Land use classes
Dominating land use class
Forest land
Arable land
Mountain areas
Remaining land
Soil type
Soil parent material
Soil depth
Surface boulder frequency
Humus layer
Lateral soil water movement
Soil moisture
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Land use classes

Land classification is based on the status of the land at the time of inventory, ignoring the possibilities for production increasing measures. Expected changes in land use must also be ignored unless they have already taken place.

Within the Swedish forest taxation system, the following types of land are distinguished:

Land use classes

Type of soil

Forest land

Forest land

Natural grassland

Agricultural soil

Arable land (incl. leys)




Bedrock and certain other impediments


Montane coniferous forest




Other climate impediment


Road and railway

Other soil on land

Power lines within forest land


Nature reserve


Military impediment


Built-up land


Other land




Description of land class:

Code and name


(1) Forest land
Forest land -photo

Land that is suitable for timber production and that is not used for other purposes to any significant degree. Soil is deemed suitable if it can produce on average a total forest cubic metre of 1 m3 per ha and year for a 100 year growth period (min. site quality class VIII according to Jonson or H100 higher than approx. 10 m). The class ’forest land‘ includes extensively grazed permanent pasture and land within wildlife reserves that is not agricultural land. Also classified as forest land are abandoned farmland and other land suitable for forest production but not used for that purpose, unless forest is a clearly inappropriate land use (e.g. monument areas). Farmland that has not been used within the previous three years is considered abandoned and re-classified as forest land. However so-called transition land is classified as farmland until its land use is altered. Plant nurseries, seed plantations, ornamental plant cultivations, clear cases of Christmas tree plantations and energy forest plantations are classified as built-up land.

(2) Natural grassland
Natural grassland -photo

Land that is essentially used for grazing and that is not ploughed regularly. This type of land is often characterised by tussocks, stones, some overgrowth by bushes or high soil moisture. In addition, such land is usually less well situated in relation to human settlements than arable soil.

(3) Arable land
Arable land -photo

Land that is used for crop production or grazing and that is ploughed regularly. Arable land also includes adjoining land areas where clearance for arable land occurs regularly. Land used for commercial production of vegetables, fruit and berries and land used for industrial, nursery and plantation activities is classified as built-up land.

(4) Mire
Mire -photo

Wetland usually with peat-forming plant communities. However, such land does not have to be peatland in the meaning that the peat depth exceeds 30 cm. Usually treeless or with few trees. Total forest cubic metre increment according to Jonson less than 1 m3 per ha and year. Moorland includes raised bogs and fens.

(5) Bedrock and certain other impediments

Bare bedrock, rocky land, cobble fields, beaches (shingle, bare sand or gravel shores), Öland’s alvar ground and other similar soil types where the total forest cubic metre increment according to Jonson is less than 1 m3 per ha and year.

(6) Montane coniferous forest

Transition zone between forest land and mountain. Total forest cubic metre increment according to Jonson less than 1 m3 per ha and year. The conifers are not able to form stands but may occur in groups. Birches are normally twisted.

- Note that montane coniferous forest must contain conifers or at least the stumps of such. If the montane forest is a pure birch forest without significant inclusions of conifers (or their stumps), it is classified as ’mountain‘ if the total forest cubic metre increment is less than 1 m3 per ha and year.

(7) Mountain
Mountain -photo

Bare or sparsely tree-populated areas above the conifer treeline. Of other types of land, the class ’mountain‘ only includes freshwater and nature reserve. The boundary between montane coniferous forest and mountain is characterised e.g. by the following:

If only birch grows up to the bare mountain region above the tree line, a total forest cubic metre increment according to Jonson of 1 m3 per ha and year is decisive. As soon as the Jonson index falls below this value, the land is classed as mountain. This means that the ’lower‘ limit of the land class ’mountain‘ lies at a lower level when pure birch grows up to the bare mountain than when montane coniferous forest occurs.

If coniferous forest grows up to the bare mountain region above the tree line, a montane coniferous forest zone is distinguished according to the above. In the land class ’mountain‘, only solitary, half-prostrate bushy individual spruce and fir may be present. Stumps indicating a former more frequent incidence of conifers must not be present.

(8) Other climate impediment

Land situated in Norrland and primarily flat wetland. The land does not lie in terrain where it can be classified as mountain or montane coniferous forest. The water surplus is so extreme that the land can be classed as bog. Due to the harsh climate, the total forest cubic metre increment according to Jonson does not exceed 1 m3 per ha and year.

(9) Road and railway
Road and railway -photo

Here, road refers to roadways for permanent use with a width of at least 5 m. Verges, banks, ditches, parking areas, etc. and areas where forest is regularly cleared for sight are included as road.

Railway refers to areas for rail-borne traffic. Railway includes a greater area than the railway itself, namely the entire area on which forest cannot be grown due to the existence of the railway. Such areas are often fenced, which makes it easier to draw their boundaries.

Road and railway within or on the edge of arable land, mountain, nature reserve, military impediment, built-up land or other land is classed with the respective adjoining land class.

(10) Power lines within forest land
Power lines within forest land  -photo

Corridors for electricity pylons with a width of at least 5 m that lie within land that would otherwise be forest land. If the width does not exceed 5 m, the pathway must be classed as forest land. The boundary between the power lines and forest land is defined by an imaginary straight line running at a tangent to the trunks (or if the forest has been felled, to the stumps) of trees on the forest land.

(11) Nature reserve

The nature reserve class includes national parks, estate reserves and certain other forms of nature protection area, such as certain nature reserves or parts thereof, monument land (excluding trapping pits) and natural relics.

(12) Military impediment

Military impediment includes target areas of firing ranges and bombing ranges, plus certain other military areas. Note however that ordinary fenced areas in association with military establishments are classed as built-up land. The reason for classifying some areas as military impediments is for safety or secrecy considerations.

(13) Built-up land
Built-up land -photo

Built-up land comprises human settlements - incl. parks, industrial areas, land associated with military establishments (usually fenced), shooting ranges, golf courses, sports fields apart from slalom courses (’other land‘) and illuminated running tracks (’road‘), constructions for outdoor bathing, airfields, gardens and parks outside settlements, horticultural establishments, seed plantations, nurseries, energy forest plantations and clear cases of plantations of ornamental plants or Christmas trees.

Note that ’built-up land‘ also includes other land classes (excl. water) and afforested areas where active forestry is not carried out if they lie within the above-named types of land.

(14) Other land
Other land -photo

All land in areas not classified in the categories specified above. This includes e.g. storage land, lay-bys, active gravel- pits, quarries, fuel peat bogs, mines and slalom courses. Small areas of land that cannot be used for productive purposes due to their shape or position (certain mounds in fields, narrow strips between roads and railways, and the like) are classed as ’other land‘.

(15) Freshwater
Freshwater -photo

Lakes and watercourses of all kinds, at least 2 m wide. Watercourses less than 2 m wide are included with the adjoining land class.

Note that the great Swedish lakes; Lake Vänern, Lake Vättern, Lake Mälaren and Lake Hjälmaren are included in ’freshwater‘. Freshwater also includes areas that - verified in the field - lie below the highest dam level.


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