Translated from swedish with Google translate:

The forest and the climate.
Stig-Olof Holm, forest researcher and senior lecturer in ecology, Umeå University

I will tell you a little about the importance of the forest to cope with the global climate crisis.
The ongoing climate change is only one of the global environmental effects that human expansion causes, what is also usually called growth. Other effects of growth are mass extinction of the world's biodiversity, and that the various natural resources that will supply humans in the future are rapidly declining, such as water resources, arable land, the world's reserve of phosphorus needed for artificial fertilizers in industrial agriculture, etc. It is important to remember this, that the climate crisis is due to growth, but that even if we solve the climate crisis, it will still be unsustainable in the end if growth were to continue. Then there will be more and more conflicts, wars over the last few remaining remnants of natural resources in the world. This planet is finite, then it does not work with an infinitely increasing growth.

This means that what I will now talk about, the role of the Swedish forest in solving the climate crisis, is only a small partial solution to the more radical major societal change that is required globally and also in Västerbotten and Umeå. It is partly about a change in technology, but mostly about a sharp reduction in consumption among the rich. That is, one moves from growth economics to nerve plant economics. This is absolutely necessary if we are to succeed in avoiding a gradual collapse.

If we only look at the climate issue, the time factor is now crucial. The UN Climate Panel has concluded that we must very quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as increase the sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere, so that the content of carbon dioxide in the air is reduced. To meet the 1.5 degree goal, we must halve emissions in the world within about 9 years, by the year 2030, and by the year 2050 come down to net zero emissions in the world. If we are to achieve the 2 degree goal, that time limit will be pushed forward by a decade or so. Should this not succeed, ie the content of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continues to increase, there is a risk of exceeding various climatic threshold effects - so-called "Tipping points" -, then climate change shines by itself, then it is too late to do anything about it. That is why Swedish forestry must change quickly and radically, e.g. clear-cutting must cease immediately.

The Swedish forest ecosystem certainly constitutes a carbon sink of about 43 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. But a distinction must be made between forest and forestry, without forestry that carbon sink could increase to about 130 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Forestry emits, due to the felling of trees alone, about 80 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. The rest of Swedish society, other industries, traffic, etc. emit about 50 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. The forest sector thus accounts for an enormous amount of greenhouse gas emissions, which we must reasonably address. The current situation is not sustainable.

Trees that are now felled can be replaced by new trees, but in Sweden it takes too long. Maybe 100 years. The carbon dioxide that is emitted during felling and use of the biomass from the trees, is bound again around the year 2120, when the climate has slipped away a long time ago. It is also the case that almost all the trees are used for biofuel or paper, ie quickly become carbon dioxide. Only about 15 percent of the felling becomes the type of sawn timber, which is used, for example, for houses, so that the coal is stored for a longer period of time.

It does not help that you plant new plants, they do not have time to grow and resume carbon in 10 years, they are then still small trees a few meters high maybe, with a little carbon in them. It does not help that trees grow up in other parts of the world, because they would have done so even if the trees in Sweden had not been felled. Deforestation produces enormous net emissions in the short time we now have to cope with the climate crisis.

The international research community is fully aware that felling must be reduced in Sweden's and other countries' forests, it is the fastest way to retain and recover carbon from the atmosphere. Reforestation takes too long.

Of course, we can then not replace biofuel from forests by using fossil fuels instead, now emissions must be stopped quickly no matter where they come from. The atmosphere makes no difference where the carbon dioxide molecules come from, trees, oil, coal, peat, or gas, they all give an increased greenhouse effect.
If one also counts on the lost growth, thereby reducing the binding of coal, one can say that the emissions from the forest sector are about twice as large as the total emissions from the rest of Swedish society. The paper mills alone emit about 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, ie twice as much as the traffic. There is thus an enormous potential to quickly, easily and cheaply reduce Swedish greenhouse gas emissions, through changes in Swedish forestry, for example if clearing and thinning were to cease. Other climate measures such as the transfer of traffic to the railway, or so-called carbon capture technology in factories, can only result in small emission reductions, they take far too long to implement.

