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Professor Ilkka Hanski. Foto: Heikki Färm

Professor, ecologist and evolutionary biologist Ilkka Hanski passed away in May 2016. In his last lecture, videoed at his home in February, he recaps in 45 minutes the current biodiversity situation and the research done in that field.

For more information about biodiversity loss, please read Hanski's book 'Messages from Island' (2016).

We are at EuroPride Stockholm 2018 Join us for celebrating Love and Diversity at EuroPride in Stockholm, 4th of august! Last year we were happy and proud to walk together with Greenpeace and we hope to do this again this year. Come with! Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Biologically valuable forest felled by Sveaskog north of Råmåsjön in Ecopark Ejheden. Photo: Leon Afsahi

Press release December 18, 2017

Sveaskog has felled more than 600 hectares of biologically valuable forests in Ore Forest Landscape in the county of Dalarna in Sweden since 2013. Recently, Sveaskog felled one more valuable forest in its Ecopark Ejheden. More forests are planned to be felled. 

Ore Forest Landscape is a large connected forest area with many biologically valuable forests in the county of Dalarna in Sweden. The area was mapped and inventoried by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) in 2011-2012. The inventory results were presented in a report about Ore Forest Landscape in 2013. The SSNC’s follow-up report “Logging continues” (2017) states that Sveaskog has felled over 600 hectares of biologically valuable forests since 2013.

“This is unacceptable. Ore Forest Landscape is one of the last and largest landscape areas in mid-Sweden where a large amount of old natural forest still remains. It is unique in the Swedish forest landscape of today. Now Sveaskog has intentionally fragmented many parts of this valuable area and more forests are planned to be logged,” said Helena Björnström who did inventories in the Ore forests during the summer and autumn of 2017.

Sveaskog felled a biologically valuable forest at Brännvinsberget during the winter 2016-2017. Over 150 findings of 26 red-listed species were made in that forest prior to the felling. In the beginning of December 2017, a forest with high biological values was felled by Sveaskog north of Råmåsjön in Ecopark Ejheden in Ore Forest Landscape. In this forest, some of the pine trees were older than 200 years old and during a short inventory visit during the summer, 13 red-listed indicator species were found, of which 10 were red-listed.

Sveaskog is a Swedish state-owned FSC-certified forest company which means that the company should demonstrate environmental consideration and not fell high conservation value forests. According to the FSC standard, consultations shall be maintained with people and groups directly affected by management operations. 

“The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation has not been informed or contacted by Sveaskog regarding any of the forests it has felled in Ore Forest Landscape except for Brännvinsberget where Sveaskog chose to log the forest despite very high conservation values,” said Margareta Wikström. Swedish Society for Nature Conservation in Rättvik.

Despite of protests from several different environmental NGOs, Sveaskog is planning to log biologically valuable forest in the north part of Brännvinsberget, Nyslogtjärnen, Stormyren, Grästjärnarna and South Ormtjärnen. Parts of what is planned to be felled lies within Sveaskog’s Ecopark Ejheden. No consultation has been maintained regarding any of these planned fellings.  

According to the Ecopark Plan, Sveaskog is planning to fell additional high conservation value forests such as Tjäderlekstjärnen which is a part of a natural forest landscape which has not yet been fragmented. 

Read more in the report  "Logging continues" (2017).

Contact

Helena Björnström, inventerare, Ore Skogsrike, +46 (0)70-428 43 65, helena_bns(@)hotmail.com

Margareta Wikström, Naturskyddsföreningen i Rättvik, +46 (0)70-668 71 46, margareta.wikstrom(@)naturskyddsforeningen.se

Bengt Oldhammer, rapportförfattare, Ore Skogsrike, +46 (0)70-334 33 82, bengt.oldhammer(@)telia.com

Felled pine tree which is 210 years old in Ore Forest Landscape within the Ecopark Ejheden. Photo: Helena Björnström.

Welcome to Ecopark Ejheden where many forests have been felled by Sveaskog. Photo: Helena Björnström

A view of the new logging road, here under construction with the caterpillar excavator digging its way in the foreground. Photo: Jon Andersson

Press release, 14th of February, 2018

A new report shows that the Swedish Forest Agency (SFA) is likely breaching the Swedish Forestry Act. The authority has planned a logging road through mountainous forest with high conservation values on behalf of a private forest owner in Dikanäs village in northern Sweden. Strong criticism is raised against the SFA and the Swedish Government which allow logging in one of Europe’s most valuable natural heritage.

A heated debate is currently taking place in Sweden on whether forestry should continue in mountainous forests with high conservation values that are yet untouched by industrial forestry. Simultaneously, a national survey of woodland key habitats, aiming to map high conservation forests, is halted in northwestern Sweden, since March 2017. From a European perspective, these mountainous forests in northern Sweden are thought to harbor some of the last remnants of critical and unique values for nature conservation.

During the summer and fall of 2017, Protect the Forest—a Swedish NGO with forest protection as main objective—organized a forest survey in the northern part of Vilhelmina municipality where 22 volunteers surveyed a 35 sqkm large area of mountainous forest.

“Our results suggest that these forests have very high conservation values, but surprisingly they are not formally protected. It is hard to fathom why the SFA is planning logging roads into previously untouched wilderness and thereby facilitate future logging operations. Much of what is lost due to industrial forestry, can still be found in these large forest landscapes. And our long list with findings of red-listed species provides clear evidence that these mountainous forests indeed harbor high conservation values,” said mycologist Helena Björnström. 

In total, 3,243 finds of red-listed species and indicator species were found during the survey. Adjacent to the new logging road that was planned by the SFA, 32 red-listed species were found inside the old-growth forest. Most of these species are near threatened and threatened due to clear-cutting forestry.

