Green-washing & retro forestry

August 17, 2018 in SWEDEN | Comments (22)

I suspect the law does not cover all our concerns regarding clear-cutting (kalhygge). And worse, I suspect it never will.

How green is Sweden?

Biodiversity is still a catchword, but carbon trapping has become the trump card. If Swedish forestry companies wipe out a large number of species that is something for the tree huggers to mourn over – normal Swedes are proudly told that Sweden is super-green: Sweden is providing sustainable building materials and trapping carbon faster than the country releases it by cutting forests before they get old, and planting new. The industry has hijacked the word “sustainable”.   Extensive and expanded kalhygge seems to have become equal to “sustainable forestry”  because it allows them to plant lots of new carbon trapping trees.

So is Sweden happy to become a vast carbon trapping factory with big forest companies ruling alongside increased consumption of wood based materials? A factory where all that counts is production, and the deep forest culture of Sweden can be swept into the past?


Deteriorating scenery?

You can cut a forest down every 60 to 80 years – if they cut too many within a limited geographic area you are left with a bald and deserted landscape with (in our usually cold climate) a patchwork of  bare scarred earth, impenetrable brush and slow growing plantations.

devastation SMALL

“Kalhygge” 1km from Ramshyttan in May 2018

This is what is happening in a big radius around Ramshyttan…and along Bergslagsleden (felling followed by impenetrable brush and plantation). Since Sveaskog has the whole country to play with, they can leave some forests somewhere else for future cutting. But Ramshyttan area does not benefit from that. If they take our last forests now, they will have nothing to cut in the area for some 40 to 70 years and we will have no forests in this country of forests though we are grateful for the nature reserves.  (A nature reserve protects a narrow band of trees along our little stream that flows out of Sågdammen into Kvarndammen, and on to Lilla Ramsjön; and protects a band of trees some 1km along a canal to near Lilla Damsjön – we also have a nature reserve consisting of meadows and some copses of deciduous trees)


The greening of Sweden?

The forestry business has a sizable investment in propaganda films that present a vision of Sweden as a heroic carbon trapper. Of course carbon trapping is good, but these films suggest old forests are dispensable as young growing forests trap more carbon. In such films we see giant machines (which will destroy the ground from earth to sky, obliterate animal homes, and reduce biodiversity) operating to happy music with a techno-enthusiast’s dream of GPS to guide them, while the ground is left merrily bare except for fallen branches that will be used for biofuel. If biofuel is going to release some carbon into the air, we are not told.

Is this applause for carbon trapping the reason Sveaskog took a step backwards in terms of sustainable forestry and began doing “kalhygge” all around us. Retro forestry!

Can they shelve their internal green revolution and still claim to be green? Apparently yes, to the detriment of our environment and our healthy forest recreation lifestyle.

You can’t walk in the new plantations for some 30 years or more – and they don’t feel like or look like forests for a very long time, definitely not fairytale magical forests (trolska skogar)

In the new “green” retro forestry, there is little respect for forest recreation with walking, riding, biking, berries and mushroom picking nor for Sweden’s ancient cultural fascination for old forest enchantment.  The paintings of Hans Arnold, the film Dunderklumpen, the forest trolls come to mind – will there be any “trolska skogar” left?

Sweden has preserved less virgin forest than countries that are considered as forest destroyers, and sits around 100th in the world for forest protection. But Center party has gone out to claim the virtue of Sweden as a carbon trapper and insists that 20% of the forests are protected. The Miljö party in Nora has not answered any of my mails about our distress in Ramshyttan. Apparently couldn’t care – or have also adopted kalhygge as sustainable forestry and a good way to get biofuel. The social democrats are traditionally happy with industrial thinking and big boss style – a nice big carbon trapping factory from border to border might suit them too?

Can anyone tell me which political party in Sweden understands the true meaning of sustainable behaviour/economy? Sustainable means you can go on doing it without destroying everything… cultural and spiritual, economic and social.


A microeconomic focus ?

Can we not put high value on small business and growth in rural areas? ? Ecotourism has tremendous potential for us in Ramshyttan, Nora and Örebro län. With due respects Örebro castle and the big Ica might bring a few busloads of Chinese tourists to Örebro but the real attraction for urban European tourists is our unspoiled environment of lakes and forests and the walking trails and mountain biking trails.  Beauty might be a suspect word in economics but it is everything in tourism. It’s hard to be happy about Sweden’s carbon footprint when our own environment in Ramshyttan and Bergslagsleden  is being subjected to huge “sores” – vast Kalhygge that might even make  a biker choose another route. See the video clip along a road at the perimeter of our village. We need our forests.





Early this summer (2018) we suddenly had a vast and devastating Kalhygge at one of the entrances to our village (see posts July & August 2018) though in recent years Sveaskog have limited themselves to checker board cutting which is less offensive to the eye, less disruptive to animal life and less destructive for biodiversity. At least 3 of us burst out crying when we saw the devastation of our favorite berry and mushroom forest, a once pleasant walk from home.

When the danger of fire was over after the summer they were back. With a petition from Ramshyttan village to save 10 forests on their table (small forests shown in the attached map) they without warning during the night brought in subcontractors to do a clear cut (kalhygge) adjoining the last bigger kalhygge, now facing one of the village properties.  Its not that they ignored our petition – Sveaskog have been very pleasant and agreed to look again at the plans for the small forests intimately associated with the village; they apparently just didn’t realize that the area opposite Grindtorp farm’s meadows is considered part of our environment in Ramshyttan.

So what is awaiting the axe?

The below map shows projected forestry operations in the village of Ramshyttan – due to commence soon (as of 18 Aug 2018). Outside the map and north of the village, four clearcutting operations (kalhygge) took place between May and 16 Aug, including its northern entrance by Ramshyttans Horse Farm.

10 places to cut

1, 2, 3 – an integral part of the village

Most important for the villagers are 1, 2 and 3 on the map which provide wind shelter, traffic noise protection, recreation (and are a vital part of the look of the village).


2 – the ski trail

2 is also an impressive part of the ski trail through Ramshyttan from Ånnaboda to Digerberget; and 3 is flush with the home of Vic and Kathleen Fenn – almost in their garden!


4 – scenic road by Ramsjön

4 is a small forest gracing the banks of Ramsjön’s scenic road to Ramshyttan..


5 on Bergslagsleden


5 is an old rugged forest on Bergslagsleden – a favourite spot to take riders from Ramshyttans Hästgård / Horse Farm (it also has a small stream with a bridge). Marie Elfversson will be very sad to see that destination disappear and become kalhygge, followed by brush or uninteresting young impenetrable plantation.

(A nature reserve protects a narrow band of trees along our little stream that flows out of Sågdammen into Kvarndammen, and on to Lilla Ramsjön; and protects a band of trees some 1km along a canal to near Lilla Damsjön – we also have a nature reserve consisting of meadows and some copses of deciduous trees)

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