Ore Forest Landscape, threatened by logging. Photo: Private.

Ylva Thörn, governor in the county of Dalarna in Sweden, sends a reply to a letter sent from the organizations Protect the Forest, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) in Rättvik and Nature and Youth in Sweden about the project “Green infrastructure in Gåsberget’s forest landscape”. The NGOs call for more protection of the forests and that the governor and authorities need to stand up for environmental goals.

Governor Ylva Thörn writes in her answer to the organizations:

In a time when forest is important for future society there must be a way to conduct sustainable forestry, even in the valuable forest landscape of Gåsberget. Therefore, we don’t find it realistic to solely impose formal protection in the area. We need to work on a plan for the whole area”.

The project ”Grön infrastruktur i Gåsbergets värdetrakt” (Green infrastructure in Gåsberget’s valuable forest landscape) is a collaboration project with many actors- the County Administrative Board, the Swedish Forest Agency, the forestry companies Sveaskog and Stora Enso and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). According to the NGO's, there is not enough emphasis on need for protection in the project. Furthermore, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation has been excluded from the project, even though they stand for a legitimate common interest.  

The forest landscape around Gåsberget is one of northwestern Europe’s largest and most valuable natural pine forest landscapes and it needs urgent protection.

Ylva Thörn writes that sustainable forestry will be conducted whilst biodiversity will be preserved in the forests around Gåsberget. Formal protection, logging and consideration for the forest conservation values is planned so that the green infrastructure remains intact. Protect the Forest would like to know how this will be possible. The organization states that there should be no forestry at all in forests with high conservation values at Gåsberget and in Ore Forest Landscape. This is an approach which is in line with conservation work and with national and international environmental goals, not even “sustainable forestry” should take place in forests with high conservation values.

In addition, Ylva Thörn states that ”25% of the area is already protected, in both formal and voluntary ways” but both Protect the Forest and SSNC in Rättvik have previously questioned this figure. According to SSNC in Rättvik the amount of formally protected forest in Gåsberget is only 5% and in the whole county of Dalarna only 3%.

SSNC in Rättvik has conducted inventories of the forests at Gåsberget. It is unacceptable that they are excluded from taking part in the green infrastructure project, according to the NGOs since SSNC has a legimate common interest.  Ylva Thörn says that there was an open seminar where everyone was invited to take part and that SSNC was there too. She states:

We are sorry to hear that the SSNC find themselves neglected but we imply that their inventories, petitions and opinions at the seminar are important and valued in our ongoing work”

In the outskirts of Gåsberget’s forests and within Ore Forest Landscape there are also plans to establish two large wind farms. Protect the Forest state that the planned wind farms will have a strong negative impact on biodiversity, landscape ecology, the visual impression, noise disturbance, tourism, outdoor life and recreational opportunities. The organization calls for a landscape ecological analysis of the cumulative effects of the two wind farms and demands that both permit applications for the wind farms are rejected.

By Kristina Bäck