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SALVAGING SWEDEN'S TIMBER
January 31, 2006 3:44 PM   Subscribe

Last winter, Sweden was blasted by the first storm in recorded history to ever deliver hurricane force winds, devastating the country's forests. Logging crews came from all over the world. This massive collection of wood is now stored at a former air strip. via Inhabitat
posted by stbalbach (42 comments total)

 
note: this story appears to be unique to the Inhabitat blog via a "friend", no ones yet found additional (English) sources for more info on this fascinating story.
posted by stbalbach at 3:46 PM on January 31, 2006


inhabitat is one of my fav weblogs. nice post.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 3:53 PM on January 31, 2006


God is angry at Sweden for being arguably the most liberal country in the world, and he won't stop being angry with them until they make it a chocolate country again.

Mmmmm.... swedish chocolate.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:04 PM on January 31, 2006


Phew! Good thing all those trees were 'salvaged'. 150 million trees that will never decompose, never return nutrients to the soils where they grew, never be be used for shelter or food by the hundreds of species that use fallen trees for their survival.
posted by driveler at 4:06 PM on January 31, 2006


Somehow I doubt that this was the first time Sweden ever saw a 118 km/h wind. When was this storm? The article kind of glossed over all that.
posted by chef_boyardee at 4:06 PM on January 31, 2006


Millions of cubic feet of harvested timber have been donated to countries in Southeast Asia who were hit by the tsunami; an estimated 98% of the raw construction lumber used for rebuilding efforts in Thailand and Indonesia has come from Swedish timber!
posted by b1tr0t at 4:09 PM on January 31, 2006


Indeed - I wanted to know more about the storm as well.
posted by troutfishing at 4:09 PM on January 31, 2006


Driveler: The main problem with leaving that amount of fallen wood lying are the beetles, especially Ips typographus. In summer, that kind of food supply results in an explosive growth of these, threathing also standing trees. Hence the huge amounts of work laid down to salvage fallen wood.
posted by theemptinessinside at 4:15 PM on January 31, 2006


Does this mean the FRÖJSTA side table will soon be marked down from the unreasonable price of $24.99?
posted by donpedro at 4:21 PM on January 31, 2006


(IKEA-id, IKEA-id.)
posted by donpedro at 4:21 PM on January 31, 2006


Looks like they're talking about Erwin.
posted by gubo at 4:45 PM on January 31, 2006


Also known as Gudrun.
posted by gubo at 4:47 PM on January 31, 2006


Look at that, wood on the internets!
posted by clevershark at 4:48 PM on January 31, 2006


Way to include one photo, article.
posted by fire&wings at 4:54 PM on January 31, 2006


huh huh....wood.

Do the trees have different root systems or something? I don't remember that many forests being taken out (so completely) by hurricane winds.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:55 PM on January 31, 2006


Something on the storm here
posted by elpapacito at 4:57 PM on January 31, 2006


It seems they choosed NOT to sell that timber because that would have caused a massive drop in wood price. Now the mere existence of that bunch of wood should influence some market..but so as long as the decision is NOT to sell market rules show how much they're worth :)

Plus they are prob need to cover part of 2006 production that will not happen because of 2005 devastation.
posted by elpapacito at 5:01 PM on January 31, 2006


More with scary before/after pix
posted by elpapacito at 5:02 PM on January 31, 2006


"never be be used for shelter or food by the hundreds of species that use fallen trees for their survival"

Like humans whose homes were destroyed by a tsunami, you mean?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:02 PM on January 31, 2006


Swedes give me wood.
posted by strawberryviagra at 5:05 PM on January 31, 2006


Now you only need to get nailed
posted by elpapacito at 5:24 PM on January 31, 2006


These types of weather problems are set to increase for this area of the world with the atlantic conveyor belt slow down.
posted by Hon Daddy Dad at 5:28 PM on January 31, 2006


Trees blown down by wind events often suffer fractures longitudinally between layers of grain. The winter growth is more dense than the summer growth and as the trees flex back and forth in the wind the layers separate. End result is significant loss of structural strength. Attempts were made to salvage lumber from trees blown down by hurricanes in Florida and elsewhere. Guys with portable sawmills who thought they were in for windfall profits were disappointed to discover that the trees were only good for pulp wood..
posted by X4ster at 6:13 PM on January 31, 2006


These trees were frozen at the time, that could have changed things. Plus the trees in question are mostly pine, much different structurally than many of the hard woods that are common in Florida.
posted by Mitheral at 6:41 PM on January 31, 2006


Denmark shouldn't have made fun of the Prophet Mohammed...
posted by anthill at 7:17 PM on January 31, 2006


(Java) Panorama from the Byholma "lumber yard" (it's an old military air field).
(Real Video) Helicopter flyover.
posted by mr.marx at 10:31 PM on January 31, 2006


During the summer I cycled past these areas and it was a quite impressive sight. The layer of fallen trees was very thick in some areas and it's easy to see that clearing up this jumbled mess of tree trunks is difficult work. The tree trunks mesh into each other in complicated ways and the tension produced is considerable. When a log is cut, the change in tension might cause unexpected things to happen and many of the workers doing this job have been injured and there have a number of fatal accidents.

