All subjects
Opinion & Commentary

Updated SNS report provides nuanced view of the Nordic forest sector

Updated SNS report provides nuanced view of the Nordic forest sector
Harvesting operations in a sustainably managed forest in south-central Sweden.

The Nordic countries account for only 1.6 percent of the world’s total forest area, but this is an important percentage. Sweden and Finland contribute 16 percent of global exports of sawnwood products and paper, and 14 percent of pulp exports, according to newly released Nordic Forest Statistics 2023.

An error occurred

You are logged in as subsbriber at Bioenergy International, but something is wrong.

On your profile you can see what subscriptions you have access to and more information.

Is some of the information wrong – please contact our customer service.

Please reload the page

We could not ascertain if you are logged in or not. Please reload this page.
Bioenergy International premium

Do you want to read the whole article?

Only logged in payed subscribers can read all contents on
As an subscriber you get:
  • Six editions per year
  • Full access to all digital content
  • The E-magazine Bioenergy international
  • And more ...

Forests in Sweden and Finland, in particular, have been actively managed for a long time, and although much has been harvested, both countries have doubled their timber stocks over the past 100 years.

Nordic forests are also important for biodiversity in Europe, especially through the contiguous older forests in the northern part. Sweden, Norway, and Finland are the only European countries that, according to the Biodiversity intactness index, are above the planetary limit for biodiversity.

This and much more are reported in the compilation Nordic Forest Statistics 2023, which is an extended collection of statistics since the previous pilot version from 2020, initiated and supported by Nordic Forest Research (SNS), a cooperating body financed with Nordic funds under the auspices of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The 53-page report contains statistics on resources, industry, trade, prices, environment, and climate.

All tables and graphs are based on official statistics, but in some cases, they have been specially edited by the authors’ Mats Hannerz and Håkan Ekström.

”Nordic exceptionalism”

For instance, the authors note that the global World Happiness Report, an initiative of the United Nations, ranks the five Nordic countries in the top ten, and has done so since 2013.

The rankings by OECD in the Better Life Index show a similar pattern, still with the Nordic countries among the top ten countries in the world. Many explanations have been given to ”Nordic exceptionalism”, such as low inequality, trust in institutions, and well-functioning democracy, and also its history without feudalism.

Another area of exceptionalism is the region’s crucial role in the forests, particularly in Sweden and Finland– something that has come under fire from “less than happy” yet well-funded environmental organizations.

In world rankings, Sweden and Finland rank number 3 and 5, respectively in the exportation of sawn wood, and number 3 and 4 in paper export.

The total forest area of the five countries is only 1.6 percent of the global forest area. Still, paper/paperboard and sawn wood exports account for 16 percent of both sectors of global export.

The Nordic forests are also a significant contributor to combat climate change, both as a provider of substitutes to fossil products and as a carbon sink in its growing stock.

Besides, forests are home to thousands of species, some endemic to the region, and they also constitute an appreciated recreation area for people throughout Europe.

Most read on Bioenergy International

Get the latest news about Bioenergy

Subscribe for free to our newsletter
Sending request
I accept that Bioenergy International stores and handles my information.
Read more about our integritypolicy here