Finnskogen—directly translated as TheForest of the Finns—is a large, contiguous forest belt along the Norwegian-Swedish border in Hedmark/Värmland, where farming families from Finland settled in the early 1600s. The immigrants—called Forest Finns—came mostly from the Savolax region, close to the Russian border at that time.
The Forest Finns were slash-and-burn farmers. This ancient agricultural method yielded plentiful crops, but required large forested areas as the soil was quickly exhausted. In fact, it was a scarcity of natural resources in their native Finland that forced the first wave of migration over the border. Fuelled by failing crops and war, the Forest Finns needed new land to cultivate.
Many of the migrants went southwest and tried their luck in the wilderness. In the following decades, they spread across the forest areas of Scandinavia in search of land with the best and highest-density spruce. The journey was from time to time an essential part of their existence, as mobility was necessary to continue their slash-and-burn farming…
All images ©Terje Abusdal