He is four years older than Södra, and has been a member since 1962. Ingvar Svensson from Lövshult has many memories of Södra, and he gladly talks about them when we visit him at his farm outside Lammhult. “I’m just a normal person who had the opportunity to make an impact during a turbulent time,” he tells us.
In 1979, 33 year-old Lars-Eric Åström was elected as the youngest ever member of Södra’s Board. When he stepped down in 2010, after 18 years as Chairman and 31 years on the Board, he was appointed Honorary Chairman.
Forests have traditionally been owned and used by farmers. And they still are. Despite Gustav Vasa’s Crown land and companies’ purchases, most Swedish forests are still in private hands.
Cecilia Rooth has dedicated her entire life to forestry. She is a forest owner at Flakulla estate in Blekinge and Chairperson of the women’s network, Grenverket. Over the years, as a safety officer and an instructor, she has taught many forest owners how to use chainsaws and brush cutters.
Organising the company into forestry districts has facilitated better service to forest owners. Forest inspectors who were trained in forest management were employed at an early stage to help spread knowledge about forests.
Today, more than one-third of forest owners in Sweden are women, and “forest owner” is the largest category of female-owned businesses in the country. But that hasn’t always been the case.