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Published: 2024-05-16

Skogsungdomarna learn about the history of the northern forest

NEWS On 27 April 2024, Forest Program Västerbotten's Youth Council, or Skogsungdomarna as they call themselves, organised a forest history excursion in Kulbäcksliden for their members. The activity was organised together with Professor Lars Östlund at SLU and Jenny Viklund, Director of Svartberget Experimental Forest.

New experiences in the snowshoe tracks of the forest and the Sami

From a rainy Umeå, 10 young forest enthusiasts and Professor Lars Östlund went to snowy Kulbäcksliden for a day of forest history. The day began with coffee in the grill hut, where they met with park manager Jenny Viklund. She described the type of activity that is carried out in Kulbäcksliden and which actors are involved. Then everyone had to put snowshoes on their feet to walk on a trail into the natural forest and stop at a tree with a fire scar. There, Professor Lars Östlund talked about forest fires and what characterizes a natural forest, among other things.

At lunchtime, everyone helped make charcoal buns. Lars Östlund also showed how Sami fireballs are made, which everyone also got to try with different results. Discussions and thoughts about the forest followed, including about food and how shack farming has created special environments. Towards the end of the lunch, Lars Östlund offered coffee with coffee cheese that comes from the Sami culture. Then, when everyone was full, they set off again into the forest, somewhat more comfortable walking with their snowshoes than before lunch, to find the "King" and "Queen", which are two enormous old pines. They also got to see a huge aspen, which was of jaw-dropping size!

The members of Skogsungdomarna express that the day was enriching and educational with both fresh air, laughter and new knowledge.

– I thought I knew a lot about the forest, but now I realize that there is so much I don't know. For instance, I didn't know why pines have such high crowns. It's to avoid fire! says a new member.

Professor Lars Östlund agrees that the day was very successful.

– I only had time to say a fraction of what I had planned, but there were such good discussions that it didn't matter, he says.

Wants to highlight and spread knowledge about the forest and its history

According to Skogsungdomarna, the aim of the forest history excursion was to highlight the forest as a place full of memories, impressions, and stories. They argue that the forest may seem static and unchanging to most people, but it is in fact a dynamic environment that has been used by humans for thousands of years. They also hope to be able to spread knowledge about forest history as a subject and what you can look for and think about if you want to understand the forest around you.

In addition to new knowledge about the forest, Skogsungdomarna express how nice and developing it was to meet each other, tie closer connections with everyone and exchange experiences and thoughts about the forest. Finally, they thank everyone who participated for their great commitment and good questions, as well as Lars Östlund for stepping in and making it such a good day.

More about Skogsungdomarna

Forest Program Västerbotten's Youth Council is supported by Västerbotten's Regional Forest Program in collaboration with the research platform Future Forests at SLU and UMU. The initiative started in autumn 2023 and is currently led by Anna Hansen, Emma Munters, and Arvid Sjöberg, who all study in Umeå and are very interested in forest issues. 
Anna Hansen, 22, comes from Jämtland and studies Community Planning at Umeå University.

Emma Munters, 26, comes from Uppsala and is in her third year of the Forestry Program at SLU in Umeå.

Arvid Sjöberg, 25, comes from Stockholm and studies the Forester Program at SLU in Umeå. 
Read more here (In Swedish)