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Repeated violations when Södra Skogsägarna carry out logging in Småland’s forests

Södra Skogsägarna have time and again logged forests with protected species in the county of Småland, Sweden. They have cut down old trees that should have been protected, they log sensitive biotopes and they have bought up timber from nature reserves. They have violated the Species Protection Ordinance, the Forest Protection Act, the Environmental Code and the EU Timber Regulation. Södra has not followed the criteria in the FSC certification. “This is not a mistake or an exception – it is the rule!” say the NGO “The Forest Group in Tjust”.

Time and time again, Södra log forests that, according to the FSC certification, should be protected. Photo: Private

According to the Environmental Code, the landowner has a personal responsibility to have knowledge of the protected species that exist within a logging notified area and, if necessary, to take precautionary measures. But that rarely happens in reality. The red-listed and protected orchid Goodyera repens (VU) has been found by non-profit surveyors in several logged forests, as well as other protected and threatened species. Many of the Goodyera repens that non-profit surveyors have found in the clear-cuts are doomed and have brown spots because they cannot stand being exposed to sunlight and wind. The Forest Group in Tjust comment:

– It is not easy to find the orchid Goodyera repens on a clear-cut, so there must have been quite a few here. As usual, Södra has no knowledge of conservation values ​​and endangered species in the forests they cut down. Is it possible to interpret it in another way that they prioritise maximizing profit before legal compliance?

13 examples of how Södra Skogsägarna systematically break the law

Here are thirteen recent examples of forests that have been logged or are planned to be logged by Södra Skogsägarna. They commit violations of the EU Timber Regulation, the Forest Protection Act, the Environmental Code and the Species Protection Ordinance: (Red list NT= near threatened, VU=vulnerable, EN= highly threatened)

1. Strömshagen, Bjursund, Lofta, Västervik, Kalmar län, A 58696 – 2020. Södra Skogsägarna logged an area of forest with 25 plants of the protected and red-listed orchid Goodyera repens (VU). A request against the planned logging was submitted in 2020 by the NGO the Forest Group in Tjust to the Swedish Forest Agency. They replied that there were too few orchids to be worth stopping the logging!

Picture taken last week of the orchid Goodyera repens (VU) that was found on Södra’s clear-cut in Trästad, Blackstad, Västervik, Kalmar county. The orchid will not survive in the clearing. Photo: Private

2. Trästad, Blackstad, Västervik, Kalmar county, A 40890 – 2022. (1.9 ha). The forest was felled before 6 weeks (dispensation from the Swedish Forest Agency due to the beetle Ips typographus which lives on spruce). Goodyera repens was found in three locations in the clear-cut!

3. Kårby, Törnsfall, Västervik, Kalmar county, A 19900 – 2022, (5.6 ha). The forest was clear-cut despite the fact that the NGO the Forest Group in Tjust had submitted a request to the Swedish Forest Agency to stop the planned logging because of the occurrence of Goodyera repens. The logging took place before the authority had made a decision/non-decision.

Södra has logged a forest with high conservation values near Kårby, Törnsfall. In the picture, the jacket marks a destroyed site of the red-listed orchid Goodyera repens. Before the logging the Forest Group in Tjust had sent a request to the Swedish Forestry Agency to consider the orchids, but there was no answer. Photo: Private
During a visit in March, it was found that a site of the red-listed orchid Goodyera repens had been destroyed at Falsterbo, Hjorted. The red hat on the photo marks the plants’ location. This is just one in a long line of species protection violations by Södra Skogsägarna. In addition, a territory of willow tit (NT) has ceased, as no precautionary measures have been taken in the roughly 8 ha large clear-cut. Photo: Private

4. Falsterbo, Hjorted, Västervik, Kalmar län (8.2 ha), A 54588 – 2022. Södra felled the forest despite the fact that the NGO the Forestry Group in Tjust had submitted a request for an inspection case regarding Goodyera repens (VU) and willow pine (NT) to the Swedish Forest Agency, which did not notify any decision/non-decision.

5. Falsterbo, Hjorted, Västervik, Kalmar län (7 ha) A 54591 – 2022. Södra logged the forest with high conservation values. This happened although the NGO the Forestry Group in Tjust had sent a request to the Swedish Forest Agency to consider the black woodpecker (NT), the lesser-spotted woodpecker (NT) and the willow tit ( NT) living in the area. On two visits afterwards to the clear-cut, non-profit inventors found a lot of dead wood in various stages of decomposition, including the wood-living fungi Phellinidium ferrugineofuscum (NT). They also noted the lichen Lobaria pulmonaria (NT) at the edge of the clear-cut and that it no longer had any protection from the sun by trees. Lobaria pulmonaria is unusual in Småland. “That Södra logged this forest and that the Swedish Forest Agency allowed it to happen is completely unacceptable and a scandal,” comments the Forestry Group in Tjust.

