The forests represent a biological production apparatus that can produce wood and energy for all eternity, with the aid of sun, air and water. The forests and their products thus play a given part in the sustainable society of the future. Realisation that this is the case and the increasing shortages of finite raw materials help to strengthen the position of products made from renewable raw materials.

Growth in Holmen's forests comfortably exceeds annual removal of wood. The aggregate stock of wood in the forests is therefore steadily increasing. This trend has been in progress for a long time and will continue until the mid-21st century. The reason for this is that a large proportion of the growth is taking place in young forests that are not yet ready for harvesting. As these younger forests become older, it will also become possible to harvest the same volume of wood each year as is added by growth at the same time.

Biomass combines

The Holmen sites in Iggesund and Norrköping are what are known as biomass combines. The raw material first goes to the sawmills and becomes sawn timber, and what is left at the end of the process then goes on to be used as raw material for the paper and paperboard mills. By gathering all fibre flows together in one place, it will become possible to add other operations in the longer term. Pellets, district heating and generation of electricity are a few viable options.

Forest raw material offers opportunities for development

Holmen is examining the feasibility of manufacturing additional products, besides traditional ones, from forest raw materials. These may include chemical products, transport fuels and entirely new materials. Holmen has strengthened its organisation in this area, in which it has identified some very interesting future opportunities.

Increased forest growth

Growth in Holmen's forests is to increase, which will give higher future harvests and bind more carbon dioxide. In 2050 the volume of standing timber and the harvest is to be 50 per cent higher than it was in 2000. Growth is increasing according to plan and the volume of standing timber is now 12 per cent higher than in 2000, while the harvest has increased by 17 per cent.

Increased forest production is consistent with the aspirations of society to combat climate change. It improves the prospects of manufacturing substitutes for products with an impact on climate and for fossil-based energy sources.