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One of northwestern Europe’s largest and most valuable pineforests is threatened by logging

Dalarnas municipality, Sweden – Ore Forest landscape. Photo: Sebastian Kirppu

One of northwestern Europe’s largest and most valuable natural pine forest landscapes at Gåsberget in Ore Forest landscape in the municipality of Dalarna in Sweden, is threatened by logging. The organizations Protect the Forest, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) in Rättvik and Nature and Youth in Sweden have sent a letter to the governor and the County Administrative Board in Dalarna and to the politicians and authorities concerned, that they have to take action now to preserve these forests.

Several forests with high conservation values in the area of Gåsberget and in Ore Forest landscape are planned to be logged. Two large wind power plants are also planned to be built in the forests. In a press-release the NGO’s state that authorities and politicians must take action. The natural pineforests at Gåsberget need protection now since few such natural pine forest landscapes remain in Sweden, or even in Europe, since they have all been logged.

The project ”Grön infrastruktur i Gåsbergets värdetrakt” (Green infrastructure in Gåsberget’s valuable forest landscape) is a collaboration project with many actors- the County Administrative Board, the Swedish Forest Agency, the forestry companies Sveaskog and Stora Enso and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). According to the NGO’s the need for protection is not emphasized enough in the project. Furthermore, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation have been excluded from the project although they stand for a legimitate common interest.  

The organizations call for that there should be no forestry at all in the forests around Gåsberget and in Ore Forest Landscape, which is an approach in line with conservation research and national and international environmental goals. Elin Götmark, spokesperson in Protect the Forest, says:  

”It is unacceptable that the County Administrative Board and the Swedish Forest Agency do not stand up for our environmental goals and that they also exclude the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) from the project. SSNC stand for a legitimate common interest. To not carry out forestry in forests with high conservation values is in line with research on conservation biology since so few forests with high conservation values remain”.

Brännvinsberget in Ore Forest Landscape after being clear-cut. Photo: Sebastian Kirppu

In the letter the NGO’s state that if we don’t protect all forests with high conservation values, how are we ever going to preserve the biodiviersty in Sweden? This is a question they would like the governor, politicians and the authorities to answer.

In less than a month, by 2020, at least 17-20 per cent of all land areas should be protected in ecologically representative systems, according to international and national environmental goals. Today, only 6 percent of the productive forest in Sweden has long-term protection.

Margareta Wikström, chairperson for SSNC in Rättvik says:  

”In Ore Forest Landscape and around Gåsberget there are still some forests left which have high conservation values and these need to be protected so that we reach the national environmental goals, although these forests are just fragments of what they once were. Now they want to log the fragments too- but in a legitimate way.”

By Kristina Bäck