Södra has become even better at applying sound environmental consideration in connection with final harvesting. This was one of the findings of the company’s Green Balance Sheet for 2015. The proportion of approved final harvesting sites has increased from 72 to 92 percent since 2010. In parallel, the quality of the nature consideration shown in the approved sites has been enhanced.
“The approval rating for our environmental consideration is rising,” says Södra Skog’s Environmental Manager Tomas Rahm. “At Södra, we have systematically practiced nature conservation for 20 years, for instance, by training our forestry professionals and the harvesting contractors who work for us, and we are now seeing the results of this in the form of enhanced nature conservation outcomes at our final harvesting sites.”
One aspect that is measured as part of Södra’s Green Balance Sheet is dead wood. Dead wood provides the basis for a host of life forms in the forest. A new inventory of research relating to high stumps performed by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) shows that high stumps play a key role in biodiversity and are even beneficial for certain endangered insect species. Södra’s most recent Green Balance Sheet confirms that the company effectively meets the requirements in terms of both preserving existing dead wood, in the form of dry trees for example, and creating new dead wood by placing out high stumps.
“We have progressed from a 2010 nature conservation approval rating at final harvesting sites of approximately 70 percent for dead wood to now meeting the requirements in nearly all cases,” says Tomas Rahm.
Another aspect that is assessed in the Green Balance Sheet is the quality of the nature conservation in buffer zones next to water and wetlands in connection with harvesting. The results for 2015 show that a full 97 percent of the inspected final harvesting sites had an approved rating for this aspect, versus 86 percent in 2010. Södra compiles a Green Balance Sheet on an annual basis. Internal auditors assess how the just over 150 final harvesting operations and similar number of thinning operations live up to the PEFC™ and FSC® forest certification systems’ requirements for general environmental consideration in connection with final harvesting and thinning operations, and how closely the company complies with its own policies and procedures for environmental consideration. The purpose of the Balance Sheet is to create a basis for continuous improvements in nature conservation activities. External audits are also carried out each year by the certification body DNV-GL.