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Lime quarry threatens unique forest

The Ojnare forest. Photo: Robert Svensson/Protect the Forest.

The Ojnare forest on Gotland, in the Baltic Sea, consists of centuries-old pines growing over the limestone that characterizes the island. It is a unique and varied area that includes many wetlands. But now, the company Nordkalk wants to quarry the land for its lime.  

Both the white-tailed eagle and the golden eagle make their nests here, and the area is rich in species that depend on this distinctive environment.

The Ojnare forest should be protected on many counts:

It is important for securing the water supply; it contains so-called key woodland habitats; it lies next to two Natura 2000 areas which are protected at the EU level; it has been officially declared as important on the national level for both its natural and cultural values; there are plans to make it a national park; it contains 265 species that are on the red list of endangered species in Sweden; and it contains 3 endemic species (which exist nowhere else in the world).

"Sweden has both national and international commitments when it comes to endangered species. To let Nordkalk make a 170-hectare hole in the middle of this sensitive area would go counter to the EU's Habitat Directive as well as our national goal to secure the environmental health of the forest. Nothing seems holy any more. The government is even changing the law to fit the industry's requirements," says Robert Svensson, secretary of Protect the Forest.

In 2007, the government removed the environmental law paragraph forbidding quarries in areas with rare or endangered species. This was the only paragraph hindering the quarry that was absolute and had no loopholes. .

"Since 2006, the government's politics has become more and more anti-environmental. If the Ojnare forest is cut down, it will go down in history as one of the greatest environmental crimes in Sweden this century. We demand an immediate stop to Nordkalk's preliminary work on the quarry," says Viktor Säfve, chairman of Protect the Forest.

The only defense that this unique area has left since the government has turned its back is an appeal from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, a group of protesters from Nature and Youth Sweden, and the local organization Friends of Ojnare Forest. Representatives from Protect the Forest have now joined the fight in Ojnare.

"That Mellanskog, who claim they conduct sustainable forestry, is willing to take Nordkalk's money to cut down such valuable natural forest is unbelievable. That is why I am here to protest, and to urge everyone who can do something to act," says Jonas Idewall Hagren, member of Protect the Forest.

Robert Svensson, Selina Vogt and Jonas Idewall Hagren, Protect the Forest, now at the threatened Ojnare forest. Photo: Protect the Forest, Sweden

 

Contact: 

Robert Svensson, secretary of Protect the Forest, +0046761357600 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jonas Idewall Hagren, member of Protect the Forest +0046735707021

Viktor Säfve, chairman of Protect the Forest +0046761148811 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Apollo butterfly, one of the threatened species in the Ojnare forest. Photo: Robert Svensson, Protect the Forest.