Swedish forestland is in a final stage of a comprehensive and radical transformation from intact forests or extensive production forests with high biodiversity values, to forest monocultures with no, or very small, potential for biodiversity. The transformation from primary forests - that have never been clear-felled - to monocultures impoverish the rich biodiversity. 75 per cent of the populations of species included in the IUCN red list as threatened, are now decreasing. Clear-cutting of natural forests still take place on a large scale. Monocolture and clear-cutting seems to be the only accepted forest management in Sweden.
Since the monoculture is based on planting trees, it's belied to be "sustainable forestry". Sustainable because the managed forest can keep its productivity in the time. But a forest is more than a production plant, and sustainability should mean that all forest services are intact, as well as its biodiversity. A recent study released in Sweden by researchers at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Future Forests, says that growing a diverse array of tree species for timber production contributes a broader array of valuable ecosystem services compared to industrial monocultures. The researchers looked six different ecosystem services afforded by forests (tree growth, carbon storage, berry production, food for wildlife, occurrence of dead wood, and biological diversity) as well as tree growth rates. It found that "all six services were positively related to the number of tree species" suggesting that mixed forests can potentially offer a broader array of forest products.
The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) is now challenging what they call "the Swedish system" of forest management: large-scale monocolture and clear-cutting. A system that shapes all forest production activities. Even certification cannot represent a sufficient safeguard for biodiversity. In Sweden, certification had to adapt to the "Swedish system" and not the other way around. In a report recently released by SNCC, even the FSC Certification, the best forest management standard, is strongly criticized. And it is not an easy task for them. SNCC was among the founders of FSC - Sweden, in 1998, and worked hard. But for many years SSNC documented the poor implementation of FSC-standard on the field, by the large forest companies. Swedish conservationists repeatedly document clear-fellings of natural forests, woodland key habitats and habitats for threatened species – all under the flag of the FSC-standard. Since 2009, the SNCC has submitted formal complaints to FSC, and again, it had to experience the poor management of complaint procedures, and none of the reviewed forest owners' certificates have been suspended.
"In Sweden, repeated and obvious deviations to the FSC-standard has been left without serious consequences - says Karin Åström, of SNCC - Certified companies have been able to continue violating the FSC-standard without suspension of the certification."
The report is available at SNCC web site