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The natural spruce forest which is planned to be clear-cut at Dikanäs. Photo: Jon Andersson.

Forests with very high conservation values above the mountain region are planned to be clear-cut in Dikanäs in the northern part of Vilhelmina municipality, Sweden. So far 20 red-listed species have been registered in a brief inventory of the threatened forests. There are small parts of primary forest and also an abundance of dead wood in the forests. Vilhelmina Övre Allmänningsskog is going to carry out the logging.

About 40 hectares of forest is planned for logging including a new road. The threatened area is located in a large and expansive forest landscape which is untouched by modern forestry. The organisation Protect the Forest has carried out an inventory of the 3 500 hectares of forest landscape during 2017 which resulted in 2 500 finds of 53 different red-listed species. In the forest planned for logging 20 red-listed species have been found. The rare fungus Rhodonia placenta (VU) is one of the finds, it has previously only been registered in five sites in the county of Västerbotten. The red-listed fungi Laurilia sulcata (VU) and Skeletocutis chrysella (VU) have also been found in the forest which is planned to be clear-cut.

"I think it is unacceptable to let the forest industry have access to an area like this. In Sweden the proportion of long-term protected forest is very small, only 5-6 per cent, and of the protected forest even less have high conservation values like the forests in the near mountain region. There is hardly any natural forest left of the forest which existed before the industrial logging started- and what is left is situated in the near mountain region forests," states Jon Andersson from Protect the Forest, who has done the field survey in Dikanäs.

The planned loggings (red lines) finds of red-listed species Vulnerable (red dots), Near Threatened species
(yellow dots) and the Swedish Forest Agency’s indicator species (blue dots). Photo/montage: Jon Andersson.

Vilhelmina Övre Allmänningsskog, which has planned to log the forest, has so far not taken any responsibility for the high conservation values in the area. The Swedish Forest Agency, which is the national authority in charge of forest-related issues and should also make sure that natural values are not damaged, have supported the planning of roads for forestry vehicles in the old-growth forests at Dikanäs.

The organisation Protect the Forest demands that the logging plans and the plans for new roads in the old-growth spruce forests are withdrawn. The organisation calls for that these forests should become part of the nature reserve of Marsfjället, south of the forest landscape. If logging is allowed in this kind of environment it proves that Sweden’s forestry policy with the constant principle” freedom under responsibility” leads to permanent damage of the biodiversity and serious obstruction in the work to reach international environmental goals.

"These forests must be withdrawn from clear-cutting if Sweden is to fulfill international commitments within the EU and the UN. When will Sweden start taking responsibility for the unique forest landscape which is in the mountain region? Time is ticking away and the clear-cuts are growing," says Jon Andersson.

The Swedish Forest Agency, which is a supervisory authority in this case, has pointed out in a message to Protect the Forest that the applications for logging affects forest in the near mountain region. This means that all the areas planned for logging will be visited in the field before a notification about permission to carry out logging will be announced to the landowner Vilhelmina Övre Allmänningsskog.

Read the letter/report from Protect the Forest to the Swedish Forest Agency, the County Administrative Board and Sweden Environmental Protection Agency (in Swedish). 

Read Protect the Forest’s report ”Forestry at the edge” (2018) about the investigated forests at Dikasnäs.

Contact:
Jon Andersson, Protect the Forest, jon.pm.andersson(@)outlook.com, +4673-037 52 74

The probable result after a logging at Dikasjön. Photo/montage: Jon Andersson.