From the stage at Wood Square, moderator Ellinor Persson guides visitors to Elmia Wood through a varied and interesting programme. On Friday, for example, the exciting trio of Louise Karlberg from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Anders Nilsson from the Swedish Hunters Association and Paul Christensson from LRF Skog/Södra Skogsägarna gathered for a panel discussion on the theme “How do we shape our future forestry?”
Although the trio naturally had different views on some issues based on their specific interests, what was otherwise most interesting and forward-looking was how much they actually had in common:
“We need to get out of the polarised thinking that sometimes characterises forestry. We know we have a climate crisis. We know we have to take action for biodiversity. It is possible to do good things together,” Paul Christensson says.
“We see all the challenges that the forest faces,” adds Louise Karlberg. “How to make it profitable, how to make it adaptable, how to contribute to climate change. We see that forestry needs to change. And we know that with the long lead times of forests, that will take time. But – forest owners – don’t close your ears when we advocate for nature-based forestry. It’s not a new forestry method but rather an ecological principle: we manage the forest within this framework and together we have to determine what’s right.”
“And what’s right for one forest owner doesn’t mean it’s right for anyone else,” adds Anders Nilsson. “Variation in Swedish forestry is important. Traditionally, when everyone follows suit, things go wrong. Allow differences, think freely and dare to do things differently,".
Raise our sights
All three also advocated raising our sights in a visionary way.
“We’ve gotten bogged down in the details – chaffinches or no chaffinches. I would like it to be much more about business models. The forest resources will not be enough for everything – how can we work to make the best possible things from the raw material. Visionary business models are the key,” Louise says.
“New business models are definitely interesting. How can we stimulate circularity,” Paul explains. “Södra will now compensate forest owners who have more nature conservation than the minimum level through a premium. This is an example of how those who take greater responsibility must also be able to get paid for it.”
“And that’s when we come back to flexible forms of protection. There must be no fear of the state confiscating the forest if you do ‘too much right’. The forest owner must not be afraid of creating nature values. Ownership is a key issue," Anders adds.
“My impression is that forest owners are keen to make the journey to sustainable forestry. Politicians must now ensure that there are incentives to do the right thing," says Paul.
How will we achieve the future goals?
“Through wise dialogue. There are definitely competing interests at home at the farm level. It must be easy to do the right thing," Paul adds.
“I agree. We have to do this together. Everything must be connected,” says Louise.
“We must stimulate multifaceted forestry – encourage people to dare to do things differently,” Anders concludes.
Moderator Ellinor Persson led the debate between Paul Christensson, Louise Karlberg and Anders Nilsson.