Frödinge Skog, which is both a PEFC- and FSC-certified logging company, has cut down 8 hectares of forest along the river Tunaån in Vimmerby municipality, Småland, without leaving proper edge zones. Members of Protect the Forest and the forest group in Oskarshamnsbygden’s Bird Club demonstrated with a banner to draw attention to the logging that violates the certification criteria.

According to research, edge zones of 30 meters are required for biodiversity to survive. Photo: Private
Ruthless forestry that will affect Tunaån negatively. These two photos: Jan Brenander

On its website, the logging company Frödinge Skog writes: “We shall comply with current legislation and comply with PEFCs and FSC®”. They have not done so by the river Tunaån. According to the FSC certification certified landowners and forestry companies are supposed to leave proper edge zones. This is yet another example of how weak the FSC-certification is, it is green-washing. It shows that there is no control over Swedish FSC-certified forestry companies’ logging in the forest. Now members of Protect the Forest are filing an FSC complaint.

According to the FSC certification:

” 6.7.1 Ecologically functional edge zones along watercourses and open water should be preserved or recreated if necessary. The design and width of the edge zone is planned and adapted based on the natural value and sensitivity of the water environment and the forest’s natural values.”

Edge zones need to be at least 30 meters according to research

It is necessary for biodiversity and also for carbon storage that landowners leave strips of forest along watercourses when logging. Several studies have confirmed this knowledge. In a report from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), researchers have found that edge zones along water need to be 30 meters wide in order to preserve birds and mosses.

The report is a review of about ten scientific studies on the benefits of edge zones for biological diversity. According to the studies, it is important that the edge zones are sufficiently wide. The wider the zones are the more species can survive. Edge zones that are only 10 meters wide are not considered to be sufficient to preserve land snails and mosses. Also, landowners are recommended to carry out logging on one side of a watercourse at a time. Vegetated areas adjacent to rivers and streams absorb harmful pollutants in runoff, keeping them out of waterways.