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”

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"

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.

These forests are my home. Only here I can hear the voices of my ancestors. If someone started destroying
your house, noone would question you from stopping it. Photo: Andris Fågelviskare

This text is written by Andris Fågelviskare:

There is noise in the forest today. Branches cracking as something massive moves through what used to be old growth forest. A panicked squirrel escapes into the strip of forest that remains. The old trees have fallen. The hazelnuts, hidden to become food for the winter, now buried under layers of tree-branches and muddy tracks made by big machines. Two wrens fight over territory where the borders are no longer distinguishable.

This is Sweden, 2019. One of the countries in Europe with the best reputation when it comes to nature-protection. The logging industry has spent millions on propaganda and brainwashing to maintain this reputation. "For every tree cut, we plant two more". "They will absorb carbon-dioxide and make climate-friendly products for the future". Their commercials sound very nice to someone who have not looked deeper into the forest itself. In reality, forest in Sweden is being cut down at a similar rate as the Amazon rainforest. Old-growth forest now makes up less than a few percent of the tree-cover in Sweden. And planting trees are not always as good as it sounds. Look deeper. After the old forest is gone, the earth is plowed. Just like on a field.

Forestry fields, plowed and planted with genetically similar spruce. Photo: Andris Fågelviskare
On a normalsized clearcut, there will be thousands of tree-saplings planted. Usually by hand, often by low-paid workers imported from asia or eastern Europe. These saplings are almost entirely spruce. These spruces have been gentically selected for high-speed growth, and raised in laboratory-like conditions. All genetically similar, different than the local spruce that grew here naturally. Genetical diversity within the forest is lost. The saplings are often sprayed with poison to prevent insects or deer from destroying them. Also to consider, spruce are not naturally the first species to reclaim open ground. Birch, willow, aspen and other leafy trees do that. Instead, these species are treated as weeds, and actively removed. The few who survives are often consumed by hungry moose. In the long run, these highly important species loose their place in our forests. Remaining, is straight lines of same-aged, genetically similair plantations of spruce or pine. Dark, acidic, almost nothing can live there. A biological desert, compared to the wild abundance that once lived here. And the wood-quality of these fast-growing trees is very poor, but at least money can be made a little bit faster. Even if native trees were allowed to return on their own, it would still take hundreds of years to restore what is being cut in just a few days.
Modern humans look to the stars wondering if they are alone in the universe. Blind, to the fact that millions of other
life-forms share this planet with us. Photo: Andris Fågelviskare

These forests are my home. Only here I can hear the voices of my ancestors. If someone started destroying your house, noone would question you from stopping it, and police would make sure to catch the one doing it. If I try to defend my home, for instance by simply standing in the way of a logging-machine, I would be the one breaking the law. The one destroying my home is being paid. This is also the home of countless other species. Birds, insects, fungy, deer, fox, wolf, boar, moose and many more. But from the inside of a logging-machine, you won't hear the warning-screams of the birds. Modern humans look to the stars wondering if they are alone in the universe. Blind, to the fact that millions of other life-forms share this planet with us. The separation from the rest of nature seem to have caused humanity to loose the ability to notice the very existence of the squirrel and the wren. In the spring, all the migratory birds will return, to a forest that no longer exist. They will have to fight eachother, for the few remaining traces of forest, to survive. Step by step, the land is silenced. A warning, of what awaits the human civilization...


Deep muddy tracks cutting through the remaining old-forest. Photo: Andris Fågelviskare

Fighting the logging-industry, together with the two other main land-destroyers, the hunting-industry and the industrial agriculture, is like an ant trying to attack an elephant. The only way to succeed, is by being many. And what will bring the biggest effect, is not fighting against, but rather be the change we wish to see. To focus on that what we love, our home on this beautiful planet. It is not about loosing the wild nature, what we are faced with, is the risk of manifesting our own extinction. The web of life on which we depend break apart as more and more threads are pulled out of the tapestry. We all need to rewild, re-align ourselves with the Earth. Every moment I do not act, the fatigue and exhaustion takes me over. Too tired to keep fighting. But I guess the power within, awakens when the call of the heart is answered. It is calling now. Step up, do your thing. There is no time to waste. This is so much bigger than me. Let the fight end here, so that we may live, all beings together, we need eachother to rebuild that magnificent tapestry...

By Andris Fågelviskare. A wanderer of the forest, a listener to the unheard voices. I speak from Mother Earth, the truth.