Often our guests reflect upon our forest. It is so beautiful they say. What is it that makes it so beautiful?
There is a 5 minutes radio program every morning called “tankar för dagen” (thoughts of the day). Two days ago a biologist/journalist talked about the Swedish forest. Though there was nothing really new in what she said to me (as I am a biologist as well) I got deeply touched the way she described it. Her conclusion kind of was that we are deceived to call areas with trees “forest” no matter if it is only a tree orchard or a real natural old forest. Because of that it is easy implementing into peoples minds that about 2/3 of Sweden is covered with forest which is misleading and confusing as most of it actually are planted young tree orchards.
We are concerned about the last rainforests cut down in the Amazonas- at the same time we cut down Swedens last old natural forests. Her conclusion was there should be different names for real forests and the tree orchards we inadequately call forest as well. In fact we do not call man made water reservoirs lakes and we do not call man made canals rivers.
Unfortunately the value of forest increases to insane proportions and today it practically seen not possible to buy forest without financing it by making clear cuts. People who don´t need the money are persuaded and lured to take down their forest anyway as the forest companies make them believe the trees are “mature”, like grain, and will be ruined if not taken down immediately. What a nonsense. But of course. The land owner has a hard time saying no when imagining the money it will bring and the forest company of course wants them to take down the forest as the industries need the timber and their employees need the job.
So. There are a lot of misunderstandings and lack of knowledge about forest out there. With present timber prices that are ridiculously high the pressure on the woods is immense.
So what makes a natural forest?
Of course the answer can be made into a science, but really it is a easy thing. Just leave it to its natural successions! Be not too eager tidying up when trees are dying or coming down with a storm. Keep in mind that dead trees (both standing up and fallen down)have a “life after death”. They are necessary if we want to keep a multitude of different species like woodpeckers, owls and other birds, lichens, insects…
We need wet and swampy areas just as we need dry spots, we need dark forests just as we need open areas. We need a mixture of old and young trees. The diversity gives us the biodiversity. A forest orchard will give us lots of raspberries for some years but not the continuity our species need to be able to survive in the long term.
I think people instinctively can feel our forest is allowed to be natural even if they are not professionals. Though (or maybe “as”) at Urnatur the forest is our place of work we actually put the forest in the first place. And this harmony and balance our guests subconsciously can feel.
More eco tourism would be good for Sweden!
You want to make an effort for old forest in Sweden? Well, there are of course different ways, as , for land owners, not cutting down the forest in the first place. Here is a site where you can contribute to make a difference: a click for the forest – make a click every day!
It is for free but helps funding to be able to keep old forests.
But we need to do more!