Logging at a record level in 2021

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7.6.2022 09:45:37 CEST | The Norwegian Forestry Agency


Felling in Swedish forests increased to record levels in 2021 and amounted to just under 97 million cubic meters of forest. This is shown by new statistics from the Norwegian Forestry Agency. With the exception of the storm Gudrun in 2005, Swedish felling has never been greater.

According to the Forestry Agency's preliminary statistics released today, the gross felling in 2021 amounted to 96.6 million cubic meters of forest. This is an increase of 3.8 percent compared to 2020, when felling amounted to 93.1 million cubic meters of forest. The felling in 2021 was the largest so far, if you disregard 2005 when the felling amounted to 122 million cubic meters of forest due to the storm Gudrun.

- Timber prices rose sharply during the corona pandemic and the sawmills met a large demand, mainly for domestic timber. At the same time, the import of pulpwood decreased and the export of roundwood increased due to high demand from our neighboring countries. This explains the increased Swedish felling, says Jörgen Pettersson, policy advisor at the unit for policy and analysis at the Norwegian Forestry Agency.

Compared to 2020, it is estimated that the felling of softwood sawn timber increased by 5.7 percent, the felling of pulp wood increased by 1.0 percent and firewood increased by 7.1 percent.

In line with the Forestry Agency's forecasts

The increase can also be seen in other countries, for example in Finland where the increase was as much as ten percent. The trend is also in line with the assessment made by the Norwegian Forestry Agency in the forestry impact analysis (SKA) which is produced on behalf of the government in 2022. It predicts a continued rise in demand.

- In one of the reports we have so far published within SKA22, we have assessed that demand will increase until 2035 as a result of known announced changes to forest industry capacity. One of the scenarios we developed focuses on increased growth to enable the requested felling, says Andreas Eriksson, investigator at the policy and analysis unit.

SKA22 will be presented to the government no later than October 30. It will then be a good basis for analyzing the future felling possibilities.

Most felling in Götaland

The statistics for 2021 also show that:

  • most of it was harvested in Götaland, where roughly 36 percent of the harvested volume comes from. About 30 percent come from Svealand and just over 33 percent from Norrland.
  • roughly 65 percent of the felled volume comes from final felling, 24 percent from thinning and the rest from other felling.

In 2021, the import of roundwood was provisionally 6.3 million cubic meters, which is about 0.9 million cubic meters less than the year before. Exports were provisionally 1.2 million cubic meters, which is approximately 0.2 million cubic meters more than in 2020.

Larger fellings in the north

The average final felling for fellings larger than 0.5 hectares amounted to 3.2 hectares. The size of the final harvests was on average more than twice as large in Norra Norrland (5.3 hectares) as in Götaland (2.1 hectares). The average area in final felling for individual forest owners is roughly 40 percent less than that for other forest owners.

The net felling, which is the felled volume of all tree trunks that are fully or partially used, amounted to 77.0 million cubic meters (m3fub) in 2021. Just over half of the net felling consisted of sawn timber from conifers, 41 percent of pulpwood, 7 percent of firewood and some percent of other wood.

The statistics are included in Sweden's official statistics.

More about the statistics: The Norwegian Forestry Agency - Gross felling

More about SKA: 2021-6 Forestry impact analyzes 2022-background and motives for choosing scenarios (skogsstyrelsen.se)

More facts

Gross felling: Total felled trunk volume, including what is left in the forest. Measured in forest cubic meters (m3sk), which means the trunk volume above the stump cut including top and bark.
Net felling: Total felled trunk volume above the stump cut excluding left-over felled whole trees, tops, bark and left-over trunk parts. Expressed in solid cubic meters under bark (m3f ub) which refers to the trunk volume excluding bark, top and branches.

More information:

Statistics: Jonas Paulsson, statistician, unit for statistics and data collection, Norwegian Forestry Agency, 019 – 44 64 07, jonas.paulsson@skogsstyrelsen.se
Analysis: Jörgen Pettersson, policy advisor, unit for policy and analysis, Norwegian Forestry Agency, 036 – 35 93 35,jorgen.pettersson@skogsstyrelsen.se

The Forestry Agency's press hotline is available weekdays at 8.00–20.00 and weekends at 10.00–15.00, 036-35 94 91. During office hours, you can also reach us via email:  pressjour@skogsstyrelsen.se

Peter Jernberg, press officer, Norwegian Forestry Agency, 036-35 94 93, 073-029 84 92,peter.jernberg@skogsstyrelsen.se

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