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Planned exploitation of suburban forest- it is a dispersal route for threatened species

Protect the Forest visited the threatened forest “Bagisskogen” in Bagarmossen, south of Stockholm together with the group “Stop the Construction Road “. The City of Stockholm is to place a stone crushing plant in the forest and a construction road will be built through the green area with heavy transports with crushed stone for at least 7 years. The forest is a green wedge and an “ecologically particularly significant area” (ESBO area) as well as a dispersal route for protected species. In addition to the construction road, the City of Stockholm is planning 700 flats at the beginning of the forest plus a large school.

In the Bagarmossen forest, a stone crushing plant and a construction road will be built, which will be trafficked by hundreds of trucks through an ecologically particularly significant area (ESBO). Photo: Linda Hansson

The urban Bagarmossen forest is an unprotected, green wedge of natural forest between the suburbs Skarpnäck and Bagarmossen. The forest is varied with old oaks, pines hazel groves and swampy areas with aspens. It is a distribution corridor for species between the nature reserve Nackareservatet and the cemetery Skogskyrkogården. Some protected and red-listed species that have been observed in the Bagarmossen Forest e.g. toads (protected), greater newt (NT), frogs (protected), bats (protected), goshawk (NT), starling (VU) and greenfinch (en). (Red list: NT= Near Threatened, VU= Vulnerable, EN= Strongly Threatened).

A well-used cycle and footpath runs through the forest. The City of Stockholm has decided that they will widen the road and that it will become a busy construction road for trucks that transport crushed stone and the stone crusher plant will be built next to the forest. The construction road  is called “temporary” but will be in use for seven years, or more, according to the plan.

Ylva Bexell, to the right, talks about the exploitation that will take place in the forest. Photo: N Aurgrunn

The appeal against the decision

The group “Stop the Construction Road” has written an appeal to the Land and Environment Court against the decision and many have signed it. There are mainly two things that they are appealing against: Firstly, the location of the stone crushing plant in direct connection into the ESBO area. The second is the planned construction transport route through the ESBO area. In the appeal, one can read:

– The stone crusher will be located within 100 m of the documented find sites for toads and frogs. Sound volume, vibration and noise from the stone crusher will also directly affect the bats.

No environmental assessment before decision

The City of Stockholm did not carry out an environmental assessment before they took the decision. They did not consider that they needed to do one and they have not given any reasons why, which is contrary to both Chapter 6 of the Environmental Code and Section 32 of the Administration Act.

The City of Stockholm inventoried part of the currently threatened forest tract in 2014. However, several in the group “Stop the Construction Road ” believe that the nature conservation surveys are insufficient. Among other things, the City of Stockholm has not carried out any bat survey despite knowing that there are bats in the exploitation area. The City of Stockholm has not taken any samples from the rocky outcrops which they will crush, which may very likely contain sulphides, which are a major environmental hazard.

The appeal states:

-We believe that the city has grossly disregarded its duty to investigate the impact on the environment, this applies particularly to the implementation. The placement of the stone crushing plant is in conflict with the regulations in the Species Protection Ordinance and the species protection regulations in Chapter 8 of the Environmental Code with associated regulations.

Old oaks, coniferous forest birds and bats are threatened

In the Stockholm City’s inventory report from 2014, it appears that the area – in addition to being singled out as an ecologically particularly significant area (ESBO), is also a core area and valuable tract for oak (Stockholms stads ekinventering 2007). It is also part of the city’s habitat network for oak-living species (Mörtberg et al. 2007). Farthest to the south is an area of ​​broadleaf forest that the County Administrative Board has classified as an environment worthy of protection. Nearby core areas with tree-environments worthy of protection can be found partly at the cemetery Skogskyrkogården to the west and in the Nacka nature-reserve to the east. Most of the affected forest is also part of Stockholm’s city habitat network for coniferous forest birds, such as the crested tit (Lophophanes cristatus). For these coniferous forest birds, the forest forms a link between the Nacka Reserve and the Forest Cemetery (Stockholms Stad 2019).

Protected amphibians are threatened

The construction road and the stone crushing plant will destroy a core area for amphibians that is part of Stockholm’s amphibian habitat network. Even if the wetland is preserved, there is a great risk of pollution. Three wetlands are designated as potential breeding sites for amphibians (Mörtberg et al. 2006). The Bagarmossen forest is an important link and dispersal route for amphibians between the Nacka Nature Reserve and the cemetery Skogskyrkogården.

Untouched forest important for the health of the citizens

That this small forest is allowed to remain untouched is important for the citizens’ health, well-being and standard of living, according to a petition against the construction road. Preschools and elementary schools use the forest areas along the road on a daily basis. There are several alternative routes for the road that have not even been investigated. Nor has the City of Stockholm done any child impact analysis.

Sign the petition: Rädda Bagarmossenskogen! Stoppa byggväg genom spridningskorridor för fridlysta arter.

More articles about the threatened urban forests around Stockholm:

Kärrtorps Eastern forest

The Fagersjö forest

Trolldalen forest

Ryssbergen Forest