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Mapping of Norrbotten's forestry industry

Published: 2 October 2020

In the light of the ongoing work to develop a regional forest program for the county of Norrbotten, Luleå University of Technology has mapped the current importance of the forest industry for the county's economy, and viewed its future significance from a multi-use perspective.

– The report highlights in a good way the rapid change in the forest's traditional importance as only a raw material producer of timber and sawn timber to an important factor for society's development towards environmental, social and economic sustainability, Governor Björn O. Nilsson, says.

Production forest and forests worthy of protection

Norrbotten is Sweden's largest forest county and has large areas of production forest as well as forests worthy of protection. This means that the county's contribution to the national goals towards a circular and sustainable bioeconomy, as well as the forest's potential for innovation and research, ecosystem services, biodiversity and the hospitality industry are large.

The research report addresses many aspects of the importance of forests in the county and the concept of diversity.

– The forest industry continues to generate large financial income and job opportunities for Norrbotten, at the same time as it also contributes important public goods and services. The report highlights that the areas are being widened and how the forest is becoming increasingly important for, for example, recreational opportunities, water sources, biological diversity and uptake and binding in the growing forest, regional councilor Nils Olov Lindfors, says.

The development of the regional forest program in Norrbotten takes place in collaboration between the County Administrative Board of Norrbotten, Region Norrbotten and the Swedish Forest Agency. The report has been produced within the collaborative project Regional Renewal, which is conducted between the County Administrative Board of Norrbotten, the Norrbotten Region and Luleå University of Technology.

– The report shows the importance of a broad, flexible and inclusive definition of the forest industry in the county. The forest has many stakeholders and purposes that can give rise to conflicts of interest and goals. I hope the report and our research can contribute to us using the forest in a sustainable way, Birgitta Bergvall-Kåreborn, says Vice Chancellor at Luleå University of Technology.

The authors behind the report are Robert Lundmark and Victoria Eriksson, researchers in Economics at Luleå University of Technology.