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Thread: True North: the grand landscapes of Sweden

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    True North: the grand landscapes of Sweden

    I got this book as a birthday present from my wife. Fantastic pictures and best of all it is in English! I've always known that Sweden has a beautiful nature: forests, hills, mountains, off-shore islands, archipelago, and much wild life, from Lapland and its reindeer herds, to moose further south. Cities with their vast hinterland of islands, forests providing limitless amounts of wood for building all illustrated with colour photographs.

    Timber and iron are the two products that form the foundation for a booming economy, in addition to a car industry and other high tech developments, as well as a well-developed welfare state.

    Enjoy this book, and its beautiful photography...

    The principal photographer is Tore Hagman.

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Nice present, DW. Congrats on your birthday!
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

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    Thank you, Danik!

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    Packed with useful information, like north of Gävle pine is dominant over beech, birch, oak and other trees which shed their leaves. On the coast this extends a couple of hundred kilometres with a stretch of birch trees. Cities and towns differ in that they have a variety of planted trees irrespective of climate, like horse chestnut and rowan.

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    I loved this atmospheric photos of Sweden by Isabella Stahl:

    https://www.featureshoot.com/2017/04...scapes-sweden/
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

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    I've checked out her website and it is indeed quite atmospheric. I agreed to follow her work, so I look forward to seeing more.

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    "Sweden is a forest realm. From the air, this is very obvious: glinting lakes are surrounded by huge, dark forests, stretching into apparent infinity. More than half the country is covered by forest and an eighth is lake water - the rest is highland and marsh, with a smidgen of cultivated fields and buildings,"

    "Coniferous forest dominates almost the entire country, from Tornedalen in the far north down to Skåne, across the Sound from Denmark. This is the northern taiga..." (True North p.185).

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    "There is a region in Sweden where the Continent and Siberia meet, where the tree species are mixed. It is from the southernmost limit of coniferous growth to the northernmost of the oak, from Skåne to the Dalälven River in south-central Sweden, somewhat north of Stockholm... This mixed forest roughly covers the ancient kingdoms of of the Goths and the Sveas, the original Sweden, and perhaps this is principally the kind of landscape the original Swedes conjure up when we speak of the forest. Sweden is therefore a forest realm and the Swedes thus a forest people." (True North, pp.185-186).

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Sweden must be a fascinating country.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

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    It certainly is. I have been reading about it for the last few days. So much to learn...

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    This will be my last comments on True North. It is about the forests of Sweden as a part of the soul of Swedes. This is often mentioned in the text of this fine book. The forests can be quite scary for a foreigner such as I, brought up in London. Dark and forbidding, they harbour all sorts of dangers. The other day there was a report of a brown bear that chased a jogger and didn't catch him only because he came to a surfaced footpath, which deterred the bear in its pursuit.

    The forest is an economic resource that is very valuable "forestry is the nation's only industry that returns a proper surplus." (p.128). So I plan to finish by highlighting the tension that underlies that industry, and how Swedes have compromised as a result.

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    In the 1970s and 1980s, at the height of Reaganomics when neoliberalism had free reign, profit was the watchword and "clear-cutting" kept profits up. In the mid-70s agent orange - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_Orange - was widely sprayed by planes on forest land to kill the undergrowth. It was stopped in the face of strong objections from pregnant mothers and evidence that deformities in children were becoming a problem.

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    Clear-cutting is still the main way to harvest the wood, but Sweden's largest deer, elk - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elk - benefit considerably from clear-cutting - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clearcutting - which results in trees of all the same age. The number of elks shot each year rose from 8,000 in 1940 to 1960 32,000, and in 1980 to 132,000. "Without exaggeration, it was an explosion of elk" (True North , p.189).

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