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170 million acres covered in largest deal of its kind

OTTAWA - Most of Canada's largest forestry companies announced a groundbreaking deal with environmental groups Tuesday that will restrict logging in the country's vast northern forests.


The agreement covers 170 million acres — an area nearly twice the size of Germany — and ends years of battles over logging in Canada's massive boreal forest, which environmentalists say helps fight global warming by absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide.

The forestry companies will stop all logging immediately on 75 million acres to protect woodland caribou herds under pressure from development. The two sides will then spend three years working out which restrictions to impose on logging in the remaining 95 million acres.

Read more here.

Ask Nestlé to stop buying palm oil from destroyed rainforest

Nestlé must stop buying palm oil from suppliers that destroy rainforest and peatland, and call for peatland protection and a moratorium (halt) on the destruction of Indonesian forests for growing palm oil.

Please send a mail from here.

Swedish folk singer Esbjörn Hazelius, reggae artist General Knas, the punk band Invasionen, the poet Bengt Berg, the sculpter Maria Westerberg and many other artists, scientists and nature conservationists… Everyone is coming to the Forest Festival in Sweden on July 14 to 18. The event is a manifestation for the protection of old-growth forests and reformation of Swedish forestry.

Several scientists and nature enthusiasts will lecture and hold guided tours about nature conservation, ecology, nature-oriented forestry and climate. There will be a political debate between members of the Swedish Parliament on the environmental and forest policies in Sweden.

The festival is arranged to highlight the threat to the forest’s diversity. This year the Swedish general election is being held and it is the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity.  Currently Sweden has not achieved the targeted area of protected forests set by the Environmental Objectives Council. A new environmental objective towards sustainable forests should be adopted in Sweden and the loss of biodiversity should be halted.

“To have any chance of achieving the set environmental objective, vigorous effort needs to be made to completely stop the logging of our remaining old-growth forests,” said Victor Säfve, Forest Festival Organizer. “We hope to provide knowledge about the forest and inspire engagement towards greater ecological awareness.”

The Forest Festival is an event with various forms of cultural expressions such as music, dance, poetry, film and theatre.

“Most cultural events are held in cities but the Forest Festival moves culture into nature,” said Kata Säfve, Organizer. “The Festival is an exciting union between nature and culture, with everything from Bollywood dance to an art film about elk mythology. We want to encourage people to see the forest´s many possibilities and dimensions.”

The Festival takes place at the homestead Åfallet, 50 km south of Örebro. The Swedish author Thomas Tidholm opens the Festival on July 14.

Organizers: Protect the Forest; Swedish Society for Nature Conservation in Örebro County; Hjärtats Eko (Echo of the Heart).

Link to the Forest Festival website: http://www.skogsfestivalen.org/2010/en

Contact person:

Viktor Säfve, Forest Festival Organizer, +46 (0)76 1148811

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Janus face of SCA

 

 

In ancient Rome they worshipped the god Janus, who had two faces. This expressed the double nature of the deity. Through the years I have experienced the same phenomenon with SCA. Their management has an intentional double nature, a Janus face. One face is turned outward, to the public, customers and media. This is the face that the management wants the media to see and spread. It gives a positive picture of SCA and its activity.

 

SCA does not show the other face openly, but only behind closed doors. The company turns this face against nature, forests and birds when they cut down the forests. This face is turned against individuals who express critique, as long as management deems they are no immediate threat to the company. This face is turned against the indigenous Sámi people at closed meetings about logging traditional reindeer grazing lands, where only a few Sámi out of the whole community meet the representatives of the company. This face shows neither consideration nor understanding, and is ruled by their tough and authoritarian corporate culture. SCA detests everything that limits their possibility to extract timber at a profit from the forests, whether it’s high biological values, indigenous peoples rights or nesting birds.

SCA’s lack of environmental protection has a long tradition

 

When SCA describes its own position regarding environmental protection, you can read the following: “Already in the mid 1980s, SCA assessed that preserving biodiversity was the most important environmental target for a responsible forestry management”.

