Over 60 hectares of forest with high conservation values ​​are now registered for logging at Gallsjön in Vimmerby municipality, Småland. This weekend, members from Protect the Forest and the forest group in Oskarshamnsbygden’s Bird Club investigated the area. Several nature associations have tried to secure protection for the entire forest, an area of ​​over 300 hectares. Now, a land owner is planning to clear-cut parts of the forest and neither the Swedish Forest Agency nor the Administrative County Board have acted for protection. Sweden is far from achieving its environmental goals.

The forest was recently investigated by members from Protect the Forest. Photo: K Bäck

Members from environmental NGOs have previously found over 400 conservation species at Gallsjön. There are many red-listed and rare species such as the plant Pulsatilla vernalis (EN), the orchid Goodyera repens (VU), the wood-living fungi Phlebia centrifuga (VU) andPerenniporia subacida (VU) and the lichen Alectoria sarmentosa (NT). Phlebia centrifuga is an indicator of primeval forest and Perenniporia subacida is a rare old growth forest indicator. Perenniporia subacida has only been found once before in the county of Småland. There are many 300 year-old pine trees, old spruce forests, rocky slopes, wetlands and pristine watercourses in the area.

More red-listed wood-living fungi and red-listed orchids

The forest that was investigated this weekend has the same high conservation values ​​as the rest of the forest at Gallsjön. More of the wood-living fungi Phlebia centrifuga (VU) and Phellinidium ferrugineofuscum (NT) were found and of the orchid Goodyera repens (VU).  Members from Protect the Forest and Oskarshamnsbygden’s Bird Club also saw or heard black woodpecker (NT), lesser-spotted woodpecker (NT), willow tit (NT) and found traces from the western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus).

Sweden is far from achieving its environmental goals

Jan Brenander from the forest group Oskarshamnsbygden’s Bird Club says:

“It is a scandal that this entire forest area has not yet been protected and now the landowner has notified the felling of more forest. We cannot afford to lose this natural heritage! Neither thinning nor felling of forests worthy of protection like this one should take place. Sweden is far from achieving its environmental goals“.

Members from Protect the Forest and the forest group in Oskarshamnbygdens Bird Club with a banner in the threatened forest at Gallsjön. Photo: Private
Part of the threatened forest which is to be logged at Gallsjön in the county of Småland, Sweden. Photo: Private

Vimmerby municipality has the least protected nature in the whole of Kalmar County

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation has previously contacted the County Administrative Board in Kalmar County several times. The authority has visited the area and found that the natural forest area is worthy of protection. Unfortunately, the County Administrative Board claim that they do not have enough funds for protection and also that they do not prioritize coniferous forests. Gallsjön is not counted as a prioritised forest type according to Kalmar County’s strategy for formal protection of forests, although Vimmerby municipality has the least protected nature of all municipalities in the county of Kalmar.

In Kalmar County, only about 3% of the forest is formally protected. According to Sweden’s environmental goals, 20% of the area in the county should have had representative protection by 2020. The County Administrative Board has found that they cannot reach the goals with the current budget and policy instruments. The forest group in Oskarshamn emphasizes that the area must have formal protection and be part of the regional forest strategy for Småland and for landscape planning of the forest in Småland.

The forest which is planned to be logged has plenty of old oaks, birch, pines and spruces. Photo: K Bäck

The forest group stopped logging in 2019

Part of the area around Gallsjön was already registered for logging in 2019 – but when the forest group in Oskarshamn informed the Forestry Agency of the areas’ high conservation values, the authority registered part of the area as key forest biotope and the logging plans were stopped. Since then the entire forest area at Gallsjön is still unprotected and the forest risks being felled or thinned.

EN= Endangered, strongly threatened, VU= vulnerable, NT= near threatened

Contact: Jan Brenander, Oskarshamnsbygden’s Bird Club, jan.brenander@gmail.com, tel. +46 (0)70 326 58 09