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Forestry equipment lifting logs onto a truck in a Swedish forest, with several people wearing safety gear observing the process. Bright, sunny day with dense trees in the background.

A day of discovery in Swedish forestry and bioenergy practices

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A day of discovery in Swedish forestry and bioenergy practices

SEI’s Eileen Torres-Morales participated in an excursion through Swedish forests as part of the IUFRO Congress 2024. She explored cutting-edge bioenergy production and sustainable forestry practices firsthand, showcasing how Sweden is shaping the future of global forest management and bioenergy.

Eileen Torres-Morales, Oliver Garner / Published on 4 July 2024

The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) Congress dedicated an entire day to immersive excursions, which brought global participants into direct contact with Sweden’s forest management and bioenergy production systems. Held in in Södertälje, located about an hour’s drive south of Stockholm, this excursion facilitated a robust exchange of ideas among approximately 50 to 100 attendees from diverse backgrounds.

A day of discovery

The day was meticulously structured with a full agenda that combined demonstrations and field lectures, allowing participants to gain hands-on experience with Swedish production systems in the forestry industry. These systems, particularly noted for utilizing residual biomass, serve crucial roles in the heating and electricity sectors.

The excursion was segmented into four educational stops, each tailored to demonstrate a specific stage of the forest fuels production system. The first stop provided a live demonstration of equipment used for forest management and forest fuel-adapted felling. Here, experienced equipment operators from the company Stora Enso and researchers from Skogforsk illustrated activities related to wood harvesting and biomass residue collection.

Researchers and forest industry professionals observing a roped-off area in a Swedish forest during a demonstration on sustainable logging practices. The focus is on forest management and biomass collection under a clear blue sky.

At the first stop of the excursion, participants observed firsthand the sophisticated machinery used in forest management and wood harvesting. Experienced operators from Stora Enso and researchers from Skogforsk demonstrated the techniques involved in biomass residue collection and forest fuel-adapted felling.

Photos: Eileen-Torres Morales / SEI.

Forestry professionals observe a mechanical harvester lifting a tree in a sunny Swedish forest. The demonstration highlights advanced machinery used in sustainable forest management, emphasizing practical application of bioenergy production techniques.

From chipping to policy

At the second stop, the focus shifted to the chipping and storage of logging residues. Participants engaged in a live demonstration of logging residue chipping and delved into discussions on forest fuel logistics, encompassing aspects such as fuel assortment, production, storage and quality control. The lecturers included bioenergy systems experts from both industry, represented by Stora Enso, and academia, represented by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

Large pile of logging residues next to a green forestry vehicle under a clear blue sky. This demonstrates the process of chipping and storing biomass for bioenergy, highlighting sustainable practices in Swedish forests.

This image illustrates the critical stage of logging residue chipping at the second stop of the excursion, where participants, guided by experts from Stora Enso and SLU, discussed the logistics of forest fuel production.

Photo: Eileen-Torres Morales / SEI.

The third stop presented an in-depth look at Swedish energy systems and policy, emphasizing the strategies developed by private industrial stakeholders to achieve net-zero emissions. One of the highlights of this stop was the introduction to ongoing technological developments, such as bioenergy with carbon capture, led by the energy company Stockholm Exergi. This session provided an overview of the climate impact, sustainability and circularity aspects of Swedish bioenergy production.

The fourth and final stop offered participants an engaging connection with the natural environment in a breathtaking forest setting. This stop served as a natural, open-seating classroom where expert lecturers introduced concepts of Swedish forests and forest land, forest management, raw material supply, forest economics and the considerations necessary for wood harvesting. The speakers included academics from SLU and representatives from Stora Enso.

Participants seated in a forest listening to an expert speaker, surrounded by lush greenery and tall trees, in a natural classroom setting.

Participants receive an educational session in a serene forest setting, where academics from SLU and representatives from Stora Enso discuss Swedish forest management, economics and sustainable harvesting practices.

Photo: Eileen-Torres Morales / SEI.

Reflections and global implications

Throughout the excursion, participants were immersed in a melting pot of cultures, nationalities, professional experiences and levels of seniority. This diversity sparked insightful questions and fostered extensive networking throughout the day. The exchange of knowledge and practices encouraged participants to consider how these best practices could be adapted and replicated in their own countries and institutions.

One of the key takeaways was the understanding of Sweden’s non-monetized right to enjoy nature and the robust regulatory frameworks that protect ecosystems and biodiversity. Regulations protect the ecosystem and the biodiversity that lives within, such as maintaining buffer zones around water sources and delaying harvests in areas where nesting animals are present until the breeding season passes. These protective measures offer scalable ideas that could be adapted to enhance forest management practices globally.

Another important outcome from this exchange was the inspiration that early-career researchers were able to take away from the lectures, other participants and the Swedish landscape. This inspiration is crucial as it cultivates a generation of informed and motivated researchers who are likely to contribute innovative solutions to global forestry challenges.

Overall, the IUFRO Congress excursions not only showcased the advanced forestry practices of Sweden but also provided a platform for global experts to draw inspiration and insights. The experiences shared and the knowledge gained highlighted the critical role of sustainable practices in forestry and bioenergy, paving the way for innovative applications in various global contexts.


The IUFRO World Congress is one of the largest global forest events, held every five years since 1893. The congress offers a unique opportunity to gather worldwide leading scientists and top leaders to contribute and co-create for a sustainable future within forestry, climate, and society – aligned with the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The IUFRO World Congress 2024 in Stockholm served as a collaborative global network platform with great opportunity for knowledge-sharing and accessing the latest science and research.

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