Myths and misconceptions

What is right and what is wrong in forestry? The opinions are strong, and the viewpoints disparate. There are, however, scientifically substantiated facts that cannot be ignored. Here we debunk some of the most common myths and misconceptions about today's forestry.

Statement 1

The forest industries leave great consideration for nature.

Answer 1

Wrong! Clear-cutting of forests with high natural values ​​is one of the main reasons forest species are threatened and endangered.

Read more about this in Angelstam et al. 2020

Statement 2

By planting two trees for every tree that is cut down, Sweden will gain more forests.

Answer 2

Wrong! The forest industries claim that the words “tree” and “forest” are interchangeable. A forest contains many more species than just the trees. In addition, a monocultured forest planted after an old-growth forest has been clear-cut, has a significantly lower biodiversity.

See Paillet et al. 2020 for a review

Statement 3

Planting trees can help counteract global warming.

Answer 3

Right and wrong! Old-growth forests capture a high amount of carbon. When they are clear-cut, huge amounts of carbon dioxide are released. Most of the felled trees are burned or become short-lived products that end up in the atmosphere quickly.

It will take a very long time for newly planted trees to compensate for the carbon dioxide that’s released after clear-cutting an old-growth forest. Typically, young forests will never catch up before being logged again.

Se figures in the end of Staffas et al. 2015

Statement 4

Increased felling and growth of biomass provides the greatest climate benefit.

Answer 4

Strongly questioned! In a recently published research study, the authors showed that it is better to reduce felling to combat global warming. Particularly in the northern parts of Sweden, where, according to the study, it is better for the climate to completely stop felling forests.

Read Skytt et al. 2021

Statement 5

Since we have many different forest owners, we also have a wide variety of forestry methods. And this leads to increased biodiversity.

Answer 5

Wrong! Most small forest owners use the same methods as the large forest companies, with clear-cutting and heavy harvesting machines wreaking havoc in the landscape. A diversity of forest owners has no connection to biodiversity.