Sadly enough, forests in Sweden are managed in a manner that not only threatens animals and plants, but that also precludes any other means of livelihood or usage. Multiple-use includes for instance recreation and public health, an attractive landscape scenery, clean water environments, hunting, fishing, using the forest as a pantry (sustainable use of natural resources), safeguarding of the cultural heritage and ancient monuments, reindeer herding, science and ecotourism.
In Sweden other methods to get timber and manage forests are excluded, both in practice and on authority level, even though other methods exist. There are methods that potentially give better yields and are less harmful to the environment. The Swedish Forestry Act states that production and environment should be of equal importance, but it is in many ways neglected.
The last years’ conflicts between the locals in Valvtäsk, Storön, Kassjö, Yxsjöberg, Granberget and the forest industry and between reindeer herders and the forest industry are examples of the current unsustainable situation.
Large clear-cuts, plantations, monocultures and management methods such as soil scarification, fertilization, cleaning of ditches and the use of pesticides etc are out of date. These methods symbolize a kind of inhuman, machine adapted, brutal and old fashioned machoism in the forest. It does not match up to modern requirements of multi-managed forests, flexibility and consideration.
The forestry needs to learn how to adjust, not only to nature but also to social and economic conditions and the potential in each location or region. The Saamis’ need of forests for reindeer grazing is such an issue. It is also important that nature and living forests are available near places where people live. These issues need to be carefully mapped in consultation with everybody concerned.
There is nothing to loose, not even on a national level. Other livelihoods than the forest industry are waiting for their chance.
Protect the Forest does not only want to protect all remaining old-growth and natural forests. We also want the managed forests to be managed in a way that does not exclude or obstruct other types of use.
We want the Swedish Right of Public Access (a unique right to roam freely in nature provided that consideration is taken) to acquire a stronger position.
We want the law to be reformulated so that these issues are completely clear.
The overall vision is forests and a nature that are truly alive.