As a raw building material and a fuel, popular woods in Sweden have long been harvested from natural forests to be used by human in several applications.
For example, in early mining industry, wood was very important for producing charcoal in Sweden.
Forests in Sweden make only less than 1 percent of the forested lands in the world. But, they have enough wood to be used for producing and exporting paper, pulp, and sawn woods.
As a result, Sweden is among the top exporters of above-mentioned products in the EU and all over the world.
Total land area in Sweden is a bit more than 40 million hectares. Productive forests comprise 22 to 23 million hectares of the total lands in the country.
To supply the demands in wood industry, forests are important in Sweden and all over European union.
So, we’re going to have a deeper look at the forestry, wood harvesting, and timber production in this country:
Harvesting woods in Sweden
As, per growing more than 100 million cubic meters of wood in the forests, Sweden only harvests nearly 90 million cubic meters of them.
This means that each year the amount of woods in Swedish forests are constantly growing.
Today, the total volume of woods in the forests are more than 3 billion m3.
Several assessments show that 100 years ago, the total volume of woods in Sweden forests were around 1.5 billion m3.
By comparing the numbers given above, it is easier to say that we have a sustainable source of wood in Sweden.
read more: plywood
most common tree in Sweden
The most common tree in Sweden is the Norway spruce (Picea abies), also known as the European spruce. This species is native to the mountains of central and northern Europe and is widely distributed throughout Sweden, particularly in the southern and central regions.
Norway spruce is an important commercial species in Sweden, used for timber production, paper manufacturing, and Christmas tree farming. Other common trees in Sweden include Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), birch (Betula spp.), and aspen (Populus tremula).
Types of popular Swedish woods
Fortunately, in Sweden, annual wood growth in the forests exceeds the annual wood harvesting. But, the type of woods and dominant species in the forest are very important for industrial uses.
All over the country, it is possible to grow several species in natural and managed forests. But, trends for standing volume of popular Swedish woods show that we can harvest three main types of wood that are known as:
Do we have broadleaf species in Sweden?
Only nearly 5 percent of forest lands in Sweden are pure broadleaf species.
Also, only 12 percent of forests account for mixed species from both conifers and broadleaf trees.
The remaining forests that are more than 80 percent of Sweden’s forests are from conifer species.
Main wood resources in Sweden
Spruce is among the main species that comprises nearly 40 percent of woods in Sweden.
Pine is also a popular tree in Sweden and comprises less than 40 percent of wood resources in the country.
After spruce and pine wood, birch with nearly 13 percent of woods in the forests ranks third among popular species.
The remaining woods are from broadleaf species that grow in the parts of Sweden’s forests.
read more: Difference Between Oak And Pine
Distribution of forests in Sweden
The distribution of the tree species in the forests is not the same. Pine tree grows well in poor soil and dry condition.
Spruce prefers to be in richer soils and enjoys moisture. So, to help the growth of spruce for wood harvesting, you need a better soil and more water.
It worth mentioning that you can find birch and species like aspen and alder in several forests across the country.
But, broadleaf trees grow in certain parts of Sweden. For example, tree species like oak, elm, and beech grow in southern parts of country (specially south of Dalalven river).
What are the types of forests in Sweden?
In Sweden, forests are either managed or natural. Natural forests haven’t been affected by human activity. They are located in northern parts of the country.
But, almost all the forest lands in the Sweden fall into the managed forests category.
They’ve been affected by human activity from more than 2000 years ago.
The ownership of managed forests in Sweden belongs to the private owners, private companies, government-owned companies, and other sectors.
In fact, less than half of forests are individually owned (nearly 48 percent).
Private companies have the ownership of nearly 24 percent of forests and state-owned companies have 13 percent of them.
Other private and public owners have the ownership of the remaining forests.
Demands for popular woods in Sweden
Several industries in the country have the highest demands for wood in Sweden.
Sawmills use more than 45 percent of harvested woods in the country to produce timber for other sectors.
