97% of Sweden’s Forestry is Unsustainable and Only 3% Doesn’t Involve Clear-cutting

Environmental News from Europe:

  • Sweden has a gigantic forest products industry, and its national forestry agency claims its operations to be the most sustainable in the world.
  • However, the truth on the ground is that the industry relies heavily on clearcutting natural forests, many of which are quite old, and replanting those with monocultures of trees, some of which are non-native.
  • “Only 3% of Sweden’s forestry doesn’t involve clear-cutting. That should be pretty shocking to anyone who hears it, given Sweden’s reputation as a leader of so-called green practices,” two top conservation photographers tell Mongabay in a wide-ranging interview.
  • This is made possible in part by the Swedish forestry model, which allows companies to police their own practices toward ensuring good ecological and social outcomes, which most of the time don’t happen.

Over a decade ago I traveled around Sweden to view its forestry practices – the country has a gigantic forest products industry that largely transforms trees into paper products and biomass pellets for electricity generation – yet the national forestry agency claimed it to be the most sustainable forestry program in the world. What I found was strikingly different, as I reported for Yale Environment 360, “Sweden’s Green Veneer Hides Unsustainable Logging Practices.”

I wanted to know what has changed since 2011 and queried two Swedes who are very involved with this ongoing issue: award-winning photojournalist Marcus Westberg and top conservation photographer/National Geographic Explorer Staffan Widstrand, who are active under the banner of Skogsmisbruket, i.e. ‘forest abuse,’ an awareness-raising project on Swedish forestry.

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Source: Mongabay

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