Holmen's work for biodiversity

Promoting our forests

Since forest-dwelling species depend on different environments for their survival, they save , among other things, coarse deciduous trees, dead trees and unusually old trees. Some areas are also completely exempt from forestry. They have been selected because they contain high conservation values. Some of these areas are left completely without intervention, and in other areas we implement active nature conservation measures such as clearing conifers in deciduous forests or burning forests under controlled conditions, which benefits many rare plants and animals.

We also protect valuable protection zones around lakes, watercourses, marshes and agricultural landscapes. These environments are very species-rich as a result of varying light, soil types and humidity, while plants and animals from the forest mix with those from the marsh, water or open landscape.

We invest SEK 190 million annually in the management of our forests and are constantly  working to improve everything from seedlings to nature conservation through research, development and education. To increase knowledge about our forestry and contribute to our research on forests, we have established four Knowledge Forests. The forests are selected for their specific biological conditions and are used to explore, collect and disseminate knowledge. In total, around a hundred research projects are being conducted on Holmen's land, both under its own auspices and in collaboration with research organisations, universities and  other actors.

Conservation of aquatic environments 

Holmen's land includes lakes, streams and other water-rich environments, all of which are  sensitive ecosystems with rich plant and animal life. Forest water is a priority  area for Holmen and active efforts are being made in the practical work. As an important part of this work, training initiatives are continuously carried out for field staff and contractors with a focus on water issues in practice. Environmental work at our production facilities is organised and conducted in accordance with Holmen's environmental and energy policy, which includes protecting aquatic environments. 

Certifications and management systems

Holmen's environmental and energy policy specifies how environmental work is to be organised and conducted. In the event of disturbances, the environment must be prioritised over production. In both ongoing and completed activities, the environmental impact must be acceptable to  people and the environment. Forests must be managed responsibly so that naturally occurring plants and animals can survive in the forest landscape in the long term. The policy also states that Holmen's forestry shall be conducted with a view to high and sustainable production of wood raw materials so that the growing forest and its products contribute to a positive climate impact.

All of Holmen's forestry is certified. Holmen Skog also applies the ISO 14001 environmental management system. Forest certifications are a way of ensuring that Holmen's forests are managed responsibly in accordance with standardised standards that take into account environmental, production and social values. Iggesund Mill, Iggesund  Sawmill, Braviken Sawmill, Linghem Sawmill, Hallsta Paper Mill and  Braviken Paper Mill have their own Chain of Custody certifications.

Viable forests 

Rich biodiversity is a prerequisite for creating healthy and resilient forests that can withstand climate change and more extreme weather events. But biodiversity is itself affected by climate change.

Therefore, sustainable forest management that stores carbon dioxide and replaces fossil materials and energy sources is an important component in slowing down climate change and thus promoting biodiversity.

A variety of different habitats provides important conditions for both individual species and functioning ecosystems. In our work for viable forests, we have identified shortcomings in certain habitats. In order to monitor and develop these environments, we have developed four indicators, all of which have a clear link to biodiversity in the forest:

• Area of older forest 
• Area of older forest with high conservation values
• Volume of dead wood per hectare
• Timber storage of coarse deciduous trees per hectare

Since the measurements began, the development of these indicators in Sweden's forests has been strongly positive, which shows that the work with environmental considerations is effective.

Areas with high conservation values are exempt from forestry

Some forest areas have great or unique values that should be preserved. Holmen identifies such areas both within its own forest holdings and when purchasing wood from other forest owners. Forests can have high conservation values for various reasons, and we take into account, among other things:

• areas that have high concentrations of red-listed species and/or key habitats and that the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has classified as national interests for nature conservation.
• mountainous forest.
• Protected areas for water sources. 

Since 1998, Holmen has applied clear guidelines for the purchase of timber. These contain environmental requirements and define the types of forest from which the Group does not buy wood. 

• are key habitats in Sweden according to the Swedish Forest Agency's definition and methodology.
• are protected for nature conservation reasons.
• are primeval forests, i.e. distinctly different-aged and layered natural forests with  an abundant occurrence of old, coarse trees and plenty of dead wood in various stages of decomposition.
• harvested illegally.
• Derived from genetically modified trees.
• Growing in areas where traditional customary law and human rights are actively hindered
• have High Conservation Value Forests.
• are natural forests that have been converted into plantations or other land uses.

Risks and opportunities

Holmen's ability to manage forests and process forest raw materials is essential to our contribution to mitigating climate change, which in turn may affect biodiversity. Increased requirements for setting aside land for purposes other than forestry can lead to reduced harvests and thus reduced opportunities for the forest to be able to contribute with renewable and fossil-free products. Similarly, land and water legislation may hamper the expansion of renewable energy production from hydro and wind power, which may limit our contribution to a fossil-free energy system.

Disturbances in production may cause exceedances of the environmental permits decided  by the authorities for the activities, and exceedances could  adversely affect the surrounding environment and local ecosystems