Nordic Forest Legislation

Scandinavian Forest Legislation

This is the first post in a series in which we will be examining Scandinavian forest legislation. Today’s post gives an overview of the history of Nordic forestry and sustainable forest management practices, before giving a quick overview of forest policy in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway. Subsequent posts in this series will take an in depth look at forest legislation and other information about forests such as forest management practices, and forest news in each of these countries.

Scandinavian Forest Management

Sustainability Forest Management (SFM), or sustainable forestry, has a long tradition in Scandinavia. Scandinavian foresters employed long-term thinking and sustainable practices long before the word ‘sustainability’ became linked to environmental concerns in a modern context.

Sustainable Forest Management, as we understand it today, is documented as far back as the 18th Century. The German mining industry was consuming vast amounts of timber, and J.L.Carlowitz developed the ideas behind managing forests sustainably in order to support a steady and renewable supply of wood for future generations. This is also known as sustainable yield management or traditional sustainable forestry. This practice was introduced to Finnish forest management during the early part of the 20th century as a means of safeguarding a secure and continuous supply of timber.

Today’s concept of SFM has grown to encompass the economic, cultural, social, and of course, ecological aspects of forest management. This was launched in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro by the UN Conference on Environment and Development. The ‘Forest Principles’ were adopted at the conference, and they have now been developed to evaluate success with regards to Sustainable Forest Management within a global community.

Denmark, Sweden, Finland Iceland and Norway faced an alarming situation at around the end of the last century. Increased demand for agricultural land had led to substantial areas of forest land being felled in order to accommodate the need for grazing and farming.  This led to Scandinavian countries implementing forest legislation to restrict the volume of timber that could be harvested, while placing woodlot owners under obligation to plant more trees so as to ensure regeneration after felling. Denmark has implemented long term strategies for reforestation, and Norway, Sweden and Finland remain some of the most important producers of forests and forest products in Europe today.

In order to establish a context for subsequent posts on Scandinavian forest legislation, we shall now briefly cover forest policy on Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway.
We have decided to break down the individual nations forest policy into different posts

These can be found by clicking below

Norwegian – Forest Policy

Finnish Forest Policy

Swedish Forest Policy

Danish Forest Policy

Hopefully, this post has given an overview of forest policy in Scandinavia. The next post in this series will explore Danish forest legislation in greater depth, along with a history and overview of economic, cultural, social and environmental concerns related to Danish Forest Management. News and developments in Danish forest management and forest legislation will also be examined.

Although Denmark has the lowest percentage of forest land of all the Scandinavian Countries, forests still make up around over 10% of the country’s total land. Considerable efforts have been made regarding reforestation and we will also be covering this is more detail in the next post in our Scandinavian Forest Legislation series.