A newly made road through a natural forest with woodland key habitat qualities. The photo is from  the end of June 2019. 

The non-profit conservationist Björn Mildh wrote an open letter to Herman Sundqvist, Director General of the Swedish Forest Agency:

Dear Herman,

In July 2019, I commented on your blog post entitled "The image of a divided forest landscape contributes to endless struggle". The comment is down below for anyone who wants to read it.

Since then, the disagreements have only increased. Therefore, let's recapitulate the facts of what happened in 2019.

- The Swedish Forest Agency informed that 55,000 hectares of woodland key habitats had been logged in northwestern Sweden between 2000-2018. It could be mentioned that Sveaskog and the National Property Board Sweden, both state-owned companies, are by far the largest landowners in the area. During the majority of that period you also happened to be the Head of Forest Management for Sveaskog.

- The Swedish Forest Agency has previously increased the requirements for woodland key habitats in northwestern Sweden. This means that natural forests, which in other parts of Sweden would be classified as woodland key habitats, are now classified as production forests that can be logged. This measure should be seen to the fact that while you were Head of Forest Management for Sveaskog, you stated that "Sveaskog is going to harvest all land which is not protected". (See the article "Sveaskog's giant clear-cut is heavily criticized” in Land Skogsland/LRF Media, no. 48, November 21, 2014; only in Swedish).

- The Swedish Forest Agency stopped the nationwide woodland key habitat inventory and justified it by referring to the reduced budget allocated to forest protection.

- The Swedish Forest Agency wants to stop registering woodland key habitats in forest areas notified for final felling (end of year 2020).

Nevertheless, it was the Swedish Forest Agency that launched the concept of woodland key habitats in 1990.

"The woodland key habitats represent a significant part of the diversity in the Swedish forest. It is necessary to know where the woodland key habitats are located in the landscape in order to safeguard biodiversity."

By using different maneuvers, the Swedish Forest Agency is doing its best to counteract the protection against logging, which the woodland key habitats provide.

Woodland key habitats are only seen as limitations to production.

As Director General of the Swedish Forest Agency, you run the work of the Agency.

What will be the next tactical move by the Swedish Forest Agency?

Sincerely,
Björn Mildh, specialist in childhood (and the forestry’s) internal diseases.

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The comment on Herman Sundqvist’s blog in July 2019:

Dear Herman,

For many years we have had regular contact. Ever since the events in Valvträsk in Norrbotten in 2004, when Sveaskog cut down the forest at Sörfligget. And I have given attention to a considerable number of natural forests over the years after that, when you were the Head of Forest Management for Sveaskog.

I follow your blog that you continued to write even after you were appointed as Director General of the Swedish Forest Agency. The latest post is from the 11th of June and is entitled "The image of a divided forest landscape contributes to endless struggle".

As firmly as I have stood up for the environmental objectives, you have stood up for the production. There are contradictions, of course, when we are told that 55,000 hectares of woodland key habitats have been logged in northwestern Sweden, despite all fair talks. At the same time, the Swedish Forest Agency increases the requirements for woodland key habitats in the same area so that natural forests, which in other parts of Sweden would be classified as woodland key habitats, are now classified as production forests that can be logged. Shouldn't a stupid alert have flashed red towards everybody who wants to prevent division and conflict about the forest?

In addition, the state-owned Sveaskog, together with the National Property Board Sweden, is the largest landowner in northwestern Sweden.

The attached image was taken on the 30th of June 2019 in the municipality of Arjeplog, showing a fresh example of why there is a struggle. Sveaskog has made a new road through an old natural high conservation value forest. The purpose of the road is to log the adjacent forest which has woodland key habitat qualities and is important land for reindeer grazing. The road was made even before any consultation was held with the Sami village about the forest. The Sami, our indigenous people, should obviously only be confronted when the fact is already completed.

Everything is about increased production, at the expense of the Sami village, the reindeer husbandry and the environmental objective.
So, is it strange if there are conflicts and "endless struggle"?

Sincerely,
Björn Mildh in Piteå