutting? If so, how large a proportion and how is SCA planning for the proportion to change over time?

The approximately 4% of our productive forest land that is cultivated using alternative methods is cultivated to a high degree using continuous coverage methods such as single-tree selection or selective cutting. We work with a program to enhance the precision of our work to preserve and create new habitats for sensitive animal and plant species. We will increasingly use active measures, such as alternative forestry methods, for this purpose.

Where can you find our forests?

  • We have a map tool where you can see our entire land holding in Sweden. This is where our conservation parks, our voluntarily set-aside forests and areas managed using alternative methods are highlighted. Find your own treasure in the forest!
    Read more here.

How do we consider the Sami communities and reindeer husbandry?

  • The Sami communities hold the right to reindeer grazing on SCA's land. It is important with a good cooperation between the Sami communities and us to facilitate cooperation and an understanding of each other's needs.

  • During many year’s we have had consultations with the Sami-villages. The consultations covers items such as the time for harvesting, site preparation, fertilization and choice of tree species when replanting forest. In 2018, 69 consultation meetings took place with 30 Sami communities and approximately 6,100 forest compartments were discussed.
    Read more here.

  • The consultation process is to be further developed and will have a longer time horizon.

How do we develop our harvesting plans?

Long-term harvesting plan

  • It is important for us to manage the forest in a sustainable and long-term way, while respecting different values and stakeholders.
  • We define a long-term sustainable harvesting level for our forests. This ensures that we do not harvest more in our forests than what is regenerated. The sustainable harvesting level is based on data from forest inventories and has a 100-year perspective. During the spring and summer of 2019 our tenth forest inventory is carried out. 
  • Our responsibly managed forests have increased the standing volume by 50% since 1950 while the long term yield is more than doubled.