Photo: Olli Manninen/Protect the Forest
The organization Protect the Forest welcomes the extensive report released today by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), Sweden’s oldest and largest environmental organization. The report is titled “Under the Cover of the Swedish Forestry Model” and looks deep into the myth about the “environmentally friendly forest products” and the “sustainable Swedish Forestry Model”, which is marketed worldwide. The report is addressed to international customers and decision-makers.
“Sweden’s good reputation for conducting sustainable forestry is strongly undeserved. Swedish companies market FSC-certified products as environmentally friendly, while reality proves the opposite”, says Daniel Rutschman, secretary of Protect the Forest. “The customers are being deceived. These Swedish forest products they buy often come from companies logging forests with high conservation values and replacing natural forests with monoculture plantations”.
Sweden has adopted environmental objectives and signed international agreements stating that all native species must be able to survive in long-term viable populations and that a living forest landscape shall be preserved. Sweden has signed an international agreement in Nagoya which establishes that at least 17 percent of each land based ecosystem must be protected until the year 2020. This corresponds to the demands of an appeal initiated by Protect the Forest, which argues that at least 20 percent of the productive forest land must be protected. The appeal has been signed by leading scientists and more than 40 environmental organizations worldwide with a total of several million members. The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation has the same demand in their report, which shows that neither the forest owners or the government are doing what is necessary to realize these goals.
“Politicians and representatives of the forest industry claim that forest protection and environmental consideration can be handled by the companies themselves, under the motto “freedom with responsibility”, something which is not working at all”, says Viktor Säfve, chairperson of Protect the Forest. “Years of systematic violations of the certification rules and increasing failure to comply with the Swedish Forestry Act have shown that improved legislation, consumer power and legal protection are the only things that can help. As it is today in Sweden, you can freely destroy streams by driving heavy forest machines through them and clear-fell natural forests, without any risk of sanctions”.
About 2000 species are listed on the national Red List of species risking extinction in Sweden. Many of these species are on the Red List because their natural habitats are shrinking, largely because of forestry. Only a few percent of old natural forests remain in Sweden. These forests make up a considerable amount of the last remaining old-growth forests in Western Europe, forests which must be preserved according to leading scientists. Despite these facts, the SSNC-report states that natural forests are still systematically being logged by FSC-certified companies.
“Consumer countries should put pressure on the Swedish forest companies, and the EU and UN should demand that the Swedish government live up to the UN-treaties and follow EU-legislation concerning water, species and habitat. The government must present the tools needed to realize Sweden’s environmental objectives”, says Viktor Säfve. “Today important parts of Europe’s natural heritage are being destroyed, and sold with false marketing as environmentally friendly products under the FSC-trademark”.
Read the SSNC’s report “Under the Cover of the Swedish Forestry Model”
Read the SSNC press release here “Biodiversity Crisis in Swedish Forests”:
Viktor Säfve, chairperson, Protect the Forest +46 (0)76-1148811, email@example.com
Daniel Rutschman, secretary, Protect the Forest +46 (0)72-1765344, firstname.lastname@example.org
Press photo: FSC-certified forestry by Stora Enso in Örebro County, Sweden.
Photo: Olli Manninen/Protect the Forest
Download the photo here
Recommended reading about Swedish forests:
Protect the Forests report about climate and boreal forest
SSNC report “Cutting the edge” (2010)
Greenpeace report on FSC