June 10th 2011- UN International year of forests
Seen from a global perspective, the forests in Norway developed over a fairly short period of time.
The first trees appeared about 10,000 years ago while the ice was still melting in some parts of the country, but the great
spread of forests took place around 2,000 years later. At that time there was a large element of temperate deciduous forest
in southern and western Norway. Relieved of the weight of the ice, the land continued to rise and the tree line was lowered.
Then, about 2,500 years ago, a fall of at least 2.5°C in the mean temperature caused the tree line to drop by yet another
300 metres and the temperate deciduous
In Norway, population density and Man’s ability to make serious inroads into the forest reached an ecologically significant
level around 5,000 years ago with the introduction of agriculture. Land had to be cleared for grazing and cultivation; timber
was needed for houses and fencing, and animal
grazing made its mark on vegetation. As the population density increased so did the areas affected by human
activities such as industrial utilisation of timber. Boat building along the coast and timber exports led to further
deforestation. Until the end of the 19th century this was allowed to happen without censure. In 1873 good timber
prices and an economic boom led to a record-high felling volume of 16 million m3. By way of comparison, present day
volumes amount to 10-12 million m3. A turning point in forest management was reached in the 1920s, when a ‘normal
forest’ model was introduced, specifying how much of the forest was to be included in the different felling classes. Its intention was to regulate felling volumes over time.
In more recent times, greater attention has been given to preserving the forest’s biological diversity. This has been
prompted by the loss of many forest-dwelling species due to years of intensive exploitation of their habitats. An
international Convention on Biological Diversity was proposed at the United Nations Conference in Rio de Janeiro
in 1992. The Convention emphasises the importance of the life-sustaining systems of the biosphere. Norway was one of the first countries to sign the Convention.
Date of issue: 10 June 2011
Values and subjects:
kr 12.00: Modern harvester at work in Bjønnsåsen, east of
Elverum a cold winter day.
Photo: Sverre Morken
kr 14.00: Forest atmosphere at Farris, Siljan, Telemark.
Photo: Leif Rustad / NN / Samfoto
Design: Sverre Morken
Method of printing: Offset
Printing house: Joh. Enschedé Security Print