Brad Withrow-Robinson, Forestry and Natural Resources Extension agent for Benton, Linn and Polk Counties.
Dalarna County was the seat of a very old and important copper and iron mining industry, an early source of wealth and power for Sweden. We visted the Falun copper mine, active since the 10th century and a UNESCO world heritage site.
Why is that part of our forestry tour?
Forest products were a critical part of early mining industry, which needed massive amounts of charcoal and round wood to extract and process the metals. Forestlands near the mine were hard pressed to provide these products. The mine is also the birthplace of world’s oldest stock company, which eventually became large forest and paper corporation Stora Enso.
Over-exploitation of forest resources by the mid-16th century led to a series of perhaps the world’s oldest forest protection rules. In 1607 King Charles IX issued a ban on logging and charcoal production within a one-mile radius of the Falun mine (using the old Swedish mile, about 7 English miles). It was named the “Peace Mile” in hopes it would reduce disputes over unregulated charcoal production.
However it was not until 1754 that the surveyor Johan Brandberg finished measuring 112 points around the circumference of a the circle, marking each with stones.
See old and new maps of the circle drawn by Brandberg at: