The forest has 27 red-listed species. Photo: Jonas Nordenström

Protect the Forest has taken the initiative for an appeal which calls for withdrawal of Sveaskog’s logging plans in the natural forest at Njuonniesvarrie, near Sorsele in northern Sweden.

In a letter to the state-owned and FSC-certified company Sveaskog, the County Administrative Board and the Swedish Forest Agency, the NGO’s state:

”We call on Sveaskog to take back its planned loggings of over 100 hectares of forest”. The letter has been sent earlier this month and is signed by representatives from nine NGOs, such as the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), Protect the Forest and Climate Action.

It is also important to protect the forest from logging for social and cultural reasons because there are few remaining natural forests left near Sorsele, most of them have already been clear-cut in all directions. Over 45 000 people have signed a petition against Sveaskog’s loggings of natural forests, such as the forest at Njuonniesvarrie in the campaign ”Vår Skog” (Our Forest) carried out by several Swedish NGOs during 2018-2019.  Over 40 species with conservation values have been found at Njuonniesvarrie, of which 27 species are red-listed. These species were registered during an inventory by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation of Sorsele.

The NGOs state:

”It is completely unacceptable that Sveaskog’s logging plans remain in the absolute hotspot of the forest (A22699-2016) where there are finds of the endangered fungi Antrodia infirma and several other red-listed species”.

According to the Swedish Species Information Centre, forestry is the greatest threat for most of the species found in Njuonniesvarrie, here are some examples:

Antrodia infirma (EN) indicates old natural forest. Known locations must be protected and excluded from forestry.

Haploporus odorus (VU) an indicator species which grows where there are old goat willows and areas with high conservation values. All locations where Haploporus odorus is found should be protected.

Antrodia albobrunnea (VU) is a species which indicates natural pine forest with high conservation values. To maintain viable populations large areas need to be protected.

Phlebia mellea (VU) indicates old-growth forest and spruce forests with high and even humidity. Very sensitive about impacts from forestry. Its biotopes should be left for free development.  

Laurilia sulcata (VU) indicates old-growth forest and demands untouched spruce forest. Its locations should not be clear-cut and it is sensitive to forestry in its surroundings.

Chaenothecopsis fennica (NT) needs old dead pine trees. Very limited expansion outside the Nordic countries, therefore these countries have responsibility to preserve it. Forestry where it grows or nearby should be avoided.

Pseudographis pinicola (NT) lives in old-growth-like spruce forest with high and even humidity. Populations where Pseudographis pinicola are found should be treated as woodland key habitats and not clear-cut.

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation in Sorsele has informed the Swedish Forest Agency several times about Njuonniesvarrie’s high conservation values but the Swedish Forest Agency has still not carried out a woodland key habitat inventory of the forest. There is also an unfinished FSC complaint concerning Njuonniesvarrie. Sveaskog should wait for the outcome of this before they do anything at all, states Protect the Forest. 

By Kristina Bäck 

Sveaskog’s newly made road through natural forest in the reindeer grazing land of Maskaure Sami village.
Photo: Björn Mildh.

The state-owned and FSC-certified forest company Sveaskog has built a road through the natural forest at Gijmiesgielas in the reindeer grazing land of Maskaure Sami village in Arjeplog’s municipality. The forest has high conservation values and holds the same class as a woodland key habitat. Leif Lundberg from Maskaure Sami village, Björn Mildh and Johanna Nilsson from The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) have written an open letter to Sveaskog questioning the road:

“Dear Anette, Jenny and Fredrik,
Some words about the new road which Sveaskog has built through the natural forest at Gijmiesgielas in the reindeer grazing land of Maskaure Sami village. The road does not follow the decided route which can be seen on the map at The Swedish Forest Agency’s map site. Sveaskog had noticed that the original route was planned to go through a woodland key habitat and the company has therefore “corrected” the route of the road.

The Swedish Forest Agency has not made a field visit in the forest, which they should have done instead of just accepting Sveaskog’s map sketch. It was of course correct of the company not to build the road through the woodland key habitat. But the question is if the damage would have been less if Sveaskog had followed the original route.

Sveaskog knew just what they wanted.

The road was built in a forest which is in the same class as a woodland key habitat, a forest which Sveaskog is planning to clear-cut. The forest is already planned for logging and the transport road is ready:

This was implemented before a consultation with the Sami village had taken place. How was it now- Sveaskog has assured us that there is ”equality and respect for businesses on both sides”?

The Sami village has subsequently said no to the forest being logged, both during Sveaskog’s consultancy and field visit. Expressed in clear text to Sveaskog- the road at Gijmiesgielas should never have been built. The natural forests there are both important reindeer grazing land and hold the same class as woodland key habitats. 

Maskaure Sami-village’s no to logging should be respected!

