A clear-cut at Abmobäcken may disturb the ecosystem of the small lakes. Photo: Jonas Nordenström

The state-owned forestry company Sveaskog, is going to log several natural forests with high conservation values in the county of Västerbotten, near Sorsele. There are two planned loggings of 20 and 21 hectares in a wetland near Abmobäcken 15 kilometres south of Sorsele. There are several planned loggings, totally 45 hectares, at Stormyran 15 kilometres east of Sorsele. At Abmoberg, 15 kilometres south of Sorsele Sveaskog has already logged 11,5 hectares of old natural forest, in spite of protests from several NGOs.

The area which is planned to be logged near Abmobäcken consists of natural pine forest with myres, wetlands, small islands and ridges which are important environments for birds and amphibians. Erland Lindblad and Jonas Nordenström from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) in Sorsele have visited the forest and sent a letter to Sveaskog. They write:
”The varied landscape is divided into small to very small forest areas which make us wonder whether it will be possible for Sveaskog to leave sufficient zones of forest along the edges of the water. Logging the forest will most probably seriously disturb the water balance and even the small lakes’ ecosystem. We suggest that Sveaskog stops the planned clear-cuttings and instead take the necessary measures to conserve this valuable area.”

It is important to save zones of forest along the edges of water because the zones provide protection against some of the negative effects caused by clear-cuts. According to the forestry law protective zones of forest should always remain along water. But there are many examples of companies ignoring this, here is one such example.

A field visit was carried out by SSNC in the beginning of August. 19 species which are of conservation interest were found, 12 of these species are red-listed, such as the fungi Antrodia albobrunnea (VU) and Cinereomyces lenis (VU). These fungi live on wood often in untouched pine forests with high conservation values where there is a long continuity of course woody debris from pine in several stages of degradation. In many places in the forest there are old spruce trees with the fungus Pseudographis pinicola (NT).
Pseudographis pinicola is dependent on a high level of humidity in old and undisturbed forests. If the trees are clear-cut, the whole environment around them will change and these species will disappear. In the area there is also capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), grouse (Tetrastes bonasia) and whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus). Three birds which are prioritized species according to the forest law.

In the wetlands and natural forest complex of Stormyran – Holmmyran – Ardnasåjvvie, 15 kilometres east of Sorsele, there are four planned loggings. These areas consist of old spruce forest which is surrounded by myres. In the letter to Sveaskog SSNC writes:
”In 2017 we noted that the red-listed fungi Antrodia infirma (EN) exists in the area. This fungi is bound to old-growth spruce forest. A recommendation from The Swedish Species Information Centre is that old forests with Antrodia infirma should be excluded from forestry and left undisturbed for free development.”

Sveaskog will log the forest where the fungus Skeletocutis lilacina (VU) is. Photo: Erland Lindblad

In spite of this, 45 hectares are still planned for logging where the red-listed species are. In the beginning of August members from SSNC visited the area. They found the purple coloured fungus Skeletocutis lilacina (VU) growing on course woody debris of a spruce. In the letter to Sveaskog, they write that this rare fungus has only been noted six times in Sweden previously. The findings of Skeletocutis lilacina and of Skeletocutis chrysella (VU) in both the middle and northern part of the forest indicate that the whole area is of importance in a landscape perspective and should not be logged. Erland Lindblad states:
“Although the fungus Skeletocutis chrysella is growing in several places in the forest, and not to speak of Skeletocutis lilacina– a fungus which hardly has been found in Sweden before, the Swedish Forest Agency answers:
‘Sveaskog has already planned to leave enough consideration by following the forestry law. What we can do is see if we can re-prioritize some of the area but we cannot ask for more beyond that.’”

There is a rich occurrence of traces of the Eurasian three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) (NT). Photo: Erland Lindblad

SSNC emphasizes that there is a rich occurrence of traces on the trees from the Eurasian three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) (NT). According to SSNC more clear-cuts will fragment the forest and in doing so damage the long-term survival of the woodpecker.
”We suggest that Sveaskog drops the logging plans and takes the necessary measures so that these valuable forests are conserved for the future”
There is a large unfragmented natural forest at Abmoberget, 15 kilometres south of Sorsele. Now Sveaskog has clear-cut 11.5 hectars in the northern part of Abmoberg although several environmental NGOs have requested Sveaskog not to log this forest or other parts of Abmoberg. There are now several planned clear-cuts there. Erland Lindblad says:
”It is so sad that they can’t even let the last unfragmented forests be untouched.”

Clear-cut in the northern part of Abmoberg. Photo: Erland Lindblad

Abmoberg is one of the last large unfragmented forests in Västerbotten below the mountain forest region. From north to south one can walk 8 kilometres through unbroken forest with myres, small lakes and sub-alpine terrain. The forest has no impact from modern forestry and parts of it can be considered as old-growth forest. The oldest pine is 420 years and the oldest spruce is 497 years. East, west, south and now even north of Abmoberg there are large clear-cut areas.