Stockholm, Sweden 14 January 2015 -- Södra estimates that damage to Södra's members' properties during Storm Egon was approximately 1.5 million forest cubic metres, corresponding to a total of about 3 million forest cubic metres in Götaland. This figure is significantly lower than anticipated given the high wind speeds registered. Södra believes that the extent of the damage may have been limited by the favourable direction of the wind, by the fact that earlier storms had already felled sensitive forest stands and that forest management practices have been better adapted to the risk of storms.
Södra has carried out an inventory on the storm damage at 267 reference properties that are well dispersed across Götaland. On the basis of this inventory, the assessment is that the storm damage corresponds to approximately 1.5 million forest cubic metres on Södra's members' properties, which corresponds to a total of about 3 million forest cubic metres in Götaland. The damage mainly comprises scattered areas of wind-felled trees and exposed areas, for example, on the edges of forests.
Storm damage has been recorded throughout Götaland with the extent varying widely among the properties, although the worst damage was caused in the Västra Götaland and Jönköping counties around the Vänern and Vättern lakes.
The extent of the damage was considerably less than that caused by Cyclone Per (2007), which felled 16 million forest cubic metres in Götaland, despite the fact that the wind speeds recorded for both storms were roughly the same. Cyclone Gudrun (2005) felled some 75 million forest cubic metres.
In the aftermath of Cyclone Gudrun, forestry began to adapt its forest management practices to reduce the risk of future storm damage.
"At Södra, we have amended our forest management instructions. Now, trees are thinned when they are at a lower height and final harvesting takes place earlier in spruce-dominated stands," says Göran Örlander, Head of Forest Management at Södra.
"In recent years, we have also had an increase in the number of storms that have felled storm-sensitive forest stands and that have made the remaining forests more resilient to storms," says Örlander.
Inventory and safety
Södra urges its members to take an inventory of the damage to their properties as soon as possible and to contact their forestry inspector.
There is a significant risk that there will be a spruce bark beetle infestation in the summer throughout the area hit by the storm. To ensure the protection of the forest and safeguard the value of the wood, it is therefore important to process the storm-felled wood as soon as possible.
Södra, which has just over 50,000 owners and members who jointly own about half of the forest land in Southern Sweden, is appealing to all forest owners to take the utmost care when processing the wood felled in the storm.
"Always put safety first! Start by taking an inventory and planning. Use mainly professional assistance and machinery when undertaking major work. Refrain from doing the work yourself if you don't have the experience or know-how, and never work alone," says Örlander.