Members of Protect the Forest have visited Norrbyskogen, an unprotected urban forest of 80 hectares near the lake of Drevviken in Haninge municipality, Stockholm. The municipality promised to protect Norrbyskogen in the 1980s, but it has not happened. Last year, the landowner Turbinen Entreprenad AB constructed a road into the forest, and the forestry company Stora Enso has since then clear-cut parts of the forest in preparation for future development for housing. Residents nearby are sad and upset. There are protected species in the forest such as bats and goshawk.

Norrbyskogen has been designated as one of Haninge’s forests most worthy of protection. Photo: K Bäck

Norrbyskogen is a small forest but one of the most worthy of protection in Haninge, according to Haninge municipality’s nature conservation plan. It has never been felled by forest machines until 2022. An investigation report commissioned by the municipality shows that 29 hectares of the forest has been classified as “high natural value”, 41.5 hectares as “tangible natural value” and 10 hectares as “certain natural value”. There is also a registered key forest biotope in the forest. Despite this, exploitation of the forest is ongoing.

Housing instead of nature reserve

The municipality has planned since the 1980s to form a nature reserve out of the forest, but they have not fulfilled that promise. Unfortunately, the FSC-certified forestry company Stora Enso has already clear-cut about 12 hectares and thinned out parts of the forest. Mattias Bernhardsson, who has been committed to preserving the forest and is part of the group “Preserve Haninge’s forests, archipelago and cultural landscape“, says:

“There are dual interests in the municipality, they want housing expansion in the area and at the same time say that Norrrbyskogen one of the five forests in Haninge with high conservation values that should be protected.”

A forest road has been made into the forest. Photo: K Bäck

Local residents are upset

In the Facebook group “Bevara Norrby och Norrbyskogen” (Preserve Norrby and the Norrby forest) , one can read that many residents in Norrby oppose the exploitation. Building housing in the forest will transform Norrby into a densely housed area with traffic and emissions and decrease child safety. Watch the film where local residents react when Stora Enso has destroyed parts of the forest.

Old spruces up to 100 years old or more have been removed, photo: K Bäck

Forest with high conservation values is being destroyed

The forest partly consists of natural pine forest. In the lower parts, there are marsh environments with sedges and old pines and spruces. There are several observed and reported protected and red-listed species, for example:  Starling (VU), greenfinch (EN), European pied flycatcher (NT), black woodpecker (VU) and goshawk (NT). EN= endangered, VU= vulnerable, NT= Near threatened.

Logging was stopped in 2019

In 2019 the landowner made an attempt to cut down the forest, but Mattias Bernhardsson managed to stop the logging temporarily while the municipality investigated the forest’s conservation values ​​ and values for outdoor life. The municipality made a preliminary plan for the nature reserve. In the report from the company Calluna, one can read that Norrbyskogen is a large mixed-leaf coniferous forest with an ecological function for old-growth forest species.

The forest can be a contribution to Sweden’s environmental goals

The forest is connected to other forests and green areas which enables the spread of species. Today, you can walk about 4 km from Norrbyskogen to Tyresta National Park and follow the forested green wedge all the way to Svartbäcken. Fragmentation causes loss of biodiversity. “If the municipality decides to preserve Norrby Forest, it will be a contribution to meeting the environmental goals,” writes Calluna in its investigation.

Every Friday, Protect the Forest visits a threatened forest to draw attention to it and support those who fight for the forest’s preservation. Photo: K Bäck

Read about more threatened urban forests in the Stockholm area:

Hammarby Forest

The Bagarmossen forest is threatened by construction road and stone crusher

Kärrtorp’s Eastern forest