SCA’s hard work to reduce damage caused by forest operations to ancient remains and cultural relics has delivered results. Over the past four years, there has been a significant drop in the percentage of damage, from 40% of damage to relics in total to 7.2% last year.
In 2016, SCA launched a robust action plan with the goal that no known or registered archaeological or cultural remains would be damaged by forestry operations. The level of damage has since fallen every year.
In 2019, 7.2% of relics were damaged in total, compared with 10.7% in the preceding year.
“When we began to monitor the damage levels in 2015 these were at 40%, so this is a tremendous improvement,” says Anna Cabrajic, nature conservation expert at the Forest Management staff function.
Much of the serious damage occurs in connection with site preparation, and also here SCA has noted a highly positive trend.
“In 2019, 3.2% of relics were damaged in conjunction with site preparation, compared with 4.8% in the preceding year. A few years ago, the level of damage was over 10%,” says Anna.
Many unknown relics
SCA conducted quality follow-up of 473 known relics in 2019. Of these, 171 were registered as known by the public authorities. SCA’s employees have themselves discovered and shown consideration for 302 relics.
“We have naturally informed the public authorities about these newly discovered relics so the authorities and the public are made aware of them,” says Anna.
The excellent results in reducing the level of damage reflects the hard work – and the placement of conservation stumps around many cultural remains.
“We can see a clear trend in inspections where the use of conservation stumps significantly reduces the number of damage incidents. Work to ensure the correct placement of conservation stumps around cultural remains prior to site preparation has been a key component in reducing the level of damage,” explains Anna.
The stumps are from trees close to the relics that are cut to stand as 1.3 meter high stumps.
“The position of the stumps is carefully planned, a ribbon is then tied to the trees, which are then cut and provide a high level of protection to the relics. The stumps give a clear indication to equipment operators of where the relics are located,” explains Anna.
Continue to work
Since 2016, SCA has also held a number of training courses for planners, machine operators and scarifier operators to teach them to recognize and manage relics in the correct manner.
“I am proud that we have reduced the level of damage by so much. Though this does not mean we can sit back and relax. We must continue to work with our positive methods throughout the chain of measures required to achieve consideration for remains and relics. It takes time – from planning to site preparation it could take four-five years – and we have not worked through the entire chain everywhere yet,” says Anna.
Top picture: An ancient remains with a system of hunting pits.
Photo: Håkan Blomqvist.
Picture in the article: Anna Cabrajic beside a conservation stump.
Photo: Michael Engman.