“It is a scandal that the SFA is helping the forestry to clear-cut mountainous forests with high conservation values in violation of what is stated in the Swedish Forestry Act. One of SFA’s objectives is to make sure that logging operations is avoided in forests with high conservation values. Furthermore, the SFA and the Swedish Government must take their responsibility and protect one of Europe’s last natural heritages from industrial forestry,” said forest biologist Isak Vahlström who volunteered in the forest survey.

The report “Forestry at the edge”, indicates that the pressure on Europe´s remaining unprotected montainous forests, which contain both timber and high conservation values, increases as timber volumes decrease at coastal and inland areas. Therefore, the SFA tends to make decisions that do not always comply with the Swedish Forestry Act.

One of the Swedish Forest Agency’s main objectives is to regulate forestry in coherence with the Forestry Act.

The report can be found here.

A photo album with images from the study area can be found here.

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The Swedish Forest Agency is the national authority in charge of forest-related issues and has a pivotal role in the implementation of the Swedish Forestry Act.

The Swedish Forestry Act states that the production and environmental objectives should be of equal importance.

The mountainous forest is located in mountain regions mainly in mid-northwestern Sweden.

The Swedish Forestry Act states in Section 18: “Felling permission may not be granted for felling in mountainous areas, if this felling is inconsistent with essential nature conservation and cultural heritage preservation interests.”

Woodland key habitat is a forest area that has a very large significance for forest flora and fauna, on the basis of a collective assessment of the habitat structure, species composition, stand history and physical environment. Red-listed species occur or can be expected to occur there.

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Contact

Jon Andersson, Ph.D. of Ecology and author of the report “Forestry at the edge”, +46 (0) 73 037 52 74, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Isak Vahlström, Forest biologist, +46 (0) 73 805 28 48, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Oakland Institute, Press release, December 12 2017

Oakland, CA — As the One Planet Summit begins in Paris, the Oakland Institute's new report, Carbon Colonialism: Failure of Green Resources’ Carbon Offset Project in Uganda, lays bare the false solutions to climate change promoted by Western corporations and institutions in Africa. This scathing exposé reveals how Green Resources, a Norwegian industrial forestry and carbon offset project, continues to undermine food security and livelihoods by excluding people from their own land in Kachung, Uganda. The project, supported by a number of international financial institutions, illustrates how climate change is increasingly misused as a pretext to impose a new form of colonialism in Africa.

Following the Institute’s exposé in 2014, revealing the mistreatment and violence perpetrated by the company in Uganda, Green Resources’ only carbon credit buyer, the Swedish Energy Agency, suspended funding in 2015 and outlined ten actions for the company to undertake to reinstate payments. The following year, Green Resources’ major shareholder, global forestry investment firm Phaunos Timber Fund, divested from the company.

As the Swedish Energy Agency reassesses whether to resume payments to Green Resources in early 2018, Carbon Colonialism is an irrefutable indictment on the failure of Green Resources to address the harmful impacts on local communities as a result of its project.

“Our field research reveals that communities surrounding the plantation face an on-going hunger crisis resulting from restrictions placed by the project on access to land, water, firewood, along with perilous working conditions for Green Resources’ workers,” explained Kristen Lyons, lead author of the report and Senior Fellow at the Oakland Institute. “It is simply unacceptable that a Norwegian company seeks to extract a profit in the face of such dire conditions,” she continued.

The firsthand accounts presented in the report debunk recent audits of Green Resources that present the company as being compliant in most areas of reform demanded by the Swedish Energy Agency. Such audit findings are difficult to reconcile with Green Resources disregard for the desperate conditions local communities face.

“Green Resources continues to misrepresent their negative impact in the region,” commented David Ssemwogerere, co-author of the report. “They champion the meager impacts that they’ve had, while downplaying the fact that their project is threatening the very survival and livelihoods of villagers.”

“The industrial monoculture plantation forestry run by Green Resources at its Kachung site is incompatible with the needs of local people who rely upon the same land for their livelihoods and existence,” stated Frédéric Mousseau, Policy Director at the Oakland Institute. “In the wake of our latest findings, it is imperative that the Swedish Energy Agency suspend all future payments to Green Resources and cancel the deal for purchase of carbon credits. This is the only viable response in the face of the worsening impact of Green Resources on the livelihoods of local villagers in Uganda.”

The full report is available at www.oaklandinstitute.org/carbon-colonialism-failure-green-resources-carbon-offset-project-uganda

The Oakland Institute is an independent policy think tank, bringing fresh ideas and bold action to the most pressing social, economic, and environmental issues of our time.

Media Contact: Frédéric Mousseau

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Comment from Protect the Forest on the Swedish Energy Agency's carbon credit project in Kachung, Uganda:

Green Resources converts grasslands, savanna and small-scale farmers’ cultivated land into plantations of invasive alien tree species. These trees consume large amounts of water. This has a devastating impact on the natural environment and the ecosystem services it provides. Also, uncertainties remain regarding the potential of tree plantations to sequester carbon. Studies show a general pattern of a decrease in carbon pools in tree plantations when compared to natural forests. The most effective form of climate change mitigation is to avoid carbon emissions from all sources. Emissions of carbon dioxide can also be avoided by protecting natural ecosystems from land-use changes, but they cannot offset ongoing emissions from other anthropogenic carbon sources. The Swedish Energy Agency is encouraged, in an open letter in 2016, by Protect the Forest, Timberwatch, Oakland Institute, Global Forest Coalition and a senior lecturer from University of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa, to reduce the national energy consumption and to improve energy efficiency. The carbon stored in Swedish forests can also be increased by protecting old natural forests and bringing degraded forests back to a more natural state, instead of enriching the land-grabbing shareholders of Green Resources.

Read more in the document “Impacts of Green Resources’ tree plantations at Kachung, Uganda”.