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Welcome to the Forest School!

Lars Göran

Forestry is an exciting and multifaceted activity. Done properly, it gives a great return: good growth, high quality, major environmental and recreational assets, as well as securing the long-term supply of raw materials for the industry.

As one of Sweden’s largest forest owners, Holmen has built up considerable expertise along the whole chain, from regeneration to clearcutting.

In a series of articles, we intend to present some of our employees who help with the management of Holmen’s almost 1.3 million hectares of forest. They will become the ‘inspirational teachers’ in our series ‘The Forest School’.

First in line is production manager Lars-Göran Nyström, who has been working with Holmen’s forests for almost 40 years.

Lars-Göran Nyström

District Lycksele in brief

Lycksele is the second most northerly of Holmen Skog’s 18 districts. The area of productive forest land amounts to 119 000 hectares, and the forest comprises 54 per cent pine, 31 per cent spruce and 15 per cent broadleaves. District Lycksele extends in a band almost 200 kilometres long. With reindeers herded throughout the district, there is close collaboration with the local Sami reindeer herding associations.


“The trend is heading in the right direction”

All the assets of the forest must be developed. That is the starting point for Holmen’s forestry. Increased growth creates economic value, but biodiversity and other natural assets are equally important.

The challenge is to implement such sustainable forestry on the ground. Attractive targets must result in concrete measures, and that has to be the case across the entire forest holding, which amounts to 1.3 million hectares. At the same time, forestry has to be reconciled with other interests, such as hunting, reindeer herding and outdoor recreation.

Much more forest

At Holmen Skog, over 1 000 employees and contractors are employed on their particular parts of the jigsaw. To get a glimpse into how production and nature conservation are combined, we visited Lars-Göran Nyström, one of five production managers in Holmen Skog’s Lycksele District in northern Sweden.

Lars-Göran does not work specifically on planning nature conservation. His focus is on silviculture, but nature conservation considerations inform every activity. During his 37 years in forestry, he has seen the implementation of key improvements.

“The most positive fact is that we now have much more forest than we did before. This is because we are not harvesting more than the growth, and so we’ve managed to create vigorous young forest with high growth,” says Lars-Göran Nyström.

Behind the rise in growth lies the use of selected plant material and more efficient methods of silviculture. Sweden’s forests have twice as much wood now as they had 100 years ago.

Constant improvements

Lars-Göran Nyström stresses that nature conservation in the forests is an ongoing process, something that will never come to an end. New problems crop up and forestry must always be ready to embrace new knowledge.

“The planning of nature conservation is far superior to the way things used to be done. Of course mistakes are sometimes made, but I don’t think anyone consciously ignores our guidelines.”

Leaving something better

The Holmen Skog team is thus working on a huge jigsaw of large and small-scale measures that together can help to establish sustainable forestry. It is a matter of honour for all foresters that they leave their forest in a better state for the next generation. Lars-Göran, who has a few years left until retirement, feels that they are doing quite well on that score.

“The forest now developing will have higher growth and greater natural assets than the forest that was planted 40–50 years ago,” concludes Lars-Göran Nyström.

Lars Göran

New technology

Digital technology has revolutionised nature conservation planning. The forest land is surveyed and recorded using modern techniques and Holmen’s experts then use the databases to plan harvesting and silviculture measures.

For those involved in practical work in the forest, there are a number of new aids, including Holmen’s digitised land planning package, where all the latest information is collated on detailed maps. With the help of GPS technology, the machine operators can then see exactly which natural and cultural assets are to be preserved.

“It’s a great help, particularly when the harvesting has to be done in the dark and in deep snow,” says Lars-Göran Nyström.

Holmen conducts annual assessments of clearcutting and of regeneration, cleaning and thinning. This involves taking random samples and creating an inventory of 15–20 per cent of those areas. The results can lead to a greater focus being placed on certain measures. At the moment, for example, extra work is being put into protecting valuable watercourses.

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The Holmen Group

Holmen is a forest industry group that manufactures printing paper, paperboard and sawn timber and runs forestry and energy production operations. The company’s extensive forest holdings and its high proportion of energy production are strategically important resources for its future growth.

Holmen AB

Tel: 08-666 21 00

E-post: info@holmen.com

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