It was interesting to see the startling difference between how well the leafed trees made it compared to devastation caused to the pine trees. At the time of the storm the leaves had all fallen off and the wind could pass through easily. This fact has caused a lot of discussion about which type of trees to plant in the affected areas.

The discussion is the age old one about environment Vs. economy. My understanding is that the natural fauna in the areas of southern Sweden would contain a greater number of leafed trees and this type of forest would probably sustain future storms better. Much of the forest industry is adapted for pine trees though, so that's probably what'll be planted.
posted by rycee at 11:32 PM on January 31, 2006


driveler: These are areas of production forest, and harvesting lumber is what they're used for. They often don't contain that much interesting wildlife - the grounds were drained before that was forbidden due to its adverse environmental impact. As mentioned, the lumber has to be taken away, lest bugs invade and spread to the trees still standing.

It's not left there just to keep prices up - the lumber mills and paper mass factories can't keep up, and it's too expensive to ship unrefined wood long distance.

rycee: A couple of years back it turned out that a significant amount of birch fiber can be mixed in with the paper mass to give a light and strong paper without bleach. I wonder if they'll plant more of that for the next generation.
posted by springload at 12:40 AM on February 1, 2006


Am I parsing that sentence incorrectly? Because I'm pretty sure there were storms before that one that delivered hurricane-force winds. They're called hurricanes. They're quite common; there's even a season for them.
posted by Eideteker at 3:13 AM on February 1, 2006


Eideteker: The hurricane season in Sweden is pretty nonexistent. Hurricane force winds are not unheard of though. I'm not sure, perhaps Gudrun was the first storm with winds consistently over hurricane force?

springload: That is interesting. I hope that's the case though, seems like a good idea to maintain some diversity to prevent this sort of thing but I guess it might help limit damage from disease and pests as well. The difference in growth (I think pine grows much faster) rates might be troublesome though. As an aside: At my local university, they are apparently working on speeding the growth rate up. There is an article in Ny Teknik about this (sorry, Swedish only).
posted by rycee at 4:21 AM on February 1, 2006


Can somone point Anthill above to a map of Europe, cos I can't be bothered. Ehhm, Denmark is NOT Sweden ( will that be enough for him do you think or should I try harder, Naah!)
Great post, I wonder who will fund the transfer to the Tsunami areas?
posted by Wilder at 4:46 AM on February 1, 2006


Oh and mr.marx those links were awesome!
posted by Wilder at 4:49 AM on February 1, 2006


Europe doesnt have hurricanes. Although one did reach Spain for the first time in recorded history this past season.

BTW fantastic web searching foo elpapacito and mr. marx
posted by stbalbach at 8:36 AM on February 1, 2006


They're both scandinavian, that's good enough for some!

Wilder... I've visited both, I was making a bad joke. I could also make a joke about Islamic jihadists always missing their targets...
posted by anthill at 9:29 AM on February 1, 2006


Denmark too was visited by this storm. We had the same problems with felled pine and fir woods, but Denmark is a much smaller country, with much less impact on the global wood industry.
posted by Catfry at 10:04 AM on February 1, 2006


(and by the way, some newspapers termed it 'the storm of the century' (obviously they meant in DK).).
posted by Catfry at 10:07 AM on February 1, 2006


I don't remember that many forests being taken out (so completely) by hurricane winds.

Much the same happened in interior BC, to the south-east of Prince George, when a howling wind came ripping up the north-south valley and wiped out an amazing amount of forest.

That blowdown is visible from space, and has been misleadingly used by the anti-clearcutting groups.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:44 AM on February 1, 2006


Thanks!
posted by Smedleyman at 11:42 AM on February 1, 2006


You know, I look at those huge piles of wood, and I can't help but think... "Man, you could see that bonfire from Mars..."
posted by Dunwitty at 4:26 PM on February 1, 2006


"Much the same happened in interior BC, to the south-east of Prince George, when a howling wind came ripping up the north-south valley and wiped out an amazing amount of forest." - I doubt trees will be able to adapt very rapidly to the new windy weather regime. That - in turn - will create a powerful feedback loop : felled forests, carbon and methane release, more global warming, stronger winds.
posted by troutfishing at 9:16 PM on February 1, 2006


FWIW, the BC blowdown was back in the 70s. Just a freak wind.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:36 AM on February 2, 2006


Anthill, sorry I didn't get your first joke. I guess it just wasn't funny, and no e-mail in the profile means I'll put this here, where it is bound to waste away....
as for your second joke about Jihadists.....you just had to be there, man!!
posted by Wilder at 6:20 AM on February 7, 2006


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