Northern Sweden

Biomass potential

The total land area for BioFuel Region is 221 800 km2 of which 2/3 is forest land. The total growing forest stock is 1 314 million m3 and the annual growth 45 million m3. The protected forest area amounts to 42 990 km2 or approx. 20 % of the productive forest land. Additional to this there are voluntarily set aside areas made by private forest owners.

Biomass availability

Figure 1
Figure 1. The value chain of the forest biomass
showing the flows of woody biomass from
the forest and between different industry segments.

The annual harvest in the region is an average of 31 million m3.

Forestry biomass has primarily been used for sawn timber products and is increasingly used for energy purposes. The use in biorefineries is expected to increase rapidly. Forestry is a co-production system, simultaneously producing saw logs, pulpwood, and forest residues. Forest residues, or logging residues, are the branches and tops left in the forest after harvest. Figure 1 shows the flows of woody biomass from the forest to the various industry segments.

As a result of forest industry activities large amounts of secondary process residues are available. These are by-products, such as sawdust and bark. As a result of harvesting operations, large volumes of logging residues are available in the region.

Secondary process residues from pulp mills and sawmills

In Sweden, half of annual harvested roundwood (37 m3 sub timber) is fed into 104 large sawmills. A large part, 28 sawmills, is in Northern Sweden, as well as 8 pulp mills. Pulpwood is debarked before processing, and 10% of processed logs result in bark. Around 50% of roundwood volume is turned into sawn wood products, with 20% sawdust, 10% bark, and 20% chips and shavings. Some by-products can be used internally by sawmills for drying sawn goods, while woodchips are used by the pulp and paper industry, sawdust and bark for pellet industries, and for heat and electricity, by combustion in CHPs.

Logging residues

As a result of harvesting operations, large volumes of logging residues (LR) are available in the region. Logging residues (LR) from harvesting operations are hardly utilized due to their low commercial value and high costs of harvesting, transport, and storage. Without extracting them from the forests, logging residues decompose within 5-10 years, releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. The extraction of logging residues is well-regulated by the national forestry act and has minimal environmental impact. What small amount of logging residues is extracted, is mainly used for combustion.

Logging residues, particularly needles, contain valuable compounds that can be used for various products, including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, platform chemicals, dietary supplements, biopolymers, bioplastics, foams/emulsions, and coatings.

Soil and nutrients

Forest soils in the northern Sweden region are mostly till soils, poor in plant-available nutrients thus the trees grow very slowly. Nitrogen is the most limiting nutrient for tree growth, and adding nitrogen fertilizers can increase growth. Forest management practices are regulated by the Swedish forestry act to prevent long-term impaired growth potentials and nutrient leakage. During a rotation period, thinning operations are carried out, and final felling occurs after approximately 100 years. During this time, nutrients are recycled through needles and twigs, and forest soils are scarified to make more nutrients available for seedlings.

Information package

For more information on the EU policies & projects, national policies, technical information and studies on biomass availability and nutrient recycling, relevant to the Swedish forestry sector, please look at the information package below.




Download: SCALE-UP_information_package_NorthSweden


We ask you to agree to the use of cookies and analysis tools to anonymously evaluate the use of our website so that we can make your visit to our website as comfortable as possible and further improve our services

For more info, please see our Privacy Policy.

Edit settings

You can disable the following optional tracking tools:

necessary (session) cookies for the operation of the website
Matomo web analytics service
Youtube Player Service