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The productive forest land used in Sweden today is not enough to meet the demand for forest raw materials, the Swedish Forest Agency and SLU state in a new forest impact assessment. The Swedish forest industry is currently estimated to need around 77 million cubic meters of timber and pulpwood per year.

The Swedish Forest Agency’s new forest impact assessment, SKA 22, shows that Sweden’s position in the global timber market can be weakened. The reason is a shortage of raw materials, which limits both deliveries of wood products and the expansion of industry.

Together with SLU, the Swedish Forest Agency is now working to produce new forest impact assessments , which are based on a number of scenarios where the country’s forests are used and managed in different ways and show the possible consequences of this in 100 years’ time.

Grows slower

The Impact Assessment looks extra closely at three important points of departure, which are Sweden’s need for forest raw materials and the impact of biological diversity and climate on forests. The Swedish Forest Agency has also asked the consulting company AFRY to analyze the market for forest raw materials and the forest industry development framework by 2035, both nationally and internationally.

According to the Swedish Forest Agency, this analysis shows that the cultivated forest today is utilized to its full potential in terms of the supply of forest raw materials. This is a limiting factor for growth and the opportunities to increase production until 2035 are seen as very small.

”The raw material is simply not enough. Production in the Swedish forest industry will grow more slowly than the world market,” says Jonas Paulsson, investigator at the Swedish Forest Agency.

Import and transport

In 2019, about 70 million cubic meters of timber and pulpwood were harvested in Sweden. At the same time, the need from the pulp industry and sawmills is almost seven million cubic meters higher. According to AFRY.’s report, timber imports to Sweden, as well as timber transports from northern to southern Sweden will increase. It also means that fellings in the northern parts of the country may increase.

Basis for discussion

For forestry, climate change means both challenges and opportunities, with greater risks of forest damage due to weather and insect infestation but also increased growth.

”We hope that the scenarios will provide a basis for discussion about the balance between different goals and how we can meet climate change in the forest,” says Andreas Eriksson, project manager at the Swedish Forest Agency.

The new impact assessment, SKA 22, is part of the national forest program and the results will be presented next year.

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