Holmen has agreed in principle to sell just over 10 000 hectares of forest with a wealth of natural assets to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency in order to create a nature reserve. In exchange, Holmen is being given the opportunity to purchase around 18 000 hectares of forest land of an equivalent value. The deal, which will formally be made in several stages during 2014, has no impact on earnings.
The forest is a habitat for thousands of species of flora and fauna. As part of measures to achieve the environmental objective of "Levande skogar" (Living Forests), the Riksdag (Swedish Parliament) resolved in June 2010 that 100 000 hectares of state-owned forest would be used to compensate Sweden's major landowners for an increase in the proportion of state-protected forest in Sweden.
"It feels very positive that Holmen is making an active contribution to achieving the "Levande skogar" objective. Increasing the proportion of formally protected forest in Sweden through the state offering land in exchange is an excellent model. A larger share of forest with significant natural assets will acquire nature reserve status while Holmen is able to purchase land where it can actively work with sustainable forestry," says Sören Petersson, CEO at Holmen Skog.
More than 90 areas to become nature reserves
The land selected is particularly valuable in terms of natural assets and will be turned into nature reserves. Holmen has worked closely with both the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the County Administrative Boards concerned on identifying and delimiting areas worthy of protection. The planned nature reserves are made up of more than 90 areas spread throughout Holmen's forest holdings. One such area is Ågelsjön in Norrköping, an eldorado for climbers, an idyllic spot for families, a historical site and an area with extremely valuable natural assets.
"We see the fact that the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency now wants to turn a large number of our conservation areas into nature reserves as proof of the quality of our conservation work," continues Sören Petersson.
Safeguarding natural assets a priority
All in all, the number of protected areas in Sweden will now expand greatly. In order to maximise the benefit of future conservation work, the focus should now be shifted from protecting forest to more active measures. It is now time to put more efforts on measures to safeguard and develop our significant natural assets in the Swedish forest.
"Through active forest management, in which natural assets are preserved and fortified while growing raw material for sustainable products, we can help achieve a sustainable society," says Sören Petersson, summing up.