Most Swedes have a good idea of the respect inherent in Sweden's amazing 'Allemansrätten' - every man's right to roam freely but responsibly in nature. Most of the time that is... Christmas not counted.
The hmm.. tradition in Sweden to steal a tree for Christmas hit the forest-owners hard, and according to the Swedish TV news program “Rapport”, every fifth Christmas tree in Sweden is stolen.
The thefts around Christmas mean a loss of a couple of hundred million SEK (one hundred million SEK is the equivalent of close to $15 million). This according to Esbjörn Wahlberg at Sveaskog (Sweden’s largest forest owner and leading supplier of timber), who has studied the thefts.
“Please buy your tree in the market place or ask the forest owner if you can cut it down,” he says. Many of those you steal trees in the forests don’t view themselves as thieves; they feel that what they’re doing is almost the same as pilfering apples. Around 170 000 Christmas trees are imported from other counties, mostly from Denmark. According to statistics from Jordbruksverket (the Swedish Board of Agriculture), the valie of the number of imported trees have increased from 1 million SEK ($146,000) in 1995, to a little over 14 million SEK ($2,042,570) in 2007. Last year Sweden imported trees for almost 14 million SEK ($2,042,570). According to a study by Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences) in Uppsala, in 2002, 3 million of Sweden’s 4.3 million households had a tree for Christmas.
Read more about the Swedish 'Allemansrätt' - Allemansrätten - 'Everyman’s right'