From sapling to product in 90 years
The trees that Iggesund will use in its production in 90 years’ time are being planted today. This calls for responsibility and long-term thinking. Long before the trees are felled, a series of important steps are taken in forest management to promote the forest’s quality.
The work begins in the nursery and continues with ground preparation at the growing site. Clearing takes place within 10 years, partly to favour the right tree species in each individual habitat in the forest. Much later the forest is thinned out once or twice, and almost a century after planting the result is a full-grown pine or spruce up to 24 metres high.
Wood raw material
Iggesund buys all its wood raw material from its sister company Holmen Skog, which manages its own forest (since 1609) and buys wood from private forest owners and other forest companies.
Holmen Skog carries out a meticulous inventory of its entire forest holding every 10 years. The inventory details the mix of tree species and their age distribution. This data is used to carry out a felling calculation 100 years ahead, which forms the basis for operational work in the districts.
Plant refinement is an important factor in increasing growth. Holmen Skog has its own modern nurseries and produces some 30 million pine and spruce saplings every year.
“Meticulous planning and good plant material are the most powerful ways of increasing growth in the forest,” says Erik Normark, head of R&D at Holmen Skog. “Our saplings generate 17 to 20 percent better growth compared to the forest’s natural rejuvenation.”
Newly planted saplings lead a dangerous life, particularly with pine weevils that cause serious damage. Holmen Skog is moving over to the use of mechanical protection in the form of a wax applied to the saplings to prevent the pine weevils from climbing up. This eco-friendly protection replaces the poisons previously used to combat pine weevil damage.
After thinning, the 2,300 or so saplings that were planted on each hectare result in 700 to 800 full-grown trunks. However, not all the trees are felled. There are extensive guidelines on how forestry should enhance biological diversity and protect biotopes that demand consideration. Some trees are left in the forest as conservation trees or as protection zones next to watercourses, while some areas are excluded from felling altogether.
Every year Holmen Skog fells about 3 million cubic metres of forest raw material on its own land, which is less than the annual growth in the forests. The forest can be likened to equity that constantly grows, despite using some of the interest.
TEXT: NILS SUNDSTRÖM