 

From the following series of pictures it is evident how well they have fulfilled their chief environmental objective in their domains in Norrbotten county.

 

Surrounded by clear cuts is a little forest remnant of a few hectares, which was temporarily left after the first wave of final fellings, nested Black woodpecker, Three-toed woodpecker, Great spotted woodpecker, Boreal owl, Honey buzzard and Eurasian Sparrowhawk. Observations were also made of Lesser spotted woodpecker, Common buzzard and Eurasian treecreeper, in addition to more or less abundant findings of orchids like Frog orchid, Lesser twayblade, Lesser butterfly-orchid, Heath spotted orchid, Northern coralroot and the Calypso orchid.

 

The last picture shows what was left after SCA had finished logging. The small  forest remnant was totally eradicated, and the picture might as well have been taken in Hiroshima in 1945. The reckless forestry of SCA, their concealed double nature, has a long history.

 

 http://picasaweb.google.com/threatenedforests/SCASSkogsbrukshistoria#

 

The Finnträsk forest is located 20 kilometers south of the city of Piteå, on the border between Norrbotten and Västerbotten county. The area is well known for its abundant birdlife, which coincides with the IBA-criteria (Important Bird Area according to BirdLife International), even though an official classification has not yet been made. In Finnträsk Great grey owl (Strix nebulosa), Ural owl (Strix uralensis), Northern goshawk, Honey buzzard, Common buzzard and Osprey nest. There are also several couples of nesting Smew in ponds in the area, along with courting grounds for Wood grouse (or Western Capercaillie). To the southeast, Finnträsk is adjacent to the Kälen forest, which is also rich in birdlife, with among others the Honey buzzard and Great grey owl which nest here.

 

For more than 10 years SCA has continuously been notified about the area’s unique character as a bird habitat, but the company has still continued to log the last remaining island of natural forests, which are living-space for many birds of prey (read the journal “Vår Fågelvärld” 4/2001 and 8/2007). The small areas that the company has left have not been set aside on their own initiative, but always after immense pressure. Further, the areas that have been set aside have no long-term protection. A simple “internal re-prioritizing” of set-aside areas, that nobody needs to be informed about, is all that it takes for the company to be able to clear-cut these areas in the future.

 

In brief, there is NO bird protection, neither in Finnträsk nor in Kälen. Right now the “Ural Owl Forest” and “Wood Grouse Forest” in Finnträsk are next in turn to be logged, as well as a small remnant of natural forest in Kälen with a previously known nesting place for Great grey owl. The forests are marked with strips and necessary permissions are already granted. All that is left to do is to start chopping down trees.

 

During the initial harvesting planning of the “Ural Owl forest”, not a single tree was to be left around the nest tree. Not until the company was contacted anew, was the planning redone so that the trees closest to the nest were to be left untouched. But SCA has refused to protect the whole forest, which is the living-space of the Ural Owl.

 

 http://picasaweb.google.com/mildh.bjorn/SlaguggleskogenIFinntrask#

 

The “Wood Grouse forest” is another, small remnant of natural forest in Finnträsk, which SCA has decided to cut clear even though they contain courting grounds for Wood Grouse. The forest is marked with strips as close as thirty meters from the center of the courting ground. When I notified SCA about the courting ground, the company disputed my information, and as a lack of argument SCA went to the media and publicly called me a liar. My information about the courting ground was later confirmed by others in the journal “Skogsland”. But still the threat of final felling hangs over the “Wood Grouse forest”.

 

 http://picasaweb.google.com/mildh.bjorn/TjaderskogenIFinntrask#

 

In the neighboring Kälen forest, for many years there was a well-known nesting place of Greater grey owl in an old Northern goshawks nest. I notified SCA about the nest, and asked the company not to log in the vicinity of the nest tree. But what did SCA do? Exactly the opposite! They cut the forest next to the nest. Since then no Greater grey owl has nested there. The picture shows the owl in the nest before the final felling took place.

