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Conference paper2002Peer reviewed

The role of broad-leaved tree species in Swedish forestry

Johansson, Tord


Historically, broad-leaved trees have been utilised as a producer of pulpwood and timber, for medical purpose, as fodder for cattle, for making potash, for pollarding, coppice etc. Noble species such as oak and beech have been managed for timber production the last 5-600 years. Among Nordic countries the largest oak plantings is localised on an island “Visingsö”. As the number of oak and beech stands decreased during 1960-1970 the authorities made a special law concerning management of beech. On the contrary the forest laws 1948 and 1979 stated that primarily conifers should be favoured on clear-cut areas. Only birches, mainly pendula birch, could be accepted as a main plant. Cleanings of young stands should be focussed on reducing or of broad-leaved trees. Large clear cut or reforested areas were treated by herbicides during 1960 and 1970. Then in 1985 there became a commercial value on pulpwood of birch. The prize for birch pulpwood is as high as for spruce pulpwood. Today there is a lack of birch for pulpwood in Sweden. The total growing stock for soft- and hardwoods was 2.9 bill. m3 in the survey period 1993-1997 (Anon, 2000). The percentage hardwood of total growing stock was 16% or 0.46 bill. m3. Among hardwood species, birch is the main species in Sweden. Pendula and pubescent birch include 68% of total growing stock of hardwoods, Table 3. Pubescent birch, which covers most of Sweden, is the main birch species, figure 2. Pubescent birch has its widest distribution in northern Sweden. Pendula birch is more evenly spread over Sweden with the main coverage in southern Sweden. European aspen, which is growing in total Sweden, is the second most frequent hardwood species with 9% if the growing stock figure 2. In Sweden there are two main noble tree species, oak and beech, which are growing mostly in southern Sweden, Table 3. The wood production in 1998 was 50.7 mill. m3 and 7% (3.6 mill m3) of the production was produced by hardwood species. Only parts of percentage were utilised for broad-leaved sawtimber. The consumption of broad-leaved wood and sawtimber from hardwood has also increased in 1995 compared with the amount in 1984. The timber prizes for birch are higher than for conifer timber. Small quantities of veneer are also produced. Oak and beech timber is used for making floors and furniture. During the last 20 years research on broad-leaved trees has changed from studying methods for cleaning conifer stands with the aim to reduce or completely remove the hardwoods to studying hardwood species as a challenge. Some implications on future research activities are given

Published in

Metsäntutkimuslaitoksen Tiedonantoja
2002, pages: 34-42 Title: Finnish Forest Research Institute, Research paper 847
ISBN: 951-40-1827-3


Management and utilization of broadleaved tree species in Nordic and Baltic countries - Birch, aspen and alder

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

    Permanent link to this page (URI)