Unsustainable forestry, Luopioinen, Pälkäne, Finland. Photo: Tero Laakso, Creative Commons (CCO by 2.0)

Protect the Forest has sent a mail to all the Members of the European Parliament and to the European Commission urging them to take action against the clear-cutting of northern Europe’s last unprotected natural forests. Increased logging is being promoted by the Swedish Forest Industries, The Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF) and the Center Party claiming that active forest management is best for the climate.

The Swedish Forest Industries, LRF and the Center Party have formed the network ”Wood be Better”, a campaign which is being promoted in Brussels. According to the campaign, the substitution of fossil fuels with wood will contribute to EU becoming climate neutral by 2050. To reach this goal more forests will need to be logged for the production of bioenergy and for products with short lifespans. Sweden’s forestry is neither sustainable or climate neutral and so it is a false solution that leads to mass extinction and adds greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

More voices need to be heard that contradict the forest industries’ propaganda. In the mail to the Members of the European Parliament there is a link to the documentary “BURNED: Are Trees the New Coal?”. The film shows how the burning of wood at an industrial scale for energy accelerates the destruction of forests for fuel, probes the policy loopholes, uses huge subsidies and greenwashes the biomass power industry. In the documentary Mary S. Booth, PhD, Director and Ecosystems Ecologist, Partnership for Policy Integrity, says: “If you are interested in reducing emissions now, then burning something that puts more carbon into the air than the thing you are replacing, which is coal, does not make sense."

The Members of the European Parliament and the European Commission need to know that many Swedish natural forests with high conservation values still remain unprotected, are planned for logging or are being clear-cut.

Here is the letter to the Members of the European Parliament and to the European Commission:

Please act to stop the clear-cutting of northern Europe’s last unprotected natural forests!
Sweden’s last remaining unprotected natural forests in Europe are now being rapidly clear-cut for bioenergy and short-term products. This is not in line with current research such as international reports from IPBES and IPCC, or in line with the Paris climate goal agreement or biodiversity goals.

The documentary BURNED: Are Trees the New Coal? (2019) shows how the burning of wood at an industrial scale for energy accelerates the destruction of forests for fuel. Policy loopholes, huge subsidies, and greenwashing of biomass power industry makes this possible. In Sweden, the forest industry argues that forests should be clear-cut to mitigate climate change. This idea coincides with the industry’s business interest and is a false climate solution. Over 80% of all forest products in Sweden have short lifespans and do not store carbon for a longer period.

The remaining forests in Europe need urgent protection. In Sweden at least 17-20 percent of all ecologically representative and well-connected land areas should have been protected by 2020, according to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). Today only 6 percent of the productive forest in Sweden has long-term protection.
The on-going logging is a great threat to biodiversity and research shows that loss of biodiversity is a problem of the same magnitude as climate change and fundamental to human survival.”

By Kristina Bäck