on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Lost Forest

Readers short

Kenneth Meijer

My name is Kenneth Meijer and I live near Stockholm. After 42 years in the IT business, I am a full time nature and landscape amateur photographer.


This photo series is my attempt to convey what I experience and feel when I see a clear-cut forest. Many of us share feelings of discomfort and horror when we encounter them. This ravaging of our forests is not a new phenomenon; it has been in practice for centuries.

About 5,000 years ago, people migrated to Sweden with livestock and grains. They farmed the soil so that they could harvest grains and grind them into flour, from which they were able to bake bread. To create the plots of land they needed, they burnt down the trees in the forest. The ashes from that helped to fertilise the soil for several crops. When the yield started to decrease, they just moved on and burnt down new plots of land.

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The heavy usage of the forests has continued in other ways throughout the centuries. The reason is that it has enabled other industries like mining and construction to thrive.

Protests against the harsh exploitation of forests are nothing new and have taken place for centuries. In January 1788, an official reported on the state of Swedish forestry in a speech he gave to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. During that speech, he mentioned that in a region of Sweden, during the short period 1760-1765, more than 85,000 oak trees had been felled and only about 2,300 replanted.

Why does modern forestry upset us so much today? Forests and climate change are heavily associated and, as growing forests bind large amounts of carbon, they become interesting to preserve. Also, the last remnants of old-growth forests are cut down, mainly in our mountainous forests. These old-growth forests are irreplaceable. Another serious factor is the widespread depletion of biodiversity. The harvesting also takes place at a high rate. All this suggests that we should reduce logging.

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On the other hand, our desire to create a fossil-free society means we're looking for ways to replace fossil-based products with fossil-free ones. Therefore, we turn to the forest to replace plastic with forest-based materials, build with wood to avoid using concrete, and replace fossil fuels with biofuels. In addition to using the wood in various products, forests felled to make way for wind turbines; etc. All this creates an extremely high demand for forest products and more felling, which does not add up.

Doing the wrong things just because we have been doing it for many hundreds of years is not a good enough excuse. A better approach is to learn from history to solve the paradox of reducing and increasing the logging rate at the same time.

Technical Information

I have used ICM (Intentional Camera Movement) with one exposure in my camera to create this series of images. Images edited using Lightroom Classic and Photoshop.

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