Explore Stora Enso's strategic approach to controlled burning, vital for biodiversity and climate balance in Swedish forests. Despite challenges in 2023, significant progress was made toward a 20% annual increase, highlighting the importance of intentional forest fires in safeguarding ecosystems. Learn how careful selection of burn areas, advanced safety measures, and collaborative efforts with key agencies contribute to sustainable forest management and thriving biodiversity.

Revitalizing Ecosystems: Targeted Controlled Burnings to Enhance Habitats for Fire-Dependent Species in Sweden 2023

Controlled burning is a strategic forest management technique involving intentional fires in specific forest areas, emulating natural wildfires. This practice is a focal point in Stora Enso's biodiversity action program for its forests in Sweden. In 2023, despite the challenges of a rainy summer, Stora Enso made substantial progress toward its goal of a 20% annual increase in controlled burnings, as outlined in their biodiversity program.

Emma Wikström, Biodiversity Programme Manager at Stora Enso Forest Assets, acknowledges the significance of this achievement, given the adverse weather conditions. Intentional forest burning, though seemingly extreme, plays a vital role in balancing climate change mitigation and biodiversity preservation. As forests absorb carbon, the controlled burning areas are carefully chosen to maximize positive biodiversity impact.

For example, Brattforsheden in Sweden, historically prone to fires, was a key site for Stora Enso's controlled burnings in 2023. Today, it thrives as a largely forested area, providing a habitat for diverse flora and fauna, including species like the smoke-dancing fly, long-horned beetle, and the "Lady of the Snows" flower, which flourish in burned forests.

Andreas Öster, Nature Conservation Specialist at Stora Enso Forest Sweden, emphasizes the three pillars of successful controlled burnings: safety, safety, safety. Despite a decrease in forest fires in the Nordics over the past century, controlled burning remains pivotal for biodiversity enhancement. Strategic timing during dry periods ensures controlled burns, minimizing the risk of uncontrolled wildfires. Precautions include watering borders before burning, choosing days with stable wind and sufficient humidity.

Safety measures during burning include a well-trained fire operations team and a water-carrying helicopter on standby. Post-burning, personnel remains on-site until no smoke is detected for two days. Drones with infrared cameras have become invaluable for detecting smoldering fires.

Notably, the controlled burnings in 2023 were conducted collaboratively with the Swedish Forest Agency and the County Administrative Board, underscoring the importance of a unified approach to sustainable forest management.


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Keywords

Biodiversity , Controlled Burnings , Climate Change Mitigation , Habitat Preservation , Ecosystem Safety

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