Kärrtorp’s Eastern Forest, in southern Stockholm, is a deciduous forest of approximately 7 hectares, largely wetland and some pine forest. 72 nature conservation species have been observed, of which 17 are red-listed species, e.g. lesser spotted woodpecker (NT), frogs and bats. 600 flats are planned to be built in the forest and to be able to do so the City of Stockholm has to drain the wetland. The habitat for the species will be wiped out. Legal protection of the forest would be the best solution, according to The association Preserve Kärrtorp’s Eastern Forest.

Kristina Bäck from Skydda Skogen and Viki Klingstedt from Extinction Rebellion in Kärrtorp’s Östra skog. Photo: Niklas Aurgrunn

On the Friday before Christmas Eve, members of Protect the Forest were in Kärrtorp’s Eastern Forest south of Stockholm, to draw attention to the forest and show their support for the association “Preserve Kärrtorp’s Eastern Forest”. The Facebookgroup “Preserve Kärrtorp’s Eastern Forest” writes:

“Kärrtorp’s Eastern Forest is one of Stockholm’s five most important forest areas and is a core area of ESBO. The City of Stockholm wants to fully exploit this land by building 600 apartments, a preschool and roads. The developer will drain the wetlands and many species will disappear – contrary to what Sweden’s environmental goals stipulate.”

Wetlands are difficult and expensive to build on

Kärrtorp’s Eastern Forest is located in a depression, in which there are two wetlands which take care of the rainwater in the surrounding area. The Exploitation Board writes that the County Administrative Board’s guidelines for torrential rain have had a major impact on the planned construction project, as the area is in the middle of a torrential path. This has led to long investigations, according to the Exploitation Board, “since the planned construction risks increasing the amount of rainfall for surrounding existing buildings”. The Exploitation Board therefore proposes to create a new wetland in another place nearby to be able to take care of the rainwater, which will be expensive. But the County Administrative Board must approve that they drain the existing wetland first, which runs counter to climate and environmental goals.

The ground is occasionally completely waterlogged in Kärrtorp’s eastern forest and the groundwater is high here. Good for biodiversity. Photo: Niklas Aurgrunn

“They will build at any cost”

Gudrún Sandgren, who is committed to preserving the forest writes on the Facebook page of “Preserve the Eastern Forest”:

“They want to push forward the construction of 600 flats at all costs, with the current focus on minimizing the financial risks, where groundwater and stormwater management, among other things, stand in the way. They do not mention natural values and ecological connections at all. It is simply ignored”.

Kärrtorp’s Eastern Forest is also a dispersal corridor and buffer zone för the nature reserve which is next to Kärrtorp’s Eastern Forest. The forest is like a nursery for many species and provides habitat for several protected and red-listed species, e.g. the red-listed northern bat (NT), pygmy pipit and greater brown bat, lesser spotted woodpecker (NT), the black woodpecker (NT), marshtit (NT), starling (VU) and there are toads and frogs.

The building project gives a negative environmental impact

The target group for the housing will in practice be high income earners, according to the association Preserve Kärrstorp’s Eastern Forest. This despite big words about eliminating the housing shortage for others. The plans to build in this wetland forest are “insightless and irresponsible towards both Stockholm’s residents and nature. A positive ecosystem service is exchanged for a negative environmental impact!”

The association Preserve the Eastern Forest instead would like the entire eastern forest to have legal protection, by being incorporated into the nature reserve Nackareservatet, or through biotope protection.

Read about more endangered urban forests that members from Protect the Forest have visited during December:

Fagersjöskogen: 100 hectares of unprotected natural forest with high natural values

Protect the Forest in Trolldalen

Protect the forest at Ryssbergen in Nacka municipality