Stora Enso in 2023 came close to its biodiversity program target to increase controlled burnings by 20% annually in Sweden over a five-year period, despite a 'very rainy summer'

Sample article from our Forestry & Timberland

November 8, 2023 (press release) –

“In Sweden, our biodiversity programme includes the target to increase controlled burnings by 20% annually over a five-year period. In 2023, we came quite close to this, and considering it was a very rainy summer, this is a good achievement,” comments Emma Wikström, Biodiversity Programme Manager, Stora Enso Forest Assets.

One of the most valuable biodiversity actions

Burning forest intentionally might sound like a very extreme action at a time when climate change increases the likelihood of natural, unplanned forest fires due to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Thus controlled burning considerations need to balance between climate change mitigation, as forests absorb carbon, and biodiversity preservation, as burned forest provides an invaluable habitat for many threatened species.

This means that the areas for controlled burning are identified carefully: not any place is ideal to have the positive biodiversity impact. For instance, Brattforsheden in Sweden is one of the areas where Stora Enso conducted controlled burning in 2023. It is a dune field that has historically been characterized by recurring fires. Today the area is largely forested and a home for a wide range of flora and fauna that benefit from sand and fire in different ways.

“The areas that we select for controlled burning are environments that have been prone to forest fires before human intervention. Therefore, they benefit from and even require forest fires to retain their nature values. This way, we are able to also promote habitats for three of the species that we have selected to protect: the smoke-dancing fly ( Hormopeza obliterate), long-horned beetle ( Tragosoma depsarium), and a flower called “Lady of the Snows” ( Pulsatilla vernalis) that all thrive in burned forests,” tells Andreas Öster, Nature Conservation Specialist, Stora Enso Forest Sweden.

The three pillars of successful controlled burnings: safety, safety, safety

In the Nordics, forest fires have decreased in the past century thanks to efficient infrastructure to extinguish fires and safeguard lives and infrastructure. Since controlled burning remains one of the most valuable ways to enhance biodiversity in a forest, it goes without saying that safety is of utmost importance.

“This is why controlled burnings are exactly that: controlled. The biggest danger is for the fire to spread uncontrollably, which is why – even if it may sound strange – the best time to do it is during very dry periods. This way, we can ensure that enough ground fuels – such as moss, lichen, dry grass, roots, needles, and branches – burn well and won’t later set on fire on their own, which makes the whole operation safer in the long run. To prevent the fire from spreading, the borders are watered well beforehand, and it’s important to choose a day when there’s stable wind and the air is humid enough,” Öster explains.

During the burning, there is always a well-trained team of fire operations present as well as a helicopter equipped with a water-carrier. Afterwards, personnel remains on-site until there is no smoke for two days. Nowadays, drones with infrared cameras have been a true game-changer for detecting smoldering fires.

The burnings in 2023 were conducted together with the Swedish Forest Agency and the County Administrative Board.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.

See our dashboard in action - schedule an demo
Chelsey Quick
Chelsey Quick
- VP Client Success -

We offer built-to-order forestry & timberland coverage for our clients. Contact us for a free consultation.

About Us

We deliver market news & information relevant to your business.

We monitor all your market drivers.

We aggregate, curate, filter and map your specific needs.

We deliver the right information to the right person at the right time.

Our Contacts

1990 S Bundy Dr. Suite #380,
Los Angeles, CA 90025

+1 (310) 553 0008

About Cookies On This Site

We collect data, including through use of cookies and similar technology ("cookies") that enchance the online experience. By clicking "I agree", you agree to our cookies, agree to bound by our Terms of Use, and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. For more information on our data practices and how to exercise your privacy rights, please see our Privacy Policy.