 

 http://picasaweb.google.com/mildh.bjorn/HackandeLappugglaIKalen#

 

There are many examples that all show the same thing. SCA’s promises about saving habitats for large predator birds, owls and other rare and endangered species of birds, are nothing but empty words to deceive the public and their customers. It doesn’t matter to SCA if the birds disappear. Preferably they should vanish, so that remaining old-growth forests can be logged without protests. SCA’s claim of environmental protection is not to be trusted.

 

Even birds have the right to live. True environmental protection and responsible forestry will grant them a future.

 

Finally: The forestry certification FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) will never be better than those who are set to realize them in practice – in this case SCA and their certifiers.

 
 
 
 

Björn Mildh

 
 

 

Björn Mildh has since 1984 been living in Piteå in Norrbotten county, the northernmost region in Sweden. He was born and raised in the archipelago of Åboland in Finland, and since childhood he has had a strong and active interest in nature, especially birds, plants and forests. During his professional life he has worked as a pediatrician for about thirty years and retired in 2005.

 

Since the end of the 1990s he worked actively with nature conservation, mostly on state owned and corporate land in the south of Norrbotten county (on the tenancy of ASSI, which later in 2002 became Sveaskog, as well as on the tenancy of SCA and the National Property Board). Björn Mildh is a member of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and board member of the organization Protect the Forest.

 

skutovikensca

 

The Swedish Government jeopardizes the European natural heritage as old-growth forests continue to be logged and the level of ambition for the forest protection will be decreased after year 2010. This is according to the organization Protect the Forest, whose criticism is supported by the German environmental organization NABU. Together they demand strong efforts from the Government and the forest industry to protect the Swedish old-growth forests and other forests with high conservation values.


Protect the Forest implies that the environmental objective bill, which was presented yesterday by the Swedish Government, leaves room for arbitrary interpretations because a clear area target for long-term forest protection is lacking. The organization is critical of the Government for not increasing the funding to achieve the overall objective to safeguard the biodiversity by 2020.

“It is good that the short-term objective is considered to be achieved by 2010, meaning that a total of about 2 percent of productive forest land may be formally protected below the mountain region, but it does not justify a slower rate of protection after 2010,” says Viktor Säfve, Chairperson of Protect the Forest. “Why is the Government waiting to deliver a new area target by 2020? Old-growth forests are being logged now and resources and clear objectives to work with are needed by the concerned authorities.”

Forestry has been conducted on a major part of Sweden’s productive forest land. The old natural forests that remain are an important part of Europe’s last natural forests. Sweden is internationally committed to stop the loss of biodiversity and is required to comply with EU nature conservation directives. Despite this, more than 1,800 forest-living species are threatened or near-threatened in the country.

”Germany is a major importer of Swedish forest products and it is very worrying that the Swedish forest industry and Government still allows old-growth forests to be logged,” says Johannes Enssle, Forest Policy Officer of NABU. “The Swedish old-growth forests, which constitute a significant proportion of the remaining natural forests in Western Europe, must be protected.”

NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union) is the oldest and largest member based environmental organization in Germany. NABU has signed the appeal “Protect Sweden’s Old-Growth Forests”, initiated by the organization Protect the Forest. The appeal, which is addressed to the Swedish Parliament and Government, has so far been signed by more than 185 scientists, thousands of individuals and 25 organizations. The appeal demands that 20 percent of the total productive forest land needs to be protected and that the Government increases the resources needed to safeguard the biodiversity. Large areas of forest land must also be restored in order to reach 20 percent forest protection.

“It is scandalous that the Government turns a blind eye to scientific recommendations and democratically adopted environmental objectives,” says Daniel Rutschman, Secretary of Protect the Forest. “The Government runs a counter-productive policy when it reduces the budget allocated to forest protection at the same time as it wants to make the establishment of nature reserves more expensive. However, it appears that the overall forest objectives remain, but it is important to make sure that this does not only look good on paper.”

For more information, please contact:

Viktor Säfve, Chairperson of Protect the Forest, +46 76 114 88 11, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Daniel Rutschman, Secretary of Protect the Forest, +46 73 810 72 39, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Amanda Tas, Forest Coordinator, Protect the Forest, +46 76 761 35 33, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.