Kind regards,

Björn Mildh, member of The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)
Leif Lundberg, from Maskaure Sami village
Johanna Nilsson, member of SSNC in Luleå”

The conference, which is organised by Wild Europe, comes at a critical moment with opportunity to influence policy on old growth forest & wilderness habitats in Europe.

Date And Time: Wed, Nov 20, 2019, 8:00 AM – Thu, Nov 21, 2019, 6:00 PM CET

Location: Hotel Tatra, 5 Námestie 1. mája, 811 06 Staré Mesto, Slovakia

The conference deals with challenges facing wilderness and old growth forest and has two main objectives:

• To produce new initiatives aimed at strengthening the protection agenda and supporting larger scale ecological restoration, on the 10th anniversary of Wild Europe's involvement in the 2009 EU Parliamentary Resolution on wilderness, passed by a massive and enduring 538 vote mandate

• To determine and develop next steps for the old growth forest protection strategy, building on the projects initiated with the 550,000 euro raised since Wild Europe's Brussels conference in 2017

The conference is held against a background where destruction and degradation of habitat in Europe is worsening even in supposedly protected areas, illegal and inappropriate logging is widespread and there are growing challenges from climate change, and political indifference.

Equally there are significant positive opportunities to be secured from new national initiatives and effective use of a nature enterprise funding agenda. Additionally the EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy, a New Green Deal, guidelines for the new European Commission – all to be determined in the next few months with impact on EU and non-EU states alike.

Rebecka le Moine, Member of the Swedish Parliament (the Green Party) will give a talk on 'Best practice for wildness in European state forests: examples for replication' during the conference.

More information on the programme here.

More information on Wild Europe here.

Forest landscape in Transylvania. Photo: Bergadder (Pixabay, CCO Commons)

Following the killings of the two forest rangers Liviu Pop and Raducu Gorcioaia, who were out investigating illegal logging, Protect the Forest and 45 other NGOs wrote to Romania's Presidency and incoming Government. The NGOs call on them to publicly condemn the recent killings of the forest rangers.

The NGOs also call for a thorough and unbiased investigation to be carried out into both cases in order to identify those responsible and to bring them to justice. Steps must be taken to ensure that not only are those who work to defend forests and the environment provided with adequate legal protections, but that those protections are consistently enforced in practice.

Finally, CSOs urge the Romanian Government to take concrete action to dismantle the Romanian ‘timber mafia’ network, and to strengthen and ensure compliance with legislation relating to forest protection and biomass sustainability.

Read the open letter from the 46 NGOs here.

Sign petition to demand justice for killed forest ranger Liviu Pop in Romania (via WeMove.EU) here.

Sign petition to protect Romania's last old-growth forests (via YouMove.EU) here.

Watch film clips and documentary about the valuable forests in Romania and illegal logging (via EuroNature Foundation) here.

Read WWF's 'Illegal Logging in Romania Turns Violent: Second Forest Ranger in a Month Murderedhere.

A tree stump in the forest at Biellovare. It indicates that a fire has been in the forest a long time ago.
Photo: Björn Mildh.

The FSC-certified and state-owned company Sveaskog continues to plan loggings in old-growth forests which are important reindeer grazing lands of the Maskaure Sami village in Arjeplog’s municipality. Sveaskog will not openly publish its nature value assessment of the forest of Biellovare, which is planned for logging. Leif Lundberg from Maskaure Sami village, Björn Mildh and Johanna Nilsson from The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) have written an open letter to Sveaskog. They ask Sveaskog if the company’s nature value assessments are of such low quality that they can’t be shown?

Here is the open letter to Sveaskog:

"Dear Anette, Fredrik and Jenny,
Sveaskog continues to log old natural forests, which are important reindeer grazing lands for Maskaure Sami village, even though the Sami village has said no to logging. At the same time Sveaskog refuses to show its nature value assessments concerning the forest at Biellovare, although we have asked for a written report time and again (Leif Lundberg Maskaure Sami village and Björn Mildh SSNC):
”. . will not send any written nature value assessment. .” (Answer from Sveaskog in a letter 11.10.2019).

Are Sveaskog’s assessments of such low quality that they can’t be shown?
The natural forest at Biellovare:

Sveaskog has the great self-confidence to carry out its own nature value assessments internally. In that case no forest which is a reindeer grazing pasture should be cut down as the assessment is held secret. Especially since the Sami village in question has said no to logging and has asked for a written report.
Sveaskog’s secrecy and refusal strides against the general conception of justice.

How many times should this have to be said to a company which has FSC-certified its forestry and has ”openness” as its keyword?

Sveaskog, please be open and publish your nature value assessment of the forest at Biellovare!!

Kind regards,
Leif Lundberg, Maskaure Sami village
Johanna Nilsson, member of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation in Luleå
Björn Mildh, member of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation"