Forests and Lakes

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Forests and Lakes

Forests and Lakes


About half the country is covered by forest; spruce and pine, with an admixture of birch -the national tree - being the usual pattern. In the past, Swedish woodlands were endangered by over cutting for charcoal, tar, timber and fuel. But today they are among the best maintained in the world, with more trees being planted annually than are cut - a policy that is enhanced by draining and planting some of the extensive marshlands. Huge areas of Wilderness still remain, however, where flocks of migrant birds move in and out with the swing of the seasons and elks, roe deer and reindeer roam. In addition, an estimated 250 000 domesticated reindeer migrate between the fells in summer and the forests in winter. With such enormous populations, there is grave danger of overgrazing and serious damage to the forests. Consequently, tens of thousands of deer are culled annually.

In Sweden, land and water are everywhere intermingled. Off the coasts there are archipelagoes, great and small - the most extensive and varied being in the Stockholm area. The bald, storm-lashed archipelago of the west coast presents a striking contrast, white the shoreline of the Gulf of Bothnia, still rising from the compression of the Ice Age, produces new islands, scurries and shoals every two or three generations. There are islands too in the lakes of the interior, some of which -including VANERN and VATTERN - are among Europe's largest. The rivers that drain them have wild falls, torrents and rapids. The most spectacular rivers are found in Norrland, the northern two-thirds of the country. They issue from high-level lakes along the Norwegian border and race down parallel valleys to the Gulf of Bothnia, plunging over majestic waterfalls, most of which have been harnessed to produce electricity. The fish in the lakes, rivers and surrounding seas include such delicacies as North Sea and Baltic herring, salmon, lobsters, crabs and river trout.

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