Söderaasen - Restoration of deciduous forest in Söderåsen National Park

LIFE02 NAT/S/008483

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Oddvar FISKESJO
Tel: +46 435 44 21 20
Fax: +46 435 44 20 03
Email: oddvar.fiskesjo@m.lst.se

Project description:


Söderåsen National Park harbours one of the largest continuous tracts of species-rich broad-leaf forests in northern Europe, containing six forest habitat types listed in the Habitats Directive, of which three are priority. Nowadays, such large areas of dynamic, naturally developing, deciduous forests are few and far between. Yet their biological diversity is without question since they are amongst the most species rich habitats in southern Scandinavia, thanks to the presence of a significant number of large old trees and decaying wood. In Sweden today only 5% of the remaining broad-leaved deciduous forests are adequately protected and much of the original resource was cut down to make way for commercial plantations, primarily spruce. Even in the Söderåsen National Park significant areas were planted over with conifers and the remainder is gradually being stifled by the systematic invasion of self-seeding spruce and alien trees. For this strategic site to be able to maintain its dynamic functions and expand its range, urgent conservation action is required to rid it of the invasive species.


The overall objective of the project was to start the restoration and enlargement of the area of semi-natural deciduous forest, especially broad-leaf forest, and to conserve natural deciduous forests in the Söderåsen National Park. In about 70 % of the affected area (750 hectares), dry to moist, high-level areas, the goal was to conserve and enlarge existing areas and restore areas of Luzulo-Fagetum beech forests (9110), Asperulo-Fagetum beech forests (9130) and Galio-Carpinetum oak-hornbeam forest (9170), depending on the ground substrate and other factors. In about 4 % of the affected area (43 hectares), on slopes, screes and in ravines, the goal was to conserve and enlarge existing areas and restore areas of Tilio-acerion forests of slopes, screes and ravines (9180). In about 10 % of the affected area (107 hectares), along watersheds and in wetland areas, the goal was to conserve and enlarge existing areas and restore areas of Residual alluvial forests (91E0), and Fennoscandian deciduous swamp woods (*9080). A total of 1,070 hectares are covered by the LIFE restoration actions. Various actions have targeted the same piece of land and so some information on hectare coverage in the results sections may overlap.


The project has been considered a beneficial success creating a range of practical achievements in terms of woodland conservation, project management and dissemination of results. Over 512,000 trees of local provenance have been planted during the project’s four and half year term and the control measures on tree-species such as Spruce and Birch have made important contributions to the survival of natural deciduous forest habitats. Scarification activities have penetrated the thick grass layer in some areas allowing regeneration of natural forest habitats and supporting survival of new saplings. High quality fencing has further protected the newly planted areas from wildlife browsing which has had a positive effect on height growth. Overall cost-efficiency has been good due to increased prices for Spruce cuttings which generated additional income that was converted into more nature conservation work and larger areas than predicted being fenced and planted. Innovation was noted in new tailor-made technology for sowing beech which improved the efficiency and reliability of regeneration techniques. Novel proposals for environmentally friendly techniques, using horses to transport wood and pigs to help scarify the ground, were not considered successful. Relatively small economies of scale rendered them more expensive than calculated and conventional methods were assessed to be more manageable. LIFE project staff were commended for their financial management techniques which have been highlighted as good practice and disseminated throughout the LIFE-Nature network and other parties in Sweden, England, Germany, Denmark and Lithuania. Additional recognition of the project’s achievements were demonstrated by its selection as one of five best practice case studies in Europe. An After-LIFE conservation plan sets out the need for long-term maintenance of fences, clearing of competitive vegetation, cutting of spruce and monitoring. The Beneficiary anticipates sourcing on-going financial support to implement these activities which will also allow the project to continue its ability to disseminate results and send strong signals to forest owners and companies about the importance of deciduous forests. Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report (see "Read more" section). This project has been selected as one of the 26 "Best" LIFE Nature projects in 2007-2008.


Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Forests


restoration measure‚  pest control‚  environmental education‚  forest ecosystem‚  environmentally responsible behaviour‚  landscape conservation policy‚  reforestation‚  renaturation‚  site rehabilitation‚  public awareness campaign‚  forest management‚  touristic zone‚  land restoration

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
  • Decision 93/626 - Conclusion of the Convention on Biological Diversity (25.10.1993)
  • COM(98)42 -"Communication on a European Community Biodiversity Strategy" (05.02.1998)
  • COM(2001)162 -"Biodiversity Action Plan for the conservation of natural resources (vol. I & II)" ...

Target Habitat types

  • 9080 - Fennoscandian deciduous swamp woods
  • 9110 - Luzulo-Fagetum beech forests
  • 9130 - Asperulo-Fagetum beech forests
  • 9170 - Galio-Carpinetum oak-hornbeam forests
  • 9180 - "Tilio-Acerion forests of slopes, screes and ravines"
  • 91E0 - "Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)"

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Länsstyrelsen i Skåne Län / Söderåsens Nationalpark
Type of organisation Regional authority
Description The beneficiary, Skåne County Administrative Board (CAB-Skåne), is one of 21 regional "branch offices" of the national government, with the implementation of the national environmental policies and legislation on the regional level as one of their main functions. The boards provide the national authority, i.e. the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), with information for the planning of nature reserves, while SEPA decides which areas will receive protection and financing. Within this role division, the CABs have the primary responsibility for identifying sites which qualify for the Natura 2000 network. The CABs are also responsible for the legal process when new nature reserves are established, and for the preparation of management plans.
Partners None


Project reference LIFE02 NAT/S/008483
Duration 01-JUN-2002 to 31-DEC -2006
Total budget 1,761,086.00 €
EU contribution 762,461.00 €
Project location Sydsverige(Sverige)


Read more:

Leaflet "From needles to leaves" (EN)
Project web site Project's website (SE/EN)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (EN)
Video feature Video of the project (47MB)


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version