Almost one fourth of Sweden’s last unprotected old-growth forest was logged between 2003 and 2019.
Almost one fourth of Sweden’s last unprotected old-growth forest was logged between 2003 and 2019. At this rate, all of these ecologically unique and valuable forests will be lost in about 50 years. These findings add to the growing body of evidence for widespread cryptic forest degradation across the global north.
A small fraction of Sweden’s forests consists of older forests which have never previously been clear-cut. These rare ecosystems have a rich biodiversity and give us a valuable glimpse into the functioning of natural northern landscapes before widespread human interventions.
A new study published in the journal Earth’s Future has uncovered evidence that almost a quarter of the few remaining forests of this type were lost between 2003 and 2019, equivalent to a loss of 1.4% per year.“This land use change is not well documented across all northern countries. Its thanks to a uniquely rich dataset we could investigate this issue for Sweden and get such clear results, says Anders Ahlström, Associate Professor at Lund University, Sweden.
In the study, the research team paired Swedish national forest inventory data on forest age from more than 90 000 forest inventory plots with a government database documenting almost a million individual clear-cuts since 2003.
Read more at Lund University
Photo Credit: Ulrika Ervander