Forest at the lake Yngern, Sweden. Photo: Bjarne Tutturen

Around the lake Yngern, about 40 km southwest of Stockholm, there is still some unfragmented forests which haven’t been logged yet. Wolf and lynx, capercaillie and black grouse live in the forests and by the lake the white-tailed eagle, black-throated loon, beaver and osprey breeds. Unfortunately, these forests are now planned to be clear-cut. The state-owned and FSC-certified forest company Sveaskog has submitted over 20 logging notifications just south of the lake during 2018-2019.

Recently a group of volunteers have been investigating the conservation values in the forests which are planned for logging at Yngsviken, southern part of lake Yngern in the county of Södermanland. Everything is far from investigated yet but many of the species which have been found so far are red-listed and threatened. Here are a few examples:

The endangered beetles Aradus erosus (EN) and Aradus signaticornis (EN), the crust fungus Phlebia centrifuga (VU), the moss Neckera pennata (VU), the moss Lophozia ascendens (VU), the lichen Inoderma byssaceum (VU), the fungus Cortinarius cumatilis (VU), the fungus matsutake (NT), the fungus Phellinus ferrugineofuscus (NT), the lesser spotted woodpecker (NT) the orchid Goodyera repens (NT). (EN= endangered, VU= vulnerable, NT= near threatened).

Many of Sveaskog’s notifications for logging are small but are placed next to each other. So, after the forest has been logged there will be larger areas of clear-cuttings, some of which will go all the way down to the shore of the lake. Bjarne Tutturen knows the forests well and is active in the local forest group, he says:

– During the last couple of years, I have noted that there is a lot of logging going on here. It is a pity because there is a large and quite wild forest area which is now losing its natural values because of fragmentation. This is where you can encounter wolf, lynx, capercaillie, black grouse, boreal owl, Eurasian pygmy owl, Eurasian eagle owl, osprey, white-tailed eagle and beaver.

According to The Swedish Species Information Centre forestry with clear-cuttings and tree plantations are the greatest threats to several of the red-listed species found in the forest. An example is the orchid Goodyera repens, whole habitats where it grows should be protected as nature reserves or biotope-protection areas, according to The Swedish Species Information Centre. South of Yngsviken there is a lot of Goodyera repens growing in the slopes down towards the lake.

The moss Anastrophyllum hellerianum (NT). Photo: Bjarne Tutturen

Another example is the capercaillie, which also breeds in the forest. When the forest gets more fragmented and is replaced with dense plantations, it is a disadvantage for capercaillie. The Swedish Species Information Centre states: ”For a continual existence of capercaillie its habitats should be at least 25 per cent within an unfragmented forest of at least 300 hectares”.

Although the area seems quite wild it is only some miles from the urban centers of Södertälje, Järna, Gnesta and Nykvarn and only about 40 kilometers from Stockholm. The forest is important for outdoor ventures, such as walking and skiing and the lake for canoeing in the summer and ice-skating in the winter. The trekking path “Sörmlandsleden” passes by some of the places where the forest will be logged.

Forests like these are important to keep intact for curbing climate change. According to 11 000 scientists from 159 countries who have declared climate emergency, forests around the world have to be protected since they sequester a lot of CO2, especially boreal forests. “We need to quickly curtail habitat and biodiversity loss protecting the remaining primary and intact forests, especially those with high carbon stores and other forests with the capacity to rapidly sequester carbon, while increasing reforestation and afforestation where appropriate at enormous scales”.

By Kristina Bäck