The Swedish forestry industry is working hard to paint a picture of themselves as Green. Through a series of commercials and billboards they’re telling the story of themselves as heroes, taking full credit for the fact that trees sequester carbon. But what they fail to comment on is that their business is felling trees, not allowing trees to remain standing.
Fine, they also plant new trees in the clear cuts they leave behind. But nowhere in their ads do they mention that a clear cut area emits huge amounts of co2, for between 10 and 15 years, before the new plants grow into trees big enough to sequester more co2 than the scarred grounds emit. In short: the practice of clear cutting is hopelessly outdated, and worse, is seriously counterproductive in the face of climate change.
We need to switch to Ecoforestry methods, and we need to do it now!
The commercials have been bugging me for some time now, and so I’ve decided to have a little fun with them. I started ”translating” them into English, but offering a creative subtitling, that raise a few points on why their business model is so horribly backwards.
Such as the fact that a tree plantation is at a much higher risk of falling prey to forest fires, storms or insects. The reason that an old growth forest can withstand these types of threats is that it’s interconnected through roots and mycelium networks, and are able to operate as a super organism, as opposed to just a bunch of disconnected trees. This type of connectivity takes hundreds of years to form and doesn’t exist on a tree plantation, which typically gets to remain standing for about 80 – 100 years, before the destructive cycle of clearcut/replant starts over.
A lot of people have asked me about the copyright infringement that I’m committing when I distort these ads. ”What if you get sued!” they ask. And, yes, certainly that’s a possibility. Even though I’d imagine the ”forest mafia”, as they’re affectionately known here in Sweden, have little to gain by placing a spotlight on the point of view I represent.
I will say, though, that I’m very curious to see how they’ll react. Will they accept my invitation to dance? Or will they give me the silent treatment? I guess we’ll find out soon enough. And I’ll be sure to pass on their reactions to you, dear reader.
Oh, and hello there, dear representative of ”Svenska Skogen”, who at some point I’m pretty sure will read this. It’s your move!
Yours truly,
Mattias Olsson


To read and hear more about the forthcoming film “A Tale from the Woods” click here.

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