Why do we feel so good after a day in the forest? Humans are biologically adapted to a life in nature. Research shows that our well-being increases and our ability to focus improves when we spend time in natural environments. Spending time in the great outdoors speeds up mental recovery and performance. Simply put, we feel better in the forest. Our blood pressure drops, stress hormones decrease, and the immune system is strengthened.
In the Nordic countries, forests are open to everyone. The right of public access goes back many generations, and gives you the right to freely roam without asking permission from landowners. This gives great opportunities for outdoor recreation. You can explore, hike, ride a bike, pick berries, gather mushrooms or even set up a tent for a night or two – as long as you respect the forest and do no harm.
When you visit a forest, take care not to disturb, litter, or damage wildlife or crops. Rules around building fires differ between countries and depending on weather conditions, so check with local authorities before you set out. Go hiking and camping, enjoy swimming or boating on lakes and rivers, and have a picnic in a sunny glade. Fishing and hunting are regulated. Respect your surroundings and enjoy the great outdoors!
Hiking is for everyone
You don’t need any specialist equipment to enjoy walking and hiking in the forest. From beginners who simply want to go for a stroll in serene surroundings to adventurers out to push their limits, there’s a hike for everyone.
- Make sure you’re dressed for the Nordic climate and wear good shoes.
- It’s always good to familiarize yourself with the area you’ll be visiting on a map beforehand, and bring a charged mobile phone just in case.
- If you’re planning on a longer hike in a remote area, let someone know where you’re going and when you can be expected back.
- Bring a bottle of water and a snack – and enjoy your forest adventure!
Hiking isn’t the only activity you can enjoy in the forest. Bird watching, running, biking, orienteering, rock climbing, swimming, mushroom and berry picking… the list is nearly endless. As long as you respect your surroundings, your imagination is the only limit. Welcome into the wild!
In the Nordics, the hunting tradition goes back millennia and is still a popular activity, engaging tens of thousands of people every year. The earliest written statutes regulating hunting rights date back to the 13th century, and hunting is considered a vital social and cultural activity of the region even in modern society.
When wildlife populations grow too big, they cause a lot of damage to saplings and young trees. Moose and other ungulates like to eat pine plants, and the damage causes great financial losses to forest owners. The grazing animals cause reduced plant growth and ultimately inferior timber quality. Representatives from hunting organizations, landowners and regional authorities collaborate on local and national levels to regulate and manage damage levels through hunting and other wildlife management activities. The goal is to maintain a healthy wildlife population, while reducing the browsing damages in the forest.
As forest owners, we want to contribute to sustainable forest management while preserving biodiversity. Hunting and wildlife management are seen as an integral and essential part of wildlife conservation. All hunting must be conducted in such a way that the game populations are not endangered and are not caused unnecessary suffering, and that people and property are not exposed to danger.
Forest safety during hunting season
All hunters in Finland and Sweden are trained and must hold a license. They are vigilant and aware that people may appear in the forest at any time. When you go out in the forest during the main hunting periods, especially in the autumn, it’s still a good idea to take a bit of extra care when you walk in the forest, and wear clothes that stand out from the surroundings, such as a high-visibility vest or cap. Pay attention to your surroundings and follow any instruction signs you come across.
Skogsnära: magazine for forest owners in Sweden
Meet Swedish forest owners & our forest professionals. Read about forest management and nature.Explore Skogsnära magazine in Swedish
Terve Metsä: magazine for forest owners in Finland
Meet Finnish forest owners & our forest professionals. Read about forest management and nature.Explore Terve Metsä magazine in Finnish