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Appeal against logging in Risveden – red-listed forest birds don’t thrive in clear-cuts!

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation in Norra Älvsborg has submitted an appeal to the Swedish Forestry Agency against Sydved’s planned logging of forest with high conservation values at Angertuvan in Risveden, county of Västergötland, Sweden. The forest is the home for the red-listed birds black woodpecker, lesser-spotted woodpecker, goshawk and willow tit, and is considered to be able to host hazel grouse and Eurasian three-toed woodpecker. These birds do not tolerate clear-cutting. “We request that the Land and Environmental Court prohibit all logging”.

The hill Angertuvan in Risveden. The threatened forest is on the right in the image, largely behind the visible forest. Photo: Leif Danielson

In the appeal, it appears that-  “In its decision, the Swedish Forestry Board has in no way assessed the conditions for continuous ecological functionality for the birds that occur or may occur in the forest notified for logging or in its immediate vicinity”.

Red-listed birdsblack woodpecker, lesser-spotted woodpecker, goshawk and willow tit

The forest planned for logging is a suitable environment for the red-listed hazel grouse and the Eurasian three-toed woodpecker, which have been found elsewhere in the Risveden area. The Eurasian three-toed woodpecker has its southernmost nesting site in Risveden’s forests. Neither the Eurasian three-toed woodpecker, the hazel grouse nor the four other red-listed birds (willow tit, goshawk, black woodpecker and lesser-spotted woodpecker) have favourable conservation status. Favourable conservation status is the condition that must be achieved in order for a species to be able to remain in the long term, otherwise there is a risk that it will become extinct in the area. In the appeal, one can read that if the logging company Sydved clears the forest, the Eurasian three-toed woodpecker and the other birds’ conservation status may deteriorate. There are too few Eurasian three-toed woodpeckers and hazel grouse this far south in Sweden and no “replenishment” of these species occurs from the south.

The value tract in Risveden. Cerise colored surface shows the current logging notification (11.2 ha).

“The Swedish Forestry Agency ensures that it does not go well for threatened species tied to older forests”

Nils Hydén, who has written the appeal to the Nature Protection Association Norra Älvsborg, says:

– Once again we find that the Swedish Forestry Agency’s handling of cases is based on one case at a time and that they are isolated from each other. Through the ongoing fragmentation of older forests everywhere, this of course means that it is inevitably not going well for species that are bound to older forests.

-Furthermore, we have now requested that some of the restrictions announced with the support of the Forest Protection Act, should instead be established with the support of the Swedish Environmental Code. This is because the forest conservation legislation can only be applied, as it seems, in the areas of consideration that are announced and not outside these areas. Something that is completely bizarre: Leakage of greenhouse gases, plant nutrients and heavy metals, etc., as well as the driving damage in itself, occurs regardless of where it occurs during logging! To begin with, there should not be any serious driving damages anywhere during logging in natural forests.

The Swedish Forestry Agency has ignored the endangered moss Nogopterium gracile

The endangered moss Nogopterium gracile (EN) grows in the vicinity of the area planned for logging. This moss requires stable humidity where it grows and clear-cutting nearby can make its habitat drier and windier. Something that the Swedish Forestry Agency has not investigated. The landowner or operator must produce the knowledge base needed to avoid negative impact on the species – this is according to the Environmental Code.

Example of Sydved’s marking out of a clear-cut inside a swamp forest in the Swedish Forestry Agency’s consideration area 6. Photo Private.

Planned for logging in sensitive swamp forest – “It can’t happen!”

The logging company Sydved has marked out the area for clear-cutting very close and even inside a swamp forest. Logging too close to or inside the swamp forest would cause irreparable damage to the forest floor, hydrology and microclimate. It is stated in the appeal:

 “Sydved has marked out the planned clear-cut far too close to the swamp forest and the moist parts of the forest- of course this is totally unacceptable!!!”

Is this because the logging company Sydved wants to maximize its logging? In the appeal, the actions of the Swedish Forestry Agency are also in question. Swamp forest requires a wide protection zone, something that Sydved has not cared about and neither has the Swedish Forestry Agency. The planned clear-cut must therefore be moved away at least 30 meters around each swamp forest section, the appeal states.

The Swedish Forestry Agency’s regulations are not followed in forestry work

The Swedish Forestry Agency’s regulations do not have the amount of implementation in forestry work that is necessary, according to the appeal. This is serious and the EU Commission will be informed. The NGO the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation writes that they will visit all planned loggings in the Risveden area. Any planned clear-cuts that do not follow acceptable practice and legislation will be documented: “We will consider handing the matter over to the competent authority for further investigation”.

Read the full appeal

Previous articles about Risveden:

Temporary logging stop in Risveden, thanks to non-profit struggle

Forest with high conservation values ​​in Risveden planned for logging