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Forest history

Exploring History. Sharing Stories. Understanding the past of forests


In the Forest History research group, we focus on understanding how forest ecosystems have developed in Northern Scandinavia by exploring people and forests historically from a long-term perspective. 


In the fire and food experiment, students get the opportunity to test different fire-building techniques and cook some traditional foods. Groups gathered their respective materials, researched their assigned fire/food, and spent the day working hard to accomplish their tasks.

Traditional forest food explored int eh forest history course

Fire styles included a Sámi Árrán hearth fire, Sámi Nuorssjo log fire, traditional three-log fires, cooking pits for smoking and drying meats and vegetables, as well as a classic fire used to prepare kolbulle, food eaten by Scandinavia loggers in the early 20th century. .

Fire forest history course

Our Research

A particular focus in our research has been directed towards early forest exploitation and Sami forest use and forest reserves in the northernmost part of Sweden. Our primarily research areas are:

  • Historical forest use
  • The dynamics of the natural forest
  • The history of forest management
  • Conflicts between forestry and nature conservation
  • Document people's stories on forests and forestry

We collaborate with many researchers in Sweden and abroad and have a long-standing collaboration with the Silvermuseum in Arjeplog (Dr. Ingela Bergman and Dr. Malin Brännström). The outcome of our research has resulted in new knowledge of northern cultural forested landscapes, their history, and their future and our mission are to provide better knowledge for today’s management of our forest.

A favourite quote: “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Winston Churchill.

Lars Östlund

For more information contact

Lars Östlund

Professor vid Institutionen för skogens ekologi och skötsel; Institutionen för skogens ekologi och skötsel, gemensamt

Telefon: +46907868442, +46705111299
Skogens ekologi och skötsel
901 83 Umeå

Besöksadress: Skogsmarksgränd 17, Umeå

Published: 14 October 2023 - Page editor: tejshree.tiwari@slu.se