There are close to 320,000 private forest owners in Sweden, and together they own about half of the productive forest land. For these 320,000 private forest owners, the forest is an important part of their everyday life – it’s where they live, take walks, pick mushrooms, and hunt – all while the forest supports their livelihood.
”"48% of the Swedish productive forest is owned by private forest owners."
We have met with Fredrik Johansson, a forest owner in Dalsland, who lives on a farm with his family in the middle of the forest they own and manage. Fredrik tells us about his forestry, why the forest is important to him and how it is a natural part of his and his family’s life.
Fredrik highlights the importance of the forest for the economy, as a carbon sink and for the future. He also tells us that he believes that the diversity in the forest is due to all the private forest owners, because no forest is the same and there are as many ways to manage the forest as there are private forest owners.
”“There are as many ways to manage the forest, as there are private forest owners in Sweden.”
Fredrik does not claim to be the voice of all private forest owners, but hopefully many of them can identify with his thoughts on stewardship and the long-term responsibility of leaving the forest in better condition than when he acquired it. Equally valid are his hopes that one day his boys will want to take over the baton, just as Fredrik himself did after his father.
”"We should not live off the forest, we should live with the forest."
The Swedish model of “freedom under responsibility“ – often in combination with environmental certification – has led to good results in terms of growth, climate, and biodiversity over the past 30 years. Fredrik and his forest are a clear example of this.