It will also be enormously more expensive for Swedish society, compared with changes in forestry. The forest sector only accounts for about 2.5% of Sweden's GDP, it accounts for 1.5-2 percent of employment, it provides only a few percent of tax revenues to the country's welfare. Net export revenue from the forest industry is certainly quite large: about SEK 100 billion per year. But this largely ends up in the pockets of shareholders, not as a supplement to the public welfare. Even the private forest owners, about 3% of the Swedish population own forests, get quite a bit of money from this. The prices of timber and especially pulpwood are low. It is mainly the forest companies' shareholders who also profit from the timber, which is delivered to the factories from private landowners.

In addition to reduced felling, the forest must be climate-protected. Now only pine or only spruce is planted on the fellings, this way of reforestation must stop. We need instead to get dense mixed forests on the felled and uncultivated stands that now exist, then the forest becomes more resistant to climate-related forest damage, ie drought, storm felling, insect damage, grazing damage, fungal damage, fires and more.
What is being done in the forests of Sweden today, means with great certainty that most of these conifer monocultures will die, it is actually for many reasons cure stupid, then for example much of the future possibility of absorbing carbon from the atmosphere in growing forest.

The transfer of forests to pine monocultures in northern Sweden and spruce monocultures in southern Sweden also constitutes the greatest single threat to Swedish biological diversity. According to the species database, about 53% of the red-listed species are forest-dwelling. Forestry affects the majority of the Swedish land area, i.e. the majority of Swedish nature. It is a daily ongoing ecological disaster, which is only progressing.
But it can be stopped, the damaged areas can be partially ecologically restored. The felling can be reforested with ordinary forests, similar to what was done in the past, the plantations are also replaced by ordinary semi-natural forest.

There are thus many reasons, to change forestry in Sweden, it is about the climate issue, the biological diversity, how the people of the future should retain some nature, etc. Now the pressure of public opinion must become so great that politicians are changing the legislation on forestry. That the government introduces regulations in the Forest Management Act to reduce felling; that clear-cutting is prohibited, in accordance with section 10 of the Forest Management Act; that rules be introduced on reforestation with mixed forest, where mixed forest can grow, in section 6 of the Forest Management Act. This must happen quickly, because time is running out.

We who fight for the climate now have some support from the European Commission. However, the government is not helping with this. Unfortunately, the Swedish government is instead trying to influence the EU, so that the current devastation of Swedish forests can continue. Together with 10 other countries, including Poland and Hungary, the government is now trying to influence the EU so that the so-called taxonomy for sustainable investments does not affect deforestation in Sweden. It is to be hoped, for the sake of future generations, that the government will not succeed in this.

The film's facts are based on Stig-Olof Holms texts:

The calculation of the emissions that the forest sector causes during a year, approximately 82 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, solely as a result of the felling of trees during a year, is based on published material, including the National Forest Assessment's Report Forest Data 2018. See the calculation below. It does not include the emissions due to humus being broken down on the clear-cut. Nor the emissions caused by forest digging.

If we look at the forest ecosystem as a whole, SLU's calculations show that the entire forest ecosystem in Sweden has a net storage of approximately 43 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. The Swedish forest is thus a carbon sink. But if you did not harvest the forest for a year, that figure could be increased by about 82 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, ie instead of just over 40 million tonnes, the reduction would be about 120 million tonnes. A year of reduced felling would also lead to a larger carbon dioxide storage in the trees, which may then remain at about 4.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, ie that the storage might end up in the order of 130 million tonnes of carbon dioxide if no felling is carried out.

The substitution effect that occurs when using wood instead of concrete amounts to about 1.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Since, according to the IPCC, we will halve emissions globally by 2030 and felled forest will grow again within only about 100 years, it is no longer possible to count the replacement of fossil fuels with forest biofuels as a functioning substitution. Therefore, we exclude that part of our calculations. Of course, we can not start using fossil fuels instead of biofuels. Even then, you would only replace one emission with another. That e.g. only continue to fly, continue with fossil emissions from aviation, if you only compensate for the climate by paying for forest planting, it will be just as wrong. Now the Keeling curve must be bent downwards.

One of the biggest Swedish climate culprits is the paper industry, an annual emission of about 30 million tonnes per year, ie a large part of the total of about 80 million tonnes from the forest sector. A calculation of that emission is attached below.

If you do not fell, or reduce felling, you need a replacement for the raw material from the forest. For example, as in Germany, you can use more straw for papermaking, more recycled paper. For heating, in cities the concept of deep rock drilling, to absorb heat from the earth before, for example, which is being worked on in Finland, could be an option. But first, politicians and the general public must agree on the major climate problem that Swedish forestry poses.

