A 120-160 year old mixed coniferous forest with protected bird species is being logged west of Bredsjöbäcken in Ljusnarsberg’s municipality. The logging continues despite that the County Administrative Board is investigating illegal land drainage and ditching in the area. Protect the Forest requests that the County Administrative Board in Örebro County immediately inforces an interim (temporary) ban to stop the logging.

Avverkad grov tall med 160 årsringar intill diket som gjorts både bredare och djupare i den avverkningsanmälda skogen väster om Bredsjöbäcken. Foto: A. Tas.
Felled pine with 160 annual rings next to the trench that was made both wider and deeper in the forest registered for logging west of the stream Bredsjöbäcken. Photo: A. Tas

The forest notified for logging is located north of Bredsjön and covers 6 hectares and is privately owned. The near threatened black woodpecker (NT) lives in the forest and the near-threatened Eurasian three-toed woodpecker has been observed about 100 meters east of the forest that is being felled. Protect the Forest points out in its request to the County Administrative Board that the forest should be formally protected. It can be included in the nearby nature reserve Rällsälven and Bredsjöbäcken. The small river Bredsjöbäcken flows from the higher lake Bredsjön down to the river Rällsälven.

The forest that is now being felled consists of a 120-160 year old mixed coniferous forest with both standing and lying dead pine wood. Photo: A. Tas

Ditching without permission

The private landowner carried out new ditching and deepened and widened existing ditches in the area last year. This was done without applying for permission from the County Administrative Board. At its widest, the ditch is 5 meters and about 1.6 meters at its deepest. The ditch has been deepened all the way to the lake of Bredsjön, which entails an increased risk of nutrient leakage into the lake. Water from ditches in forest land can carry plant parts, sludge and clay particles as well as various chemical substances. This in turn has an environmental impact downstream and in the lake for the species and habitats that may be there.

Habitat of the endangered freshwater pearl mussel threatened

Both Bredsjöbäcken and Rällsälven are habitats of the endangered freshwater pearl mussel (EN) (Margaritifera margaritifera). The freshwater pearl mussel is threatened by siltation and destruction of suitable gravel and rock bottoms. Both the logging which is being carried out near the water and the ditching increases the risk of siltation.

Last year, the existing trench in the forest registered for felling was made wider by up to 5 metres. Photo: A. Tas.
The deepening and widening of the ditch leads all the way to Bredsjön. Photo: A. Tas.

Logging began despite on-going investigation of violation

Protect the Forest reported suspected environmental violations regarding land drainage to the Police Authority and the County Administrative Board in December 2022. The County Administrative Board then began an inspection case regarding the ditching measures. Despite the fact that the report about illegal land drainage and new ditching has not been fully investigated by the County Administrative Board, logging in the forest began on February 20.

In December 2022 Protect the Forest requested that the area should be exempted from forestry. This was to ensure that habitats of protected, red-listed and other nature conservation species in the forest are not wiped out. The ecological function of the area should be preserved in accordance with the EU Habitats Directive, the Bird Directive, the Environmental Code, the Species Protection Ordinance and the environmental goal Living forests.

Logging contradicts Environmental Code, Species Protection Ordinance, Bird Directive and Forest Protection Act

Protect the Forest emphasizes that the ongoing logging west of Bredsjöbäcken runs the risk of contravening the Environmental Code, the Species Protection Ordinance, the Bird Directive and the Forest Protection Act.

Read Protect the Forest’s request for an interim ban on logging at Bredsjöbäcken here.