Reindeer are incredible animals that possess several adaptations to extremely cold weather that allow them to survive in some of the world’s toughest conditions.
Sadly, even their special survival features haven’t protected them from global decline, caused by factors including competition for resources, illegal logging and deforestation. But logging can be done responsibly and managed to make sure the area remains a forest in the long term, and continues to provide shelter and food for reindeer and other animals.
SWEDEN, LAND OF FORESTS
More than half of Sweden (69%) is covered with forests; with almost 10% of the world’s sawn timber, pulp and paper exports coming from Sweden, timber production is crucial to the national economy.
Twelve million hectares – around 40% – of Swedish forests are Forest Stewardship Council© (FSC©) certified. FSC helps take care of forests, as well as the people and wildlife calling them home, and its global forest certification system lets people buy forest products with confidence that they’re helping to protect our forests for generations to come.
‘FSC provides one way for the Sami people to continue their traditional way of life of reindeer herding.’
OLOF T. JOHANSSON
A WAY OF LIFE
FSC certification has brought with it positive changes for the indigenous Sami population. The Sami live in north-western Sweden and traditionally gain their livelihoods from reindeer herding.During the winter the semi-wild reindeer herds migrate from the mountains to the valley forests.
Although the Sami people have customary rights to graze their reindeer in these forests, where, when and how is not specified in law.
A large part of the forest area in the region is managed by FSC certified forest companies; here the Sami are consulted about how forest management activities affect their ability to feed and move their herds.
In Sweden, as the forests are primarily boreal (cold, temperate, dominated by taiga and forests of birch, poplar and conifers), ‘clear-cutting’ has been used for over a century. A clear-cut is an area in the forest where most of the trees are logged in a single operation. The area is then typically replanted within two years of harvest.
FSC demands that all trees valuable for biodiversity are retained during harvesting. Hollow trees, canopy trees and old trees that have survived disturbances are valuable for many species and are used by more vertebrates and insects than regular mature trees.