The impact of the Forest Industry
Industries based on raw materials is essential for the Nordic economy. It provides both employment and development, especially outside the major cities and urban regions. The forests are also a major contributor to reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
THE SWEDISH AND FINNISH forest industry exports paper, pulp, and timber products at the combined value of approximately €26 billion annually. Together they are the largest exporter of paper, pulp, and timber in the world.
The forest industry in the two countries employs about 280,000 people, directly and indirectly. Together with other raw material-based industries they are major employers in sparsely populated areas otherwise threatened by unemployment and depopulation. They contribute to a vitalization of a large part of the northern rural areas in both Sweden and Finland. Tax revenue from these industries helps to finance local social services and infrastructure for the inhabitants.
“70% of Sweden’s land area consists of forests.”
The forest industry is a very important part of the Nordic economy, especially considering that the net export is higher than the net export of the manufacturing industry, in that the raw materials grows in the area. The forest industry is literally a “growing” industry and an industry looking towards the future with new bioeconomy products in the form of bioenergy, biofuels, biochemicals and textiles.
The Nordic forests also act as a carbon dioxide sink. 70 percent of Sweden’s land area consists of forests. 80 percent of that area is intended for forestry and the remainder is protected. Only 1 percent of the forests intended for forestry is harvested each year, and for every tree removed at least two new trees are planted to preserve the forests. This reforesting is contributing to a massive reduction in atmospheric carbon.
The Swedish forests grow by an average of 120 million cubic metres every year. This contributes to storing 140 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, which is twice the total carbon dioxide emissions from Sweden. ■