Forestry supplies the forestry industry with timber. The largest forestry industries in Värmland are sawmills and the pulp, paper and cardboard industry. These are important industries for both Sweden and Värmland. The export value is high.
Värmland is a forest county. 87% of Värmland is covered by forests. Or a total area of 1.75 million hectares. 1.3 million hectares of this is productive forest land. Forestry impediments (bogs & rock) account for just over 0.2 million hectares. Farmland makes up just 0.12 million hectares.
Virtually all productive forest land in Värmland is privately owned. In certain parts of the country, forestry companies are the dominant owner (34% of the area). In other parts, ownership is dominated by private individuals. Ca 20,000 people own 61% of the forest area. Less than 5% of productive forest land in the county is in public ownership. This is a very low proportion, compared with the rest of Sweden.
Since the 1950s, even-aged stand management has been the dominant form of forest farming. This means that all trees in an area are felled at the same time. The ground is then prepared and replanted. This is done on a 80-100 year cycle. During this period, the forest owner performs planting, clearing, thinning and felling. Spruce and pine are the two dominant types of tree in forestry.
In Sweden, there are two forest policy goals, each with equal weighting, a production goal and an environment goal. The following applies in forestry for nature conservation and leisure pursuit purposes:
- Branches, roots and tops are left on felling. Many people think this looks untidy. However, almost all the nutrients are then left in the forest when the branches, roots and tops are left behind.
- Forestry machinery is large and heavy. To prevent tyre damage to the surface, brushwood matting is laid on wet sections The best time to operate large machinery is when the ground is frosted.
- Paths should be protected and tyre damage avoided. High stubs are left along walking trails. This is to mark the trail route for drivers to avoid machinery being driven over the trail by mistake. High stubs are also used to mark cultural heritage sites that are to be protected. The high stubs are also a valuable additional source of dead wood so important for biodiversity.
- There are nature conservation areas around waterways and lakes. The edges of felled areas are often designated as nature conservation areas to enable the edges to become irregular.
- The forestry industry strives to fell smaller areas, compared with earlier decades.
There are negative aspects to the forestry industry and it is subject to criticism but various measures are being taken to reduce the negative consequences.