Almost half of Sweden's forests certified

Posted: 21 March 2001

One million hectares - an area one-third the size of Belgium - of Swedish state-owned forests have been certified under the principles of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). According to an announcement by WWF, this takes the percentage of Sweden's forested area certified by the FSC to 45 per cent, the highest rate in the world.

By becoming FSC-certified, the Swedish National Property Board (SNPB) - the state's land and buildings management authority - has committed to responsible forestry management in its one million-hectare forest. This will enhance the commitments already made by the private sector. Sweden now has 10.2 million hectares of FSC-certified forest, and many Europe-based companies depend on it as the demand for FSC-labeled timber and paper increases. As a major provider of wood products to Europe, Sweden supplied 17 per cent of Germany's timber demand in 1997.

"The areas managed by the Swedish State contain some of the most valuable forest ecosystems in Sweden and are home to threatened forest dwelling plants and animals here, such as the golden eagle," said Lars Kristoferson, Secretary General of WWF in Sweden. "FSC certification means that their long-term health is now an important goal. Furthermore, this area is very important for the indigenous Sami people and their traditional reindeer herding which is also taken into consideration in the certification process." "We chose to apply for FSC-certification in order to support the social and environmental benefits on the ground which this system provides," said Christer Wadelius, Director General of the SNPB. "This was the only system which allows different stakeholders to have direct influence and we welcomed that. FSC is the most credible alternative available to us."

WWF now hopes that the FSC-certification of the Swedish state forests will inspire other European countries to follow suit.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization which enables the certification of well managed forests. Visit the FSC website for more information.