More dialogue for a better forest experience
Forests close to urban areas, like all other types of forest areas, need to be properly managed in terms of both production and environmental considerations. One problem is that local residents have not known what is being done. In the Höör forestry operations area, Södra is now opening the door to improved dialogue.
The aim is to provide information about planned activities, and to explain why various measures are carried out. In addition, local residents and other interested parties will be able to express their views and ask questions.
"An unannounced change can often be perceived as something undesirable, especially when it affects the local area. Forestry measures are undertaken with a purpose and they lead to change, sometimes in several stages. By explaining why the measures are being carried out, the outcome will be more positive," says Johan Johnsson, Area Manager of the Höör forestry operations area.
Over the past year, the forestry operations area has focused on improving communication with local residents. Initiatives have included putting up information on site, publishing information on websites and dropping newsletters in letterboxes, as well as seeking direct contact with local residents. Over the summer, for example, Södra - in collaboration with the Municipality of Kristianstad - will invite local residents to participate in a meeting in Arkelstorp. The meeting will initiate dialogue around the measures that have been planned for forest land close to the residential area.
"Listening to the views of the people who live here is important. Dialogue is always a two-way process, we can't just provide information," says Johan Johnsson. "Although we have taken a few steps forward, there is still a great deal to be done. We will continue to refine this process."
Local residents' perception of the forest, and their desires, are important. These are typically a multi-functional forest, but also a forest that is well-managed. Most people want a forest that is accessible, without too much woody debris or driving tracks. The forest should be open and allow good visibility, preferably with a ground cover of blueberries or herbs.
"Most Swedes have formed their view of forestry in exactly this type of ‘urban forest,' which makes assignments in these forests a kind of signature mission," says Tomas Rahm, Environmental Manager at Södra Skog. "We need to work actively to demonstrate and explain how we conduct forestry."
However, accounting for all of these different interests is a balancing act. Consideration for natural values, for example, means that dead wood should not be removed from the forest because it creates habitats for other forms of wildlife. This is also a requirement for forest certification. It means that some places might appear less "well-managed" - which is the type of information that is important to explain.
Thomas Rahm, Environmental Manager, Södra Skog,
+46 (0)70-206 17 01
Johan Johnsson, Area Manager, Höör forestry operations area,
+46 (0)10-471 60 00
Södra's Pressroom, +46 470-890 90, email@example.com
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.