Also, pulp industry is a highly demanding industry that uses wood in the form of pulpwood.
It worth mentioning that people use woods in Sweden as firewood or to make poles and so on.
The interesting point is that we can use wood, tar, and other raw materials from forests for producing cosmetics, medicine, food packaging, and even clothing.
In fact, several researches have been conducted to use raw materials from forests. They can lead to a wide range of applications for highly demanding applications in Sweden.
Fortunately, the projects for using raw material from forests are growing rapidly and some of them use high-tech methods to provide best products for human use.
Exporting popular woods from Sweden to global markets
Outside European union, Sweden can export its products to the Asian markets and America.
The timbers that are produced by sawmills in Sweden comply with American, Japanese, and Chinese standards. Therefore, the manufacturers have the capacity to export their products abroad outside European union.
Which popular woods have more potentials for Export in Sweden?
Redwoods, whitewoods, and hardwoods in Sweden are among commercial types of woods that are harvested for domestic uses or for export.
Technical data about redwoods and white woods show that, even they have differences in terms of strength and density, they are both equally good to be used as building materials in construction industry.
Density of wood
Density of redwood is 470 kg per m3 and density of whitewood is 440 kg/m3.
The bending strength for redwood and white wood is 87 and 75 mpa respectively.
Modulus of elasticity for these two types of popular wood in Sweden is 12000 mpa and 11000 mpa respectively.
The heat capacity is 1650 J/kg for both of them and their thermal conductivity is 0.26 and 0.24 respectively.
It worth mentioning that technical data about White and red types of popular woods in Sweden shows that moisture in these timbers is around 12 percent of their content.
Who Buys wood from Sweden?
In 2022, sawn wood export from Sweden accounted up to more than 3 billion dollars. Major buyers of popular woods in Sweden are listed below:
- United Kingdom
- United States
Why Swedish sawn timbers are suitable for building construction?
The fact sheets about the properties and quality of Swedish sawn timbers show that these products are among best building materials for house construction in EU.
By considering their light weight, comparing to other building materials, Swedish timbers are strong building materials. They are also easy to work with.
Cutting, assembling, and the ease of using glues to make wooden items make Swedish wood ideal for architectural applications as well.
You can easily use them by other materials. Therefore, they are very functional as well.
The thermal conductivity of wood is lower than other materials. It also has a very good insulation property.
Even when exposed to fire, a wooden material burns. But, its burning is at a predictable rate. So, the fire performance of timber can be controllable.
Standard timber production in Sweden
The sawmills in Sweden deliver their timbers according to the specific standard sizes that are more demanding in market.
The quality of timbers is also according to European standards.
Appearance grading is typically applicable for popular woods and timbers in Sweden. They are usually harvested from tree species like:
- Spruce wood
It worth mentioning that European standards for wood and timber production are mainly developed by the European committee for standardizing products, known as CEN.
Quality class of popular woods in Sweden
A wide selection of woods is produced by Swedish sawmills. Specially, whitewood and redwoods are sold in different quality classes.
They are in accordance with the recommendations and provisions that are given by SS-EN 1611-1 sawn timber.
Quality class of woods and timbers is one of the main properties for grading highly demanding popular woods in Sweden.
This means that Swedish sawmills follow a flexible approach and are able to provide different grade and class of products with the required dimensions.
Use of timbers in Sweden
By having different quality classes, wood products in Sweden are suitable for being used in different projects.
For example, based on the grade and quality class of whitewoods and redwoods, several type of popular timbers are:
- Building timbers
- Formwork timber
- Packaging timber
- External cladding wood
- Internal cladding wood
- Joinery timber
- Floor boards
- Fencing woods
It is worth mentioning that popular woods in Sweden are usually kiln-dried and have less than 20 percent of moisture content.
3 main type of timber in Sweden
Timbers that are made by popular woods in Sweden have different cross-sectional dimensions and can be divided as:
- Sawn timber
- Timbers with one sawn face
- Planed timber