The Forest Kingdom - with values for the world

The Forest Kingdom - with values for the world is Minister for Rural Affairs Eskil Erlandsson's vision for creating conditions for new jobs related to Sweden's forests and, in so doing, helping economic development in the countryside and in small towns and villages. The vision is based on the sustainable use of forests and the coequal objectives of environment and production.

Photo: Stefan Örtengren/Johnér

The Government sees great potential in forests. More than half of Sweden's area is forested and the forest industry employs more than 100 000 people, providing products from fuel and paper to furniture, housing and packaging. The forest gives us our largest export industry, with an export value of SEK 128 billion. It also accommodates values in the form of recreation, experiences and essential ecosystem services. And in the forest we also find nature's larder, with culinary ingredients such as game, wild berries and mushrooms.

The way to the Forest Kingdom

The Forest Kingdom vision is built up around a number of specially selected branches, which will form the basis of the work. The three initial branches of the Forest Kingdom - sustainable use of forests, processing and innovation, and experiences and recreation - have now been supplemented with an additional branch: Sweden in the world. These four branches are presented in the Forest Kingdom action plan, which is the result of contributions from people involved with forests all over Sweden.

Sustainable use of forests

The Forest Kingdom vision rests on the sustainable use of forests and is intended to help create conditions for increased production. At the same time, a balance will be maintained between the coequal forestry policy objectives of the environment and production. There is also scope in this area for issues such as sustainable production of biomass, the use of wood as a renewable material, the forest's importance for the climate, the timber trade, forest industry exports, ecosystem services, game management and more. The important issue of forestry skills provision is also addressed here, as is the Government's strategy for gender equality in the sector.

Processing and innovation

This area focuses on new ways to earn money from forests - from raw materials or from the living forest itself. It also encompasses the issue of increasing the degree of processing that takes place before timber is extracted from the forest. And it concerns stimulating development and innovation in green energy, new materials, wood-based products and wood construction, new technologies and more.

Experiences and recreation

The Forest Kingdom vision will widen the scope for experiences and activities, both within the tourist industry and for people who simply enjoy spending time in their local forests. Added value and innovation are key words. Areas to develop include, for example, angling and hunting as well as unique experiences - such as spending the night high up in a tree house or attending a concert in a forest glade.

Sweden in the world

Sweden has sound forestry expertise which can be of benefit to the rest of the world, in the form of both extensive exports and an active role in international forestry policy. By further developing technical know-how and products from forest raw materials, exports can grow even more. Sweden must also be well represented in international forums concerning forestry policy and disseminate knowledge about the Swedish forestry model of freedom with responsibility.