Tuesday, 13 December 2016 10:32

Greater consideration for forest water

Södra has become the first company in Sweden to sign Green Forest Management Plans* that also integrate environmental considerations for watercourses. This is the latest step in Södra’s nature conservation programme.  

Södra has become the first forest company in Sweden to include considerations for the aquatic environment in its Green Forest Management Plans. The initiative is part of efforts to increase awareness about water and to create viable habitats in and around watercourses. It is known as “Blue Targets” and it describes the values contained in the watercourses and outlines what consideration measures or actions are necessary in and around watercourses to preserve or enhance the values.

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The four Blue Targets: 

  • VG - Water environment with general water considerations. Requires that consideration be shown in accordance with environmental certifications and the Swedish Forestry Act.
  • VF - Water environment with strengthened water considerations. For this target, there are strengthened ambitions for buffer zones, the volume of dead wood and consideration when driving.
  • VS - Water environment with specific water conservation measures. The ambitions are high for this target. Measures under consideration may be regenerative, creative or restorative. The design of these measures is determined on a case-by-case basis and depends on the objective of the measure.
  • VO - Water environment to be left untouched. This includes sensitive aquatic environments that are best left untouched. These areas already display or may gain high conservation value.

Previously, Södra focused on dividing the forest stands into different nature conservation environmental classifications and addressed the issue of water in accordance with environmental certifications and the Swedish Forestry Act. Södra is now raising its level of ambition and adding systematic environmental classification of water.

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“This represents an important step to further enhance consideration of water and the nature conservation value associated with water. The forest is an important element in facilitating the transition to a fossil-free society, and thus a good balance between active management and effective environmental consideration is required,” said Tomas Rahm, Environmental Manager at Södra Skog.

The conservation value assessment of water and the Blue Targets were developed by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and a network of forest operators. Södra has now become the first forest company to implement these in its day-to-day operations. The conservation value assessment of the watercourses forms the basis of the Blue Targets. The targets subsequently serve as important tools to manage the conservation values close to water and to specify the level of ambition for the aquatic environment. The Blue Targets were introduced in Södra’s forest management plans on 1 September and will also be available digitally in the future. 

“This will ultimately mean that we, the forest owners and the contractors will have easy access to information regardless of our location. We work tirelessly to identify new solutions to continuously improve and develop forestry,” said Tomas Rahm.

*Södra’s Green Forest Management Plan acts as a tool and support for forest owners. It includes an inventory of the forest status, the objective of the estate and planned measures to ensure environmentally compatible and financially successful forestry.

Södra was founded in 1938 and is the largest forest-owner association in Sweden, with a membership of more than 50,000 forest owners. We engage in modern and responsible forestry, and operate state-of-the-art mills in which we process our raw material. Through value-generating relationships and a long-term approach, Södra is leading the way for the next generation of forestry. 


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