The effect of one year of felling on the net flow of CO2 into the atmosphere
Here we calculate the net flow of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere from an annual felling. We evaluate the effect as a net supply over a 10-year period. We choose 10 years as the evaluation period because the IPPC's 1.5-degree report recommends that we halve the net supply over the next decade. During the 10-year evaluation period, we can also make a rough but reasonable simplification-That the carbon bound in branches and leaves has been returned to the atmosphere and that the carbon in stumps and roots is still bound after 10 years. We base the figures on the following calculations: Annual felling amounts to approximately 90 million cubic meters of forest per year (Skogsdata 2018, figure 3.30). This figure includes stem and top. To also include branches, leaves, roots and stumps, we use the factor 1.80 (Skogsdata 2018 table 3.29). The total volume of biomass that is "harvested" will then be 1.8 * 90 = 162 million m3 / year. We assume, somewhat optimistically, that none of the carbon bound in stumps and roots is added to the atmosphere during the first ten years after felling. Stumps and roots correspond to about 25% of the felling volume, ie 0.25 * 162 = 41 million. Furthermore, we assume, somewhat pessimistically, that the carbon bound in branches and needles, which corresponds to 32 million m3, is released into the atmosphere within 10 years. Of the annual felling, approximately 18 million cubic meters are sawn wood products (Skogsstatistik årsbok 2014 page 199). Of this, 18% is used for packaging materials and pallets, which are assumed to have a service life of less than 10 years (Skogsstatistik årsbok 2014). The remainder 16 x 0.82 = 15.0million. m3antas have a lifespan longer than 10 years. The part of an annual felling whose carbon is quickly returned to the atmosphere consists of branches and needles (32 million m3) and short-lived products such as biofuels, black liquor, paper and hygiene products. Together, these correspond to 162-41-15.0 = 106 mill. m3, which is 106 million m3 * 0.42 * 0.5 * 3.67 = 82million. tons of CO2. This amount is thus assumed to emit to the atmosphere within 10 years. For conversion from cubic meters of forest raw material to carbon dioxide, we have used the following conversion factors: The dry weight for one cubic meter is set to 0.42 tonnes, the weight fraction of carbon in dry wood to 0.5, and to translate carbon to carbon dioxide a conversion factor of 3.67 is used. The amount of carbon dioxide in an annual felling can thus be calculated according to: 162 million m3 * 0.42 * 0.5 * 3.67 = 125 million. tons of CO2. The amount of carbon dioxide in other items is calculated in the same way. The amount of carbon dioxide emissions from the paper industry's firing of black liquor has been determined according to the following calculation: The composition of lignin can be approximated as C31H34O11, which means that 1 kg of lignin = 1.72 Mol. Given complete combustion, 31 CO2 molecules are released per lignin molecule, which corresponds to 53.3 moles of CO2, or 2.34 kg of CO2. Combustion of dry black liquor gives 12.7 GJ / ton. 50 TWh produced from black liquor thus corresponds to 180 million GJ = 14.2 Mton, or 33 Mton CO2.

The following sources have been used:

The composition of the lignin can be approximated to C31H34O11. The "molecular weight" is 582 Daltons and 1 kg lignin = 1.72 Mol. At complete combustion, 31 CO2 is formed per “lignin”. 2 C31H34O11 + 68 O2 -> 62 CO2 + 34 H2O. Complete combustion of 1 kg of lignin gives 53.3 Mol of CO2, which is 2.34 kg of CO2. Energy produced during the combustion of black liquor (dry) is 12.7 GJ / ton. 50 TWh produced from black liquor thus corresponds to 180 million GJ = 14.2 Mton of black liquor, which corresponds to 33 Mton CO2.

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency officially states that the national emission of carbon dioxide is about 52 million tonnes. But the approximately 80 million tonnes of emissions from the forest sector are not reported. This is because the regulations state that emissions from various biofuels must be counted as carbon neutral. That is, the emissions from the forest sector are thus not included in the official statistics that are available via the internet.

While emissions from the paper industry are about 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, the steel industry's emissions should amount to about 5-10 million tonnes.

