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In total, about eight million cubic meters of spruce forest have been damaged in Sweden, despite the fact that the summer has not been as favorable for the bark beetle’s swarms as last year.

The sharp increase in the amount of spruce bark beetle in Sweden during the hot and dry summer of 2018 continues to affect the forests in southern and central Sweden.

“The spruce bark beetle causes enormous financial losses for many forest owners who are forced to harvest infested forests prematurely. Despite a more varied summer weather and the many efforts made over the past two years to combat the spruce bark beetle, we still have major problems,” says Lennart Svensson, national forest damage coordinator at the Swedish Forest Agency.

Biggest ever

According to the Swedish Forest Agency, the spruce bark beetle damage in Götaland and Svealand is the largest ever measured in Sweden.

“In total, there is about the same amount of damage in the two parts of the country, but the damage per hectare is greatest in Svealand because we have less spruce forest there compared to in Götaland,” says Sören Wulff, environmental analysis specialist at SLU, who was involved in carrying out the inventory on behalf of The Danish Forest Agency.

More to do

The bark beetle inventory was carried out in September and October this year and, in addition to the record high level of infestation, also shows that 75 percent of this year’s infested trees remain in the forest. Only 25 percent had been harvested and transported out of the forest at the time of the inventory.

“We know that many forest owners and forest companies struggle to get as much infested timber out as possible during the summer when the control is more effective, but obviously there is more to do. The most important thing to combat the damage is to seek out, fell and transport away damaged spruces as early as possible after the spruce bark beetles have attacked the trees,” says Lennart Svensson at the Swedish Forest Agency.

Even distribution

The distribution of the large amount of damaged forest is relatively even between Götaland and Svealand, which have 4.1 and 3.8 percent of the volume, respectively. The inventory shows that six million of a total of about eight million cubic meters of damaged forest are in Västmanland, Uppsala, Stockholm, Södermanland, Östergötland, Kalmar and Blekinge counties.

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