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The Board of Hallands Skogsägareförening in 1959
The first forest-owner association was formed in Halland in 1913. A rapid line of county associations soon followed in Skaraborg, Kronoberg and Kalmar. In 1926, the Smålands Skogsägareförening (Småland forest-owner association) was formed by merging the county associations. This marked the beginning of a series of mergers that would lead to the geographic growth of Södra as we know it today.
Large forest owners showed the way
Forests played a key economic role, especially for large forest owners – who were also hardest hit by the economic decline during the 1920s. Forest owners were at the mercy of pulp mill and sawmill representatives, who determined the rules for prices and demand for wood. The large forest owners were experienced in lobbying their interests and working in official contexts, and therefore showed the way for the forest-owner associations that were founded. In the 1920s, small forest-owning farmers had no great interest in forestry as a source of income. They used their land for a range of different purposes, harvesting for their own domestic needs and letting their cattle graze on their lands.
A financial contribution was required to join a forest-owner association, generally based on a member’s holding of productive forest land and paid through deductions for wood deliveries. The percentage long used by Sydöstra Sveriges Skogsägares Förbund, and later Södra, was 4 percent on net wood deliveries, but a maximum of 10 percent of the total contribution due annually.
The start of Södra
On 18 February 1938, five forest-owner associations in southern Sweden merged and became Sydöstra Sveriges Skogsägareföreningars Förbund. This is also considered to be the start of Södra.
The forest-owner association increased its membership during the war years. While harvesting firewood, representatives came into contact with farmers and could tell them about the benefits of belonging to a forest-owner association. Being a member of the association that was founded to organise and manage the harvesting of firewood was also in the farmers’ best interests. In the early 1940s, Sydöstra Sveriges Skogsägares Förbund had 4,394 members. By the end of 1949, this number had grown to 18,098. The total forest area owned by members was 831,260 hectares.
The final merger
The final merger took place in 1964, when Sydöstra Sveriges Skogsägares Förbund merged with the forest-owner associations of Jönköping, Halland and Älvsborg to form Södra Sveriges Skogsägares Förbund. Later that year, the Federation changed its name to Södra Skogsägarna. At the time, Sydöstra Sveriges Skogsägares Förbund was divided into forestry districts. This system was also carried over into the new association, which was broken down into 125 forestry districts and 12 regions.
Skånes Skogsägare became affiliated with Södra in 1992, and Bohuslän and Dalsland on 1 January 2007.