Karatj-Råvvåive, photo: Mose Agestam
Near the mountains in Jokkmokk municipality, bordering on the Pärlälven nature reserve with subalpine old-growth forest, north of the Karats lake, lies Karatj-Råvvåive. For more than ten years, people have been trying to protect this large old-growth forest, covering more than 100 square kilometers. The forest is valuable for many reasons: for animals and plants, for people to enjoy and live in, for reindeer husbandry, for its cultural history, and for the forest’s own sake.
The values of the forest have long been well-documented, and the authorities in charge of nature conservation have wanted to protect the whole area for years. In November 2018, it was decided that half of Karatj-Råvvåive will become a nature reserve. But for the southern half, there is as yet no solution, since the land owner is against a nature reserve. Because of lobbying from forest companies, and lack of money in the state budget for nature conservation, a process has now begun to form a so-called eco-park in southern Karatj-Råvvåive.
An eco-park is a voluntary commitment from the landowner, where forestry and other kinds of human land use is still permitted. In an eco-park, some areas are managed, while others are set aside for conservation. The forest company signs an agreement with the Forest Agency which is valid for at most 50 years. According to Protect the Forest, with today’s critical condition for biodiversity, there is no room for half-measures when it comes to conservation, especially not for valuable subalpine old-growth forests such as Karatj-Råvvåive. A nature reserve is protected against forestry and other types of exploitative land use, with no time limit. That is why Protect the Forest wants all of Karatj-Råvvåive to be protected as a nature reserve, and nothing else.
You can help – by signing this petition to protect Karatj-Råvvåive as a nature reserve.
Facts about Karatj-Råvvåive
Karatj-Råvvåive is a forest 13 000 hectares in size, about 50 kilometers west of Jokkmokk in the county of Norrbotten. Large parts of the area are roadless, subalpine old-growth forest. There are low fells above the treeline, fells covered in old-growth forest, wide areas of bare rock, heathland with hundred-year-old pines, large mires, streams and lakes. The Sami village of Tuorpon uses the area for reindeer husbandry, and the old-growth forests are important grazing-grounds for the reindeer.
In the west, Karatj-Råvvåive borders on the nature reserve Pärlälvdalens fjällurskog, and is a natural extension of one of Sweden’s largest areas of old-growth forest. The area has a very large biodiversity, and thanks to being so untouched, it has large conservation value. About 1500 individual find of 85 different redlisted species have been reported to the Species Observation System at the Swedish Species Information Center, for example three-toed woodpecker, grey-headed chickadee, the beetle Northorhina muricata, the lichen Evernia divaricata and Collema curtisporum, and the endangered wood-living fungus Neoantrodia infirma. The WWF has earlier declared Karatj-Råvvåive a natural area which ought to be protected.
In November 2018, it was announced that half the area would be protected as a nature reserve, read more here. Now Protect the Forest is working to ensure that the other half will also be formally protected, so that the area remains a whole and the landscape values can be secured.
Photos of the area can be found in our gallery.
Map of the area.
Protect all of Karatj-Råvvåive!
The southern half of Karatj-Råvvåive must – like the northern half – be formally protected as a nature reserve. It would be a great mistake to proceed with the plans of an eco-park in the area instead.
Why is this important?
For ten years, the organization Protect the Forest has worked to protect Karatj-Råvvåive, an area of old-growth forest near the mountains in Jokkmokk municipality which is more than 100 square kilometers. In March of 2019, a nature reserve with the name Karatj-Råvvåive was finally formed. But half the forest was missing. Instead, the land owners and the government authorities had decided to pursue plans for an eco-park in the southern half.
Since the situation for biodiversity in the forest is so critical, there is no room for half-measures when it comes to nature conservation. A nature reserve is protected against forestry and other types of exploitative land use, with no time limit.
Eco-parks are the forest industry’s own nature conservation projects, with a short-term and often weak protection. Forest management and other types of developments are still allowed. There are many examples of how the state-owned forest company Sveaskog has mis-managed the nature conservation in their eco-parks, where economic profit has been more important than protection of nature and biodiversity. An eco-park is out of the question when it comes to protecting high natural values in roadless, subalpine old-growth forest.
That is why Protect the Forest wants all of Karatj-Råvvåive to be protected as a nature reserve, and nothing else. The southern part of Karatj-Råvvåive must be included in the nature reserve Karatj-Råvvåive.