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Development of Forestry in Sweden—Any lessons for Africa?

B Lundgren


During the SFM I project, studies were made on the relevance to Africa of Sweden’s experience in 100–150 years
to become a successful forestry country. Six major issues have influenced the development of forests, forestry
and forest industries in Sweden. The first relates to the societal, economic and political macro-trends of the last
150 years—democratisation, industrialisation, urbanisation, etc. Obviously, developments in forestry have been
influenced, and to a significant degree, made possible by these factors. Five other key issues help explain the current
forest situation: that wood early on acquired a commercial value and that private land owners, the Government
and industry exploited the opportunities to add extra value by industrial processing; that ownership of forests was
largely in private hands (farmers and industry); that forest policies and legislation were put in place to support the
developments in forestry; the role of NGOs; and the roles of Government.
Although ecological and economic conditions are obviously different, it was concluded that many Swedish
lessons related to the processes and mechanisms of developing and administrating forest policies and legislation,
strengthening institutional capacity for supporting mechanisms to SFM, e.g. within areas of research, education/
training, resource inventories and statistics, extension services, certification and market intelligence, etc., and in
organising and empowering stake-holders in the use, management and conservation of forest and tree resources,
could be of relevance, in adapted forms, also to Africa.

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