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Storm Alfrida downs 500 000 cubic metres of forest in Sweden

The storm Alfrida that drew across southern Sweden the first week in January 2019 has felled at least 500 000 m3 of forest according to a first inventory assessment by the Swedish Forest Agency. Hardest hit was Stockholm County.

Storm Alfrida downed at least 500 000 m3 of forest in Sweden according to a first inventory assessment by the Swedish Forest Agency (photo courtesy Swedish Forest Agency).

The Swedish Forest Agency has made its first overall inventory assessment to assess the damage situation in the forest after the storm Alfrida and the harsh winds that mainly affected the areas around Uppsala, Stockholm, and Gotland earlier this week.

Our initial assessment is that at least 500 000 forest cubic meters were felled by the storm Alfrida and that the biggest damage is in Stockholm County and then mainly in Norrtälje municipality, says Hans Källsmyr, Damage Coordinator at the Swedish Forest Agency.

In addition to these areas, the Agency has received reports of damage around southern and central Sweden. These reports consist mainly of single fallen trees, especially along edges of harvested areas and in newly thinned forests.

Overall, the damage is not extensive if we compare with other storms such as Gudrun 2005 and Per 2007, but locally, a lot of forest has fallen and individual forest owners may have been hit hard, said Hans Källsmyr.

Important to get out the timber in time

Forest owners in the storm-affected areas should as soon as possible acquire an overview of the extent of the damage. This also applies in areas with less damage. This is to avoid attacks by spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) and other insect pests.

With the already serious situation that we have with spruce bark beetle after the dry summer, it is now imperative that affected forest owners start planning to get out the wood from the forest at an early stage, said Hans Källsmyr.

Safety first

However, logging is a dangerous occupation especially so in storm-damaged stands. Forest owners who do not have the necessary knowledge and the right protective equipment should not leave on their own in the forest to take care of windthrown trees.

Keep away from damaged trees and avoid walking near trees lying in tension or hanging in other trees. Also, remember never to work alone in storm-felled forests, cautioned Hans Källsmyr.

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