One of Stockholm County’s most species-rich calcareous coniferous forests with ground-living fungi was recently logged in Sweden. Calcareous spruce forest is a rare habitat type in need of special areas of conservation, according to the EU Habitats Directive. The logging in Stockholm County may thereby violate the EU Habitats Directive as well as Swedish law. Now, another species-rich calcareous coniferous forest is planned to be felled in Garphytteklint in Örebro municipality.
”The Swedish authorities have been completely unwilling to protect the calcareous coniferous forest in Stockholm County, which is extremely remarkable and irresponsible. The logging is in breach of the Swedish Environmental Code, the Swedish Species Protection Ordinance and the EU Habitats Directive. This serious mistake must not be repeated in Garphytteklint in Örebro municipality or in other calcareous forests,” said Ida Sellstedt, spokesperson, Protect the Forest Sweden.
In Garphytteklint in Örebro municipality, an old calcareous coniferous forest is planned to be felled. The forest is home to 35 red-listed species and is part of a larger old-growth forest and recreational area where the oldest living pine trees are 380 years old. The County Administrative Board previously proposed a nature reserve in the area but due to reluctance from the landowner, the process is now canceled. The forest might be felled now in July. A road has recently been built into a part of the forest.
“What right does nature itself have to exist? The rights of nature and society are put against property rights and economic interest of an individual person. Considering that the forest in Garphytteklint is such an important and rare environment, I believe that exceptions from voluntary measures can and should be made to protect the forest. We are fighting for our last remaining ancient forests – if the forest is cut down, then the environment and species richness will be destroyed forever. We will do everything in our power to safeguard Garphytteklinten,“ said Silke Frank, Chairperson, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation in Örebro County.
The Swedish Parliament has recently declared that formal protection of forests in Sweden mainly should be based on voluntary measures, on the initiative of landowners. However, according to the Swedish Government’s Bill (2021/22:58), exceptions from voluntary forest protection are justified due to, for example, international commitments or other particularly important/urgent public interests.
Sweden is committed to achieve favourable conservation status for all forest habitats in the EU’s Habitats Directive. According to official reporting under the EU Habitats Directive, 14 of 15 forest habitats in Sweden do not have a favourable conservation status. The habitats Western Taiga and Fennoscandian herb-rich forests with Picea abies are included in the forest in Garphytteklint in Örebro municipality and were included in the logged forest in Vamby in Stockholm County. The conservation status of these two habitats is bad in the EU.
According to the EU Timber Regulation, it is prohibited to place illegally harvested timber on the EU market. Only timber which has been produced in accordance with applicable legislation of the timber-producing country is allowed to enter the EU.
“The logging of calcareous spruce forest is happening even though Sweden has an international responsibility to protect this valuable habitat and its species. Considering that the timber is not produced in accordance with applicable legislation, it makes the logging illegal,” said Lina Burnelius, Project Leader and International Coordinator, Protect the Forest Sweden.
Read open letter to the European Commission and the European Parliament here.
Lina Burnelius, Project Leader and International Coordinator, Protect the Forest Sweden,
+46 (0)73-440 47 93, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ida Sellstedt, Spokesperson, Protect the Forest Sweden, +46 (0)70-975 46 67, email@example.com
Contact person regarding the logged calcareous coniferous forest in Vamby in Stockholm County:
Ola Nordstrand, Chairperson, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation in Roslagen, +46 (0)73-586 22 49, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact person regarding the calcareous coniferous forest in Garphytteklint in Örebro municipality:
Silke Frank, Chairperson, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation in Örebro County, +46 (0)73-905 03 01, email@example.com