“There are many threats,” says Marcus Eldh, founder of our multi award-winning partner Wild Sweden, “even before you start talking about climate change. The number one problem is the forestry industry. You have big companies clear-cutting large sections of old growth forest, ploughing the soil, and planting foreign species of tree
in regulated rows. It’s become worse and worse over the last 50 years and it has a severe effect on biodiversity. Sweden has vast forest coverage but most of it is unnatural. And that affects the biodiversity, the ecosystems, and most of our many lakes too. It’s a huge concern.”
Marcus and his team of expert nature guides immerse their guests deep within the forest on their Sweden wilderness vacations
, where you can track moose, and listen to wolves howling (Marcus himself does a very fair impression). They are highly attuned to the threats facing Sweden’s wild places, from forestry and mining to poorly sited wind turbines that destroy the stillness and the culling of predators.
“There are three wolf families in this area and two of them will be shot this winter,” says Marcus. “Luckily, the one we work with the most is being spared. The official reason is to keep numbers down, but I think it’s a bit ridiculous as other countries like Spain have many more.”
It’s not all bad news, though. When it comes to inclusivity, Sweden has introduced a number of promising initiatives to improve access to the country’s famously outdoor lifestyle for immigrants and other vulnerable groups. These include a ‘leisure bank’ loaning out sports equipment, and a project to help migrants and local people get to know each other through outdoor activities. It’s hoped that the more people experience natural places, the more they’ll want to protect them.
Marcus and his Wild Sweden team, meanwhile, are exemplars of successful nature tourism in Sweden, using their free time to help hundreds of other tourism businesses develop their own projects in other parts of Sweden.