Deep wheel tracks in the soil. Photo: Olli Manninen/Protect the Forest 2010.
A logging scandal. This is what the organization Protect the Forest thinks about the logging conducted by forest companies Bergvik and Stora Enso at Älgsjön, in Värmland County in Sweden. The organization claims that the forest company Stora Enso violates the Swedish Forestry Act and the environmental criteria of the FSC standard regarding water, soil and biodiversity protection.

The clear-cut area was visited at a random inspection by the organization Protect the Forest in May 2010 at the forest lands of Bergvik in Värmland County. Run-over watercourses, non-existent border zones along streams, deep wheel tracks and logged trees with high biodiversity value were observed in the clear-cut area.

“The same violations were observed during a random inspection in 2009 at Bergvik´s forest lands in Örebro County,” said Amanda Tas, Forest Coordinator at Protect the Forest. “A rapid improvement, at least regarding damages made by vehicles to land and water, was promised. Despite these promises, the violations are recurring over and over again, year after year.”

Illegal logging is increasing in Sweden, according to a survey performed by the Swedish Forest Agency. The Swedish Forest Agency estimates that as many as 29 percent of the studied loggings in 2006-2009 did not reach the minimum level of environmental consideration set by the Swedish Forestry Act. However, the forest industry´s own inventories paint a different, brighter picture, compared to the conclusions established by the Swedish Forest Agency. Therefore, the Swedish Forest Agency has initiated discussions with the forest industry to achieve similar methods of measurement.

“It is not particularly surprising that the forest industry’s measuring shows a brighter picture of the loggings,“ said Viktor Säfve, Chairperson of Protect the Forest. “In order to avoid taking needed measures and to cosmetically improve its tarnished reputation, we fear that the forest industry is trying to influence the Swedish Forest Agency to drop their already very low environmental demands.”

Contact person:
Amanda Tas, Protect the Forest: +46 (0)76-761 35 33,