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Skog för export: skogsarbete, teknik och försörjning i Lule älvdal 1870-1970
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
1984 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Timber for export : forest work, technology and income in the Lule Valley 1870-1970 (English)
Abstract [en]

The forestry industry played an important role in the industrialization of the Swedish economy in the late 19th century. The aim of this study is to deed with the determination of income and wages in the forestry regions where the sawmills and pulp industries found their raw material supplies.The formation of incomes and wages for lumberjacks and drivers is analysed in the Parish of Jokkmokk in the far north of Sweden for the period 1878 to 1938. The number of workers engaged in forestry is also estimated as is the total labour supply in the parish.Technological development and productivity in felling and transportation are analysed. This part of the study covers the period 1880 to the present, and includes log-driving activities on the Lule River from 1881 to 1977.Briefly, the findings of the study are that income, timber prices and wages in forestry in the parish fluctuated together with exports of forestry products, particularly pulp after the year 1910. Estimates also show that troughs were deeper and booms more marked in the study area than in the overall market for forestry products measured both in volume and in export value.Labour productivity in felling and transport showed a rising tendency in the last two decades of the 19th century, which reflects the replacement of the axe as the only instrument for felling by the two-man timber saw. Better horses, fodder and sledges also raised efficiency.However, during the first half of the 20th century, labour productivity was markedly stagnant. Improvements in equipment, such as better steel in the saws, even stronger horses and so on, could not compensate for circumstances such as longer transporting distances and more cutting in the forests with lower volume per tree.These latter tendencies reflect a growing shortage of raw materials which the Swedish forestry industries had to face from about the turn of the century. Not until about 1955, when tractors replaced horses and the power saw replaced the one-man timber saw, did productivity rise substantially. Over a period of fifteen to twenty years, forestry work became almost completely mechanized.The labour force in the Parish of Jokkmokk was over 2,000 men in the boom of the 1930s. Today, the labour force is a steady 250 or so. The technological change in the 1960s was, of course, an adjustment to the extremely high labour costs in the Swedish post-war economy.In industry, a continuous adjustment to the factor proportions in the economy had taken place. In forestry, adjustment took place over a very short period of time after decades of stagnation from the technological point of view. Institutional, social and technical obstacles had delayed adjustments earlier. A totally new organization within forestry work was required before new techniques could be introduced. These were not applicable to older organization forms based on part-time farmers, part-time foresters.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1984. , 231 p.
Umeå studies in economic history, ISSN 0347-254X ; 6
Keyword [en]
Forestry work, technology, determination of income, regional economics
National Category
Economic History Economic Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-73488ISBN: 91-7174-156-9OAI: diva2:632046
Public defence
1984-05-30, Humanisthuset, hörsal F, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:15
Available from: 2013-06-24 Created: 2013-06-24 Last updated: 2013-06-24Bibliographically approved

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Lundgren, Nils-Gustav
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