Image-of-the-Week: Sweden’s Green Veneer


Virgin spruce forest in Fulufjället National Park, Sweden.: Credit: Vilseskogen via Flickr.Virgin spruce forest in Fulufjället National Park, Sweden. Credit: Vilseskogen via Flickr.

Sweden is renowned for its beautiful boreal forests of spruce and pine—and for its sustainable environmental policies. But an article by photojournalist Erik Hoffner in Yale Environment 360 sheds light on its dark forestry practices. Surprisingly lax Swedish forestry laws leave many logging decisions to the appetites of timber companies, with 37 percent of forestry operations now prioritizing production over conservation. As a result, Sweden’s forest is rapidly “younging,” with nearly half its woodlands too immature to harvest. The latest trend is to log old diversity-rich forests in the Arctic north, where regeneration is glacially slow. “[T]he country’s supposedly sustainable forestry practices are little more than a green veneer,” writes Hoffner. “Large areas of forest, particularly the oldest tracts in the north, are being felled with little regard for the biodiversity they harbor.”

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  • Julia Whitty is the environmental correspondent for Mother Jones. Her latest book is Deep Blue Home: An Intimate Ecology of Our Wild Ocean. For more of her stories, click here.