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Global Pulp News Snapshot: Meet a typical Södra member

Snapshot: Meet a typical Södra member

In 2009, Caroline Hemmingsson’s parents handed her the running of the family farm, Åkemåla. Purchased by her grandfather who then passed it down to her father, Per-Ove, the farm has now been in the family for over a century. Today, Caroline, her sister Pernilla and Per-Ove are joint owners of the forestry part of the farm.

“I wanted the children to take an interest and if they are part-owners, they become more engaged and want to take responsibility,” adds Per-Ove.

Since Caroline lives on the farm, she manages its daily operation. Her parents had a dairy herd and the first thing Caroline did was to introduce sheep.

“We got off to a strong start with 110 pregnant ewes in the barn,” she recalls. “There was no water supply, so my mother and I used a kick-sled to take water across the courtyard. That year, I was present at the birth of every single lamb.” The sheep continue to produce lambs, some of which Caroline now keeps over the winter because wool has become a key part of the farm’s business.

She earned her chainsaw and clearing saw licences ten years ago and her eldest son Melvin now has his licences, too.

“It’s fun – it becomes a bit of family time when we go out together,” says Caroline, observing that this strange time due to the pandemic has some advantages with the children studying at home. “

There are two houses on the farm: Caroline’s father lives in one while Caroline and her own family live in the other. They now produce a variety of products, including lambskin and felting crafts.

“We also lay on wool courses and offer companies the opportunity to felt their own gnomes at Christmas events. Felted crafts are just one of the farm’s offerings at Christmas markets and local food outlets.”

Berries are another. As well as the more familiar cherries and blackcurrants, Caroline cultivates sea buckthorn and chokeberries. The year is fully scheduled, with winter spent maintaining the forest, then lambing and planting in spring, followed by harvesting and processing the berries, some of which provide flavour for the fermented drink kombucha, her sister Pernilla’s ‘weakness’.

Pernilla lives outside Stockholm and runs a micro-brewery. Her kombucha offering has been expanded to include granola and a seeded crispbread based on her mother’s recipe.

Åkemåla is a relatively large estate by Södra’s standards, with 270 hectares of mixed forest. Caroline is involved in several associations and is an elected representative within Södra. “The aim is to have a productive, but also attractive forest,” she points out, guided by the Forest Management Green Plan drawn up with Södra.

“What we did 10 years ago now needs to be updated. Melvin will do this digitally – he is the most digitally savvy.” The family receives a lot of help from Södra in forestry, for example, in the preparation of forest management plans, harvesting and major thinning operations or planting.

Caroline’s intention is to continue with mixed forest. “We have always had seed-bearers and planted spruce, but also allowed the pine to self-seed. It’s been a success so far.”

Did you know?  

Södra members/forest estates: 53,000
Average estate: 50 ha   
Total forest land: 2.8 million ha 
Certification: FSC, PEFC 
Managed using: Individual forest management Green Plan. Unique plan for each estate, including detailed mapping of tree species, timber stock, watercourses etc. Forms the basis of action plan based on best possible sustainable management measures. 
Average annual rate of growth per hectare: 6.4 m³fo 

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