The lichen Lobaria pulmonaria (NT) was found on three oaks at the edge of the clear-cut that Södra made at Hjorted. Now the lichen is exposed to sunlight, which means that it probably won’t survive. Photo: Private

6. Ålhult, Blackstad, Västervik (4.5 ha), A 1314 – 2022. Södra logged the forest despite the fact that the NGO the Forestry Group in Tjust had submitted a request to the Swedish Forest Agency to inspect the forest. This was due to the presence of the red-listed and protected species Goodyera repens (VU), the wood-living fungus Phellinidium ferrugineofuscum NT), willow tit (NT) and black woodpecker (NT). An area of ​​consideration was left which was far too small and a lot of the orchid Goodyera repens grew outside the area. Non-profit conservationists had tried to bring about relevant protection for the premises of the Goodyera repens. But Södra logged the forest- despite knowing that it meant violations against the Species Protection Ordinance.

The orchid Goodyera repens has been found at 15 sites in the forest at Kråketorp, a forest which is planned to be logged by Södra. Photo: Private

7. Kråketorp, Hultsfred municipality: Despite the fact that the Swedish Forest Agency has determined that the forest has such high conservation values ​​(with 1000s of Goodyera repens) that it cannot be cut down, Södra has applied for a dispensation from the County Administrative Board to cut down the forest. Södra’s dispensation application constitutes a direct obstruction to the criteria in the FSC and traceability standards not to trade in timber that comes from forests with high conservation values.

8. Nötebro, Högsby municipality – unreported logging of forest with the red-listed and rare plant Chimaphila umbellata (EN) and the orchid Goodyera repens (VU). Violation of the EU Timber Regulation, the Forest Protection Act, the Environmental Code and the Species Protection Regulation.

Seedlings of Chimaphila umbellata which is red-listed as highly threatened (EN), found by the Forest Group in Tjust on the clear-cut that Södra made at Nötebro. Photo: Private
Birch logs taken out of the Sjöboviken nature reserve. Also hollow trees in the wood piles. All timber has been sold to Södra. Photo: Private

9. Sjöbovikens nature reserve, Oskarshamn municipality: Trade in illegally harvested timber in direct violation of the reserve’s regulations. Old trees and trees with hollows felled. Violation of the EU timber regulation, the Environmental Code and the FSC standards regarding not trading in timber from forests with high natural values.

10. Vassmolösa, Kalmar municipality – premises of the endangered wood fungus Pelloporus triqueter (EN) destroyed and insufficient consideration for the protected orchid Goodyera repens(VU, §8).

Södra’s clear-cut in Fallebo, “the feeling of walking in a natural forest is gone”. The wood-living fungus Phellinidium ferrugineofuscum (NT) habitat completely destroyed. Photo: Private

11. Fallebo, Oskarshamn municipality. A spruce forest with several of the red-listed wood fungus (NT) Phellinidium ferrugineofuscum (NT) has been felled. The Phellinidium ferrugineofuscum indicates high conservation values in spruce forest ​​in the county of Götaland and the logging carried out will lead to the extinction of the Phellinidium ferrugineofuscum in the forest area at Fallebo. This is because no new substrate will be formed after Södra has cut down the spruces in the area.

In Ramnebo in the municipality of Oskarshamn, Södra has planned to carry out logging in a sensitive wetland. Photo: Private

12. Ramnebo, Oskarshamn municipality, Södra has planned to log an old pine forest with deciduous trees in a swamp, a biotope that requires consideration. From the FSC complaint submitted from a NGO: “The forest notified for felling consists in its entirety of a sensitive biotope which should be preserved, not logged”

13. Fågelbergsskogen, Vimmerby municipality. Södra has registered an old natural coniferous forest for logging. It is in a hilly terrain with high conservation values ​​and with nature conservation species such as Goodyera repens (VU, §8), black woodpecker (NT) and Phellinidium ferrugineofuscum (NT). From the FSC complaint sumbmitted by an NGO: “There are about 20 premises with roughly 200 plants of Goodyera repens (VU) in the forest registered for felling, as well as three areas with the rare (in southern Sweden) wood fungus Phellinidium ferrugineofuscum (NT). Phellinidium ferrugineofuscum indicates old, undisturbed forest environments with high conservation values. Forests like this should not be logged by FSC-certified forest companies at all!”

Read some previous articles about forest in the county of Småland:

Frödinge Skog has logged along a river, violating FSC criteria

Forest with high conservation values at Gallsjön to be logged