Unfortunately, it is unknown to many that the forest sector emits so much greenhouse gases. But that is because it does not appear in the accounts, as it is counted as renewable fuel. That's it, but now the time has run out. We must be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 50% in 10 years. It takes about 100 years for forest to grow again. Only about 15% of the harvested volume is sawn timber that is stored for a longer period of time. Now it is the time factor that is important in the climate context.

Consider the climate in forest legislation

The regulations for how Swedish forests are to be used are found primarily in the Forest Management Act, but also in the Environmental Code. These rules need to be updated because they are outdated, they are not on par with the current situation. The current Forest Conservation Act was adopted in 1993, and since then the issues surrounding the human climate impact have received increasing attention.

The most problematic part of the climate issue is that time is running out. According to the IPCC's report Global warming to 1.5 degrees, emissions must be halved within about 10 years for us to have at least a 50% chance of meeting a limit of about 1.5 degrees warming in relation to pre-industrial times 1). If this does not happen, there is a risk that most of the world's coral reefs, with their enormous biodiversity, will be wiped out. If emissions continue to increase, so that warming passes 2-3 degrees, we risk a rampant climate, without return 2). Therefore, emissions must go down to zero by the year 2050 1), or preferably much earlier. Depending on how fast the fossil emissions are, negative emissions may also be required. This means not only halting, but also reforestation of large felling areas in the world that have previously been deforested 1). The crucial disadvantage of forest fuels is that they produce large immediate emissions. Although these emissions are taken back when the forest has grown up, it takes 80-100 years and we can not wait that long. The atmosphere makes no difference to carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and from biogenic sources. The fact that something is fossil-free does not mean that it is emission-free.

Swedish forest legislation does not address the climate issue at all. Are we looking at other legislation that affects forestry, e.g. the Environmental Code, there is also nothing written there about the forest and the climate. This also applies to the eco-labeling of the forest, FSC and PEFC. This is despite the fact that Swedish forestry's climate impact is enormous. This involves a direct emission of carbon dioxide of about 82 million tonnes per year, from the paper mills alone about 3 times as much carbon dioxide emits as from traffic. It must be compared with emissions from the rest of Swedish society, from traffic, aviation, agriculture, the steel industry, etc. of about 53 million tons 3). If we were to protect an additional 1% of the forest area, the next 10 critical years, when the Paris meeting's 1.5 degree target is to be met, it would contribute to a reduction in emissions of about 46 million tonnes of carbon dioxide 4). In addition, if many areas already felled were to be allowed to be reforested with mixed forest, instead of, as now, with pine or spruce monocultures, the new forest would be better able to withstand future increasing probabilities of climate damage. It is about reducing the risks of storm felling, fires, fungi and insect infestations.

Forestry, as it is now designed, is also the biggest direct threat to wildlife. According to the species database, about 53% of the red-listed endangered species in Sweden are forest-dwelling. Mainly felling of older natural forests and semi-natural forests harms biodiversity. Adjustments to forest legislation are thus needed both to reduce the climate threat and the threat to biodiversity.

Economy and employment must also be taken into account. But reduced deforestation would marginally affect these factors. Only about 1.5% of the country's employees are directly active in the forestry industry 5). Admittedly, the forest industry provides a large net export revenue, approximately SEK 90 billion per year 6). But for the Swedish economy as a whole, its contribution is more modest. The contribution to the Treasury from the forest sector is unclear due to the fact that the Riksdag's investigation service states that the tax income from shareholders in the forest companies cannot be calculated. The tax is probably only a few percent of the total tax revenue of about SEK 1,000 billion per year. A partial explanation lies in the fact that the state subsidizes the forest industry's price of electricity by approximately SEK 7 billion. In addition, there is the profit tax that the forest companies' shareholders pay, but it cannot be determined according to the Riksdag's investigation service, one reason for this is that financial income from share dividends can be set off against financial costs 7.8).

About 3% of Sweden's population are private forest owners. Most of these have their forest as a long-term investment, for hunting, outdoor life. Fewer are directly financially dependent on their forest holdings. There is thus much to suggest that Swedish forest legislation should be corrected towards greater global responsibility with regard to climate and biodiversity. These adjustments should be accompanied by financial support for forest owners. Those who own forests and choose to preserve those who take responsibility for the environment, future generations, should be able to receive grants for this. It is proposed that the EU provide such subsidies, in the same way that farmers now receive it for environmental measures.

