2005 - 01 - 18



The hurricane that hit Scandinavia on 8th January was equally disastrous for forests in Denmark as for those in Southern Sweden.

The hurricane felled 2 million cubic meters of timber, which represents a little more than total annual felling in Denmark.

The damage occurred in Northern Jutland. The great majority of fallen timber is coniferous wood. Most of the fallen forest will presumably be replanted with deciduous trees, in particular with oak.

The general Danish forestry policy is to increase the area of deciduous forest and thereby to improve forest stability and biodiversity. However, it is considerably more expensive for forest owners to plant deciduous than coniferous trees. The price difference will now be paid out of public funds when replanting must be made after the storm damage. The purpose is to increase the area of robust and varied deciduous forest for the benefit of society as a whole. 

Storm damage to forests in Southern Sweden is worse than expected

The damage to forests in Götaland after the storm last weekend is much worse than what previous calculations indicated. The National Board of Forestry now estimates that the quantity of trees felled by the storm is in the order of 75 million cubic meters, which is twice the amount felled by the storm in 1969.

Because of forest owners' difficult situation the National Board of Forestry arranged a meeting of a comprehensive national council with participation of inter alia the country's forest owners' associations, forest industry, nature conservation organizations and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

Because of the enormous quantity of fallen trees and the acute need for information to forest owners as well as to the public the National Board of Forestry already yesterday requested the Government to provide extra funds of 18 million SEK for information and for co-ordination of activities. On Thursday 13th January forestry operators concerned from the whole country gathered to find a common solution to the serious problems with which forest owners concerned now are confronted.

There is a great need for assistance from the northern parts of the country in the form of felling machines and transportation. In the current situation the quantity normally felled during several years must now immediately be taken care of. Despite common efforts it will be very difficult to take care of all the fallen wood before summer when the risk of vermin attacks will be acute. 

Forest felled by the storm is a national catastrophe in Sweden

Mr Christer Segerstéen, Chairman of the National Federation of Forest Owners, says that forest felled by the storm in southern Sweden constitutes a national catastrophe. In a meeting between Cabinet Minister Ulrica Messing and forestry representatives on Tuesday 11th January the latter required extraordinary measures in order to find ways of processing all forest felled by the storm.

The total volume of felled forest amounts to approximately 60 million cubic meters, which is almost twice as much as the storm felled volume in 1969. Losses in the area owned by members of the "Södra" association alone is over 32 million cubic meters. That is the equivalent of about four years normal felling for the association.

All this timber must be taken care of before next summer, otherwise it will be spoiled. That is the reason why we want the Swedish Government to ensure that no unnecessary bureaucracy will disturb processing of the timber. We wish to pour water over the timber that now has to be stored and we must be able to use chemicals to prevent damage to timber and to forests, says Christer Sergerstéen.

However, all tragedies that are a consequence of storm felled forest is the worst aspect of the catastrophe. Several forest owners have lost practically all what they have. Several generations' work is wasted. That feels very hard indeed.

Södra's field organization is working intensively in order to find resources for taking care of its members' storm felled timber. An immediate prohibition against concluding any kind of contracts has been introduced. Besides, only storm felled forest will be cut. Forest industry companies further north have been contacted in order to increase felling opportunities and to find outlets for the timber.