The Swedish Forest Agency’s Woodland Key Habitat Inventory has started in north-western Sweden and is testing a new method for identifying and registering areas with high conservation values. SCA is participating as a landowner and is providing experienced personnel.

The inventory is using a new method developed by the Swedish Forest Agency in collaboration with representatives of the forest industry.

The Swedish Forest Agency's inventory of key habitats in north-western Sweden has received criticism and, in spring 2017, the agency suspended all inventorying in the area. The reason for the suspension was due to the assessments being considered too uncertain, since the method had been designed based on conditions in southern and central Sweden where the forest has long been cultivated and it is therefore easier to discern the habitats' boundaries. In the north, there is a large proportion of old forest that has been cultivated but not clear cut. This means the habitat boundaries are more fluid. The difficulties in delimiting certain habitats have resulted in extensive areas ending up in a grey zone and in inventory results being of inadequate predictability and quality.

Evaluating the method

In the autumn, the Swedish Forest Agency will inventory around 70 areas measuring 5x5 km and, when these inventories have been completed, will evaluate the method to see whether it needs adjustment.
"This autumn's inventory is a test inventory, since the method is being used for the first time and will then be evaluated. This is good," says Andreas Renöfält, one of SCA's forest ecologists involved in the Woodland Key Habitat Inventory, and continues:
"These 70 randomly selected areas encompass a significant amount of land belonging to SCA that we have already inventoried. We are confident that our own findings are of high quality and are accurate, and can therefore be used as an answer sheet for the test inventory."

Experienced inventory personnel from SCA

In addition to being one of the landowners, SCA is also providing personnel.

"The Swedish Forest Agency has requested our assistance, and we are therefore providing four highly experienced professionals who will inventory some of the randomly selected areas on our land. Not all of the other inventory personnel have the corresponding experience and skill. Their assessments will probably carry considerable weight, which feels positive," says Andreas.
When the method is ready and we have agreed that it works, the Swedish Forest Agency will decide the manner in which the government's requirement will be met in terms of taking local and regional conditions into consideration.
"This is something we are monitoring with keen interest, given that the key habitats are neither equally spread across the country or between forest owners," says Andreas.

The Swedish Forest Agency will continue its Woodland Key Habitat Inventory until 2027.

FACTS - key habitats and inventory area
The Swedish Forest Agency defines a key habitat as a forest that, based on a compiled assessment of the habitat's structure, species content, history and physical environment, has extremely substantial significance for the forest's flora and fauna. Red-listed species exist or can be expected to exist there.

The key habitats inventory in north-western Sweden will encompass the following mountain municipalities:
Kiruna, Gällivare, Jokkmokk, Arjeplog, Sorsele, Storuman, Vilhelmina, Dorotea, Strömsund,
Krokom, Åre, Berg, Härjedalen, Älvdalen, Malung-Sälen and parts of Torsby Municipality.