More of Everything: A Film About Swedish Forestry
Protect the Forest and Greenpeace Nordic (2021)
In this documentary, Swedish environmentalists lambast the Swedish forestry model, which is promoted worldwide as a “sustainable” method of reducing carbon emissions.
It’s clear from the film that the model promoted by the Swedish timber industry (with government support) increases, rather than decreases, carbon emissions for a number of reasons.
The model involves aggressive clear cutting of Sweden’s northern old growth forests, which are replaced with forest plantations of monoculture Scotch pine or spruce. Both are harvested after ten years for use in construction and production of biofuel.
Although plantations are replanted, It takes 10 years or more before new trees are mature enough to sequester as much carbon as the trees they replace. Ecologists also dispute industry claims that clear cutting accomplishes the same purpose as wildfires in thinning overgrowth. Whereas clear cutting eliminates virtually all life, forest fires leave lots of dead wood to decay and nurture new growth, along with occasional living trees and rich ash-filled soil.
In addition to adding substantially to Sweden’s carbon emissions,* replacing Sweden’s native forests with tree plantations also destroys habitat for endangered species** and contributes to loss of ecosystem services, such as pollination, water cleansing and flow regulation, air purification and soil formation.
Swedish environmentalists call for an end to the EU subsidy ($6.5 billion euros in 2017) that pays the Swedish timber industry to clear cut the country’s old growth forests. With 60% of it lost in the last 70 years, the current plan is to replace all of it with tree plantations by the end of the century.
They also call for full restoration of the native Swedish forests.
*At present, most of Sweden’s carbon emissions derive from its forestry industry.