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This is a introduction to a series of programs about boreal and temperate food forests and their stewards, about biodiversity and climate adaptation.

A forest garden is a food-producing ecosystem, usually dominated by perennial plants with edible parts. It is a layered system with everything from high and low fruit and nut trees, to shrubs with berries, perennial herbs, ground-covering plants, root vegetables and climbers.

The producers of these programs are Viktor and Elin Säfve, and with their family they manage the three-hectare Åfallet Forest Garden in Tylöskog, Örebro municipality, Sweden.

If you want to contact Viktor and Elin please write to: matskog(a)protonmail.com

More information can be found on www.matskog.com.

See the first YouTube episode on Forest Gardening in the North here (with English subtitles).

Forest at the lake Yngern, Sweden. Photo: Bjarne Tutturen

Around the lake Yngern, about 40 km southwest of Stockholm, there is still some unfragmented forests which haven’t been logged yet. Wolf and lynx, capercaillie and black grouse live in the forests and by the lake the white-tailed eagle, black-throated loon, beaver and osprey breeds. Unfortunately, these forests are now planned to be clear-cut. The state-owned and FSC-certified forest company Sveaskog has submitted over 20 logging notifications just south of the lake during 2018-2019.

Recently a group of volunteers have been investigating the conservation values in the forests which are planned for logging at Yngsviken, southern part of lake Yngern in the county of Södermanland. Everything is far from investigated yet but many of the species which have been found so far are red-listed and threatened. Here are a few examples:

The endangered beetles Aradus erosus (EN) and Aradus signaticornis (EN), the crust fungus Phlebia centrifuga (VU), the moss Neckera pennata (VU), the moss Lophozia ascendens (VU), the lichen Inoderma byssaceum (VU), the fungus Cortinarius cumatilis (VU), the fungus matsutake (NT), the fungus Phellinus ferrugineofuscus (NT), the lesser spotted woodpecker (NT) the orchid Goodyera repens (NT). (EN= endangered, VU= vulnerable, NT= near threatened).

Many of Sveaskog’s notifications for logging are small but are placed next to each other. So, after the forest has been logged there will be larger areas of clear-cuttings, some of which will go all the way down to the shore of the lake. Bjarne Tutturen knows the forests well and is active in the local forest group, he says:

– During the last couple of years, I have noted that there is a lot of logging going on here. It is a pity because there is a large and quite wild forest area which is now losing its natural values because of fragmentation. This is where you can encounter wolf, lynx, capercaillie, black grouse, boreal owl, Eurasian pygmy owl, Eurasian eagle owl, osprey, white-tailed eagle and beaver.

According to The Swedish Species Information Centre forestry with clear-cuttings and tree plantations are the greatest threats to several of the red-listed species found in the forest. An example is the orchid Goodyera repens, whole habitats where it grows should be protected as nature reserves or biotope-protection areas, according to The Swedish Species Information Centre. South of Yngsviken there is a lot of Goodyera repens growing in the slopes down towards the lake.

The moss Anastrophyllum hellerianum (NT). Photo: Bjarne Tutturen

Another example is the capercaillie, which also breeds in the forest. When the forest gets more fragmented and is replaced with dense plantations, it is a disadvantage for capercaillie. The Swedish Species Information Centre states: ”For a continual existence of capercaillie its habitats should be at least 25 per cent within an unfragmented forest of at least 300 hectares”.

Although the area seems quite wild it is only some miles from the urban centers of Södertälje, Järna, Gnesta and Nykvarn and only about 40 kilometers from Stockholm. The forest is important for outdoor ventures, such as walking and skiing and the lake for canoeing in the summer and ice-skating in the winter. The trekking path “Sörmlandsleden” passes by some of the places where the forest will be logged.

Forests like these are important to keep intact for curbing climate change. According to 11 000 scientists from 159 countries who have declared climate emergency, forests around the world have to be protected since they sequester a lot of CO2, especially boreal forests. “We need to quickly curtail habitat and biodiversity loss protecting the remaining primary and intact forests, especially those with high carbon stores and other forests with the capacity to rapidly sequester carbon, while increasing reforestation and afforestation where appropriate at enormous scales”.

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:

http://www.norrbotten.snf.se/wordpress/gijmiesgielas/

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 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. 

 

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.