A year in the life of our forests
We continue to bring you a snapshot of life in a typical forest estate owned by one of our 52,000 members. Jonas Larsson is our guide through the year. Managing Director of Södra Cell GmbH and Senior Advisor Forestry, he has been a Södra member for eight years with a plot of 20 hectares, just under half the size of an average Södra forest estate. His wife Marie previously owned a Södra forest that was in the family for four generations, now managed by her brother.
Back in May/June, the hot, dry spring gave the bark beetle good reason to be cheerful and we worried we would see signs of infestation before we started our inspection. Stressed trees deprived of water can be especially susceptible to the beetle. But happily, the cool, wet summer here in southern Sweden, while not ideal for sunbathing, worked in our forest’s favour, boosting the trees’ resistance to the pest. As a result, we have seen less damage than we initially feared, and it’s been a positive result.
Decent rainfall has also meant a good survival rate for the seedlings we planted earlier in the year, so Mother Nature has been working in our favour these last few months.
Had we been at final felling stage, this is the time of year that we would be contacting Södra to plan the harvesting. These are busy weeks on many estates and for Södra’s forest services. In our case, as the growing cycle is planned for 60-80 years and we have relatively young stands, we have only been thinning and are not harvesting any mature trees this year.
I’m therefore using the time to update my Green Plan, which details what we’ve planted where, any additional action we’ve taken such as set-aside areas, current measurements stand by stand, and so on. As well as helping us to optimise our planning in consultation with Södra’s experts, this record is extremely useful as a future reference for our own planning but also in the event of a contact with my forest district officer. Accurate documentation is essential for audits, both internal by Södra and external, for certification bodies such as FSC and PEFC. Södra Skog coordinates the certification schemes on behalf of members and inspects sample estates, but the certifying bodies also conduct their own checks.
The Green Plan is thus a highly valuable tool for optimal planning of the estate, sharing those plans with Södra and also documenting our actions for certification.
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