Over 3,500 findings of nature conservation species, i.e. species that indicate high conservation values ​​or are threatened, partly in forest planned for felling. Photo: Philipp Weiss.

Four threatened forest areas with high conservation values ​​in the border areas between the counties of Jämtland and Västernorrland in Sweden were examined this summer during the Research Trip. The participants did over 3,500 findings of nature conservation species, i.e. species that indicate high conservation values ​​or are threatened, partly in forest planned for felling. “If the County Administrative Board does not protect these areas, the likely consequence is that the forests will be cut down,” according the newly written report.

Every year, The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and Protect the Forest organize “The Research trip to the Nature Conservancy’s Outbacks”, a non-profit inventory week of unprotected forest that usually takes place in different parts of northern Sweden. Eastern Jämtland is a part of Sweden that has very little formally protected forest, which is one reason why the Research Trip took place there this year. The 2022 research trip that was organized on the other side of the county border, in Västernorrland county, taught us that these are parts of the country that are very species-rich, in a way that stands out in a national perspective. Elin Götmark, spokesperson for Protect the Forest and who participated in the research trip, says:

“The four forest areas we inventoried have very high conservation values ​​with a large number of red-listed species. In one of these areas, forests are notified for logging by the FSC-certified forestry company SCA. We want the three forest areas at Lake Horten to be included in the County Administrative Board’s nature reserve proposal and that the fourth natural forest area of ​​380 hectares at Örasjöberget, to be formally protected. The report shows the high conservation values ​​and what is at risk of being lost.”

High biodiversity in one of the unprotected forests which was visited. Photo: Klas Magnusson

Three forest areas were not included in the planned reserve in 2023 despite high conservation values

Three of the inventoried areas are near Lake Horten, north of Ytterhogdal, where the County Administrative Board is planning a nature reserve. The land owner is SCA except for an area at Tokberget which is owned by the Church of Sweden. But none of these three forest areas were included in the County Administrative Board’s reserve plans in 2023 and are partly already notified for logging. To the south of the lake there is a post-fire natural pine forest, which is rare, and to the north of the lake there is mixed coniferous forest with very high conservation values. In the report one can read:

“In this area, there are probably Sweden’s most viable populations of several threatened wood fungi, such as Neoantrodia infirma, Neoantrodia primaeva, Griseoporia carbonaria and Resinoporia crassa. All but the Resinoporia crassa, which is red-listed as critically endangered (CR), are redlisted as highly endangered (EN).”

Natural pine forest at Örasjöberget, east of Ytterhogdal. The area meets all the requirements that the County Administrative Board sets for a potential nature reserve. Photo: Klas Magnusson

SCA plans loggings in natural pine forests with high conservation values

The fourth area that the research trip inventoried is located at Örasjöberget, east of Ytterhogdal, and consists of 380 hectares of contiguous natural pine forest. The FSC-certified forest owner and company SCA, plans to cut down the forest in three locations. The report states that the area meets all the requirements that the County Administrative Board sets for a potential nature reserve. The County Administrative Board should therefore prioritize the area for formal area protection. The FSC is a certification that guarantees sustainable forestry. But logging forests with high and very high conservation values ​​is far from sustainable.

Trees rich with hanging lichens. Photo: Klas Magnusson

About the research trip

The research trip is a non-profit inventory effort where around 50 people with different skills, different ages and backgrounds usually participate. Knowledge of species is not a requirement, beginners to inventory learn from experts with many years of experience. The important thing is that the Research Trip is a gathering point for those interested in forests and nature who want to be involved in documenting threatened, unprotected natural forests.

Read the report from the research trip 2023 here (only in Swedish).

Contact person: Elin Götmark, spokesperson, Protect the Forest, +46 70 678 74 23, email: elin.gotmark@skyddaskogen.se