Caring for our most important natural resource is not to be taken lightly. We don't! The forest belongs to us all. Apart from being a magnificent source of raw material and production apparatus, it is the habitat for animals and plants, and a marvellous place for outdoor recreation. This is why a long-term perspective and sustainability is key to Holmen. Developing sustainable forestry is an important cornerstone in a bio-based society. Therefore, we manage our resources in the best way possible, creating growth for the future.
The Swedish Forestry Act places production and the environment on an equal footing. Holmen strives to allow all species that live in our forest to continue living there. We always aim to use the forests in such a way that it helps to improve people’s quality of life.
Biodiversity is made up of a complex interaction between many different species in many different natural environments. In order to maintain the biodiversity, different types of forest environments must be fostered. In total, more than 20 percent of Holmen’s forest area is used for environmental conservation purposes. This includes voluntary set-asides of productive forest land and tree-bearing non-productive forest land which is protected by law. We are obliged to work with environmental consideration for all the forest that is used.
Planning is the foundation of active and sustainable forest management. Planning routines are necessary for proper development of forest holdings and for ensuring that silvicultural activity is timely and appropriate. Taking natural, cultural and social values into consideration requires thorough planning to be successful.
High quality digital maps and good stand descriptions form the basis for planning all silvicultural activities. Holmen’s forests are divided into approximately 160 000 stands. Each of them is described in a computerised catalogue and connected to a geographic information system. Holmen’s forest maps and stand catalogue are updated continuously.
The forest cycle starts by a tree blooming and being pollinated through wind or insects. Everything that is needed for a tree to develop and survive various events is packed into the seed. Seedling production gives nature a helping hand and guides the tree through one of its most sensitive phases. Seeds and seedlings face many types of challenges, for example predation and tough weather conditions involving droughts, flooding and frost.
After the forest has been harvested, work begins as soon as possible on ensuring proper regeneration of the forest. This involves ensuring that seeds or seedlings survive and establish good growth. The future forest must provide a host of benefits, almost like a “cultivated work of art” that is created jointly by many different people.
Thinning is one of the most important activities in forestry. It increases the future value of the timber by promoting growth among the highest quality trees. It is simultaneously an action that provides a high volume of valuable timber during harvesting. Holmen currently gets a quarter of its timber from thinnings and this is therefore an important part of our forest operations. Both pre-commercial thinning and commercial thinning involve reducing the number of stems in the forest so that the remaining trees can reach the proper dimensions.
A forest is usually not harvested until it is close to 90 years old. When it is time to harvest the mature forest, we reap the benefits of many people’s efforts throughout the forest’s life-cycle. Harvesting is the process that has the greatest impact on the forest landscape, but with good planning and care, the effects can be mitigated.
The waste is at a minimum. Actually, 50 percent of the forest harvested by Holmen is used for joinery products and construction timber. 45 percent is made into products such as books, magazines, catalogues, advertising material and newspapers. The remaining 5 percent is used for biofuel and turned into energy.
Most of the available activities for improving growth are connected with regeneration. Fertilisation is one of the few actions that can help improve growth in middle-aged or mature forests. It is designed to achieve a high level of growth while simultaneously minimising any adverse effects on the forest, soil or water. Fertilisation is conducted in accordance with the general recommendations from the Swedish Forest Agency.
Forest roads make it possible to transport the timber safely from the forest and to take the necessary forestry activities at the right time and in the right location. Many of the roads are also needed for people to be able to work and live in rural areas. The network of forest roads, which covers hundreds of thousands of kilometres, is accessible to the public (except during thawing when they can be closed off), which increases their ability to visit forest environments for recreation.
Holmen is one of the largest holders of forest land in Sweden and we focus on sustainable and efficient forest management. Holmen’s forest holdings include roughly 1.2 million hectares, of which roughly a million hectares are productive forest land. Holmen Skog’s environmental work is performed in accordance with the ISO 14001 environmental management system.
For more information about our forest management, please visit the Holmen Skog website.