The future lies in the forest …
Sweden is defined by intact nature in general and plenty of forest in particular. Which is precisely the foundation for the world of
Berg & Berg. Our wood is growing in forests of Södra in the south of Sweden, where expansive mixed forests with large stands of oak, beech, ash, and silver maple are found. From forest management, harvesting, and sawing in our own sawmills to the finished parquet, we have control of all stages in the production process. This is unique in the world and probably only the case with Berg & Berg.
and the “green plan”
Erik Hjärtfors owns 31 hectares of forest in southern Sweden. When the founder of Lövsjö Loghouse Company and his family became owners of the forest in the year of 2000, they saw it less as a financial investment and more as an affair of the heart. He wanted to take responsibility for a piece of forest, because forests are his life. Erik is not the only one who thinks like this; many of the other 55,000 forest owners linked to the Södra association think likewise
Erik, most people your age buy cars, flats or houses. You have bought a forest. Why?
Forests have always been part of my life. I studied forestry and I spend a large part of my leisure time in the forest. This started when I was a child and has continued right up to the present day. It’s the same for a lot of Swedish people. We feel close to nature and make every effort to live in harmony with it.
Please tell us about your own forest.
My forest is in the Province of Småland in southern Sweden – not far from a place called Vetlanda. The ground there is very stony and barren. Half of the trees are pine, 30 % are spruce and 20 % are birch. As the ground is so barren there are very few other species. The few oak trees for instance I do not harvest at all.
So that means you cultivate your forest?
Yes, every year I harvest mature trees from about 3 % of my land. Sustainable forestry is very close to my heart. I was interested in it even when I was a student. The 150 trees that I fell are about 80 to 90 years old – a whole human lifetime. One year later I replace them by planting 1,000 seedlings which I get from the Södra nursery.
What does it mean to you to be a member of Södra?
Södra is a strong organization, where I can be among like-minded people. That is very important to me as we have here something we call the “green plan”. This lists the criteria for forest management with which we must all comply.
What sort of thing does this involve?
Well, for instance, we are not allowed to remove more trees from the forest than will grow to replace them. Södra calculates the appropriate number to be harvested. Apart from that we keep an eye on the rivers and the preservation of biodiversity. And we inform the public of how important a healthy forest is for all of us. The Swedish “Allemansrätt”, which some of you may know from holidays in Sweden, helps us with that. It generally upholds the right of everyone to enjoy the natural world and its fruits, irrespective of ownership. This means that no-one needs the permission of the owner to exercise the common right to enjoy the environment.
What does Södra make from the trees you have harvested?
Although I am a committed member of Södra I do actually process my timber at my own company, Lövsjö Loghouse, where I manufacture log cabins. This is something else which Södra supports: start-up companies which process and finish timber in Sweden. One more reason for me to feel at home here.
The forest is growing
All hardwood logs for Berg & Berg are supplied from Södra, an economic association in which over 50,000 forest owners have come together to cultivate their own forests and market the timber. All wood species Berg & Berg uses are growing in Sweden’s forests.
Swedish forests are growing at a rate of 120 million m3 a year,
of which only 80 million m3 are harvested.
This represents an annual net growth of 40 million m3.
A harvest of 80 million solid cubic metres produces around 50 million m3 of sawn timber.
Sweden covers an area of 450,000 km2. 230,000 km2 are forest areas, of which more than 10 % are owned by Södra members.
The tree growth in the Södra
forests offsets the carbon emissions of around 1.4 million Swedes by
capturing 6.5 million tonnes of CO₂ every year.
30 million seedlings are cultivated in Södra’s tree nurseries every year. Three seedlings are planted for every tree that is felled.