1) ) IPCC, 2018. Global warming of 1,5 degrees C. Summary for policymakers.

2) Steffen, W. m fl. 2018 .Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , vol 115, No. 33.

3) The information on 53 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from all other Swedish emission sources is taken from:

4) Calculations of the carbon balance in Sweden's forests with references are given here:

5) Information on total employees and employees in the forest sector. And in total in Sweden:

6) The information on the forest industry's net export value has been approximated based on the top bar chart in the attached link from the Forest Industries, chart 3 from above

7) The forest industry's payment in tax, excluding tax on share gains, is calculated as follows:
Forestry payments net, to the state

The following tax payments based on the large forest companies' annual reports. the years 2016 and 2017:

SCA about 4.6 billion SEK (2016)
Stora Enso about 1.3 billion SEK (2016)
Billerud Korsnäs approx. 465 million SEK (2017)
Holmen approx. 436 million SEK (2016)
Southern forest owners approx. 49 million SEK (2017)
Sveaskog, Board of Directors' proposal for payment to the state 900 million SEK (2017)

It will be a total of about 7.75 billion SEK. If you add the 0.45 billion that comes from the private small forest owners, (see attached estimate below), you end up with about 8.2 billion SEK. To this must be added the tax paid by those who work in forestry and the forest industry. On average, according to Statistics Sweden, about SEK 70,000 per person was paid in Sweden in 2017. If one calculates that about 70,000 people work in the forest industry, it will be about SEK 4.9 billion. In total, the state would receive approximately SEK 13.1 billion in corporation tax, tax on the sale of timber from smaller private forest owners, and tax on salaries to employees, from the forest industry. But the state also subsidizes a large part of the electricity in the forest industry. Instead of 32 öre in tax per kWh, you pay 0.5 öre per kWh. (year 2018). Since the paper and pulp industry uses approx. 19, 9 TWh of electricity and the sawmills approx. 2.2 TWh of electricity, the indirect tax subsidy to the forest industry alone will be approx. 22.1 x 0.32 = approx. SEK 7.07 billion.

If the state, via corporation taxes and private taxes, receives approximately SEK 13.4 billion from the forestry industry and pays approximately SEK 7.07 billion in electricity subsidies, this means that the total tax revenue will be approximately SEK 6.03 billion.

With regard to the smaller private forestry, it is difficult to find their payment of tax in any annual report. In that case, you can instead follow the money from the forest instead, something like this;
Swedish forestry private forestry says about 50 million m3fub per year. Assume that 30% of this is thinning timber, ie 15 million cubic meters. Revenue per cubic meter, root net, approx. SEK 100 = SEK 1.5 billion in root net. And that for the 70% (35 million cubic meters) that is final felling is paid by road with SEK 300 / cubic = SEK 10.5 billion in root net.

Total income at the forest owner level is thus about 12 billion. A rule of thumb is then that deductible forest management and management costs are -25%. That leaves SEK 9 billion

Now comes the tricky thing; How much deductible loan interest is set off per year? Assume that it is 0.5% of the market value, then it is approximately SEK -5 billion. It then remains to tax SEK 4 billion

But then the next uncertain deduction arises and that is the forest deduction. Assume that they are SEK 2.5 billion. Yes, then 1.5 billion remains to be taxed at 30%, so a hypothesis is that the state receives about SEK 450 million from the smaller private forestry in tax.

The assignment concerns how much tax the state receives from share dividends in the forest industry (latest possible years). The assignment applies to the following forest industries: SCA, Holmen, Stora Enso, Billerud Korsnäs, Holmen, and Södra skogsägarna.

It is not possible to calculate the state's tax revenue from dividends in the forest industry. It depends on the following:
As most of the large owners of the companies are funds, it is not possible to calculate how much tax revenue to the state is from tax on dividends. Tax is paid when a "profit" is realized, ie. when fund holders sell their holdings. As a general rule, a limited liability company records all its income for taxation in the income category business activities (Chapter 13, Section 2 of the Income Tax Act). This means that limited companies take up the dividend in the income category business activities, ie. 22 percent tax. It also means that companies' financial income from, for example, dividends can be set off against financial costs. Private shareholders will take up a dividend as income in the income category capital.
The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency's report of greenhouse gas emissions
Naturvårdsverkets redovisning av växthusgasutsläpp

IPCCs report, 1,5 degrees celsius