Up among the old pines in the Fagersjö Forest, south of Stockholm. On the left Kristina Bäck from Protect the Forest and on the right Hampus Rubaszkin who is fighting for the whole forest to become a nature reserve. Photo: N Aurgrunn

Last Friday, Protect the Forest (Skydda Skogen) visited the unprotected, urban Fagersjö Forest south of Stockholm to support a group which is working for protection of the entire forest. Construction plans are currently threatening the southern part of the forest. In the forest there are plenty of old oaks, pines and firs, a lot of dead wood and red-listed wood fungi. Black woodpecker, goshawk and wood warbler are a few of the red-listed birds that live there, as well as protected bats and frogs. Hopefully the whole area will become a nature reserve as it also forms an important green corridor.

Every Friday, Protect the Forest visits a threatened forest in connection with “Fridays for Future”. The Fagersjö Forest is located in between the suburbs of Hökarängen, Farsta and Fagersjö in southern Stockholm. It is one of the southern suburbs’ largest unprotected forests at 100 hectares. In the highest parts, it is a heathland forest with old pines. A bit lower down the forest is mixed with large deciduous trees such as oaks and aspens, as well as spruce and hazel in groves. Stockholm’s largest spruce grows here. Swamp forest, marshes and small streams are found inside the forest and there are plenty of fallen decaying trees. Visitors to the area have reported many red-listed species to the Swedish Species Information Centre (Artdatabanken).In 2012, the city of Stockholm had a frog pond built on the southern side of the Fagersjö road. In 2016, Grodkollen inventoried the pond and found the protected lesser newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) there.

The red-listed wood fungi Porodaedalea pini is near threatened. It only grows on pines older than 100 years and is found in the Fagersjö forest. Photo: Kristina Bäck

High nature values are due to the fact that the forest has never been clear-cut

The Fagersjö Forest is popular and important to many people who live nearby. The forest is part of the so-called “Hanveden wedge”, which forms an important green wedge into the suburbs and city. It is also a dispersal corridor for many species. The Fagersjö Forest has never been clear-cut, which contributes to the high nature and recreational values.

There are plans to protect the Fagersjö Forest as a nature reserve, but this has not happened yet. In 2015, members of the The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation(Naturskyddsföreningen)inventoried the northern part of the forest because of building plans which threatened to exploit the northern part of the forest. Now it has been decided that a construction company will build 12 townhouses at the edge of the forest.

Several years ago, The City of Stockholm undertook to establish the entire Fagersjö Forest, i.e. 100 hectares, as a nature reserve, according to the The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation’s report from the inventory. But it hasn’t happened yet. The Fagersjö forest is also designated by the County Administrative Board as a “special area worthy of protection”. Furthermore, it is an important part of the green infrastructure in the southern suburbs of Stockholm.

Still unprotected 20 years after government assignment

The Fagersjö Forest is also included in the County Administrative Board’s program from 2002 “Never far from nature“. It is a government assignment that points out 71 green areas within the Stockholm region which are worth protecting. These are areas that the county government should protect as nature reserves according to the Environmental Code. Now, ten years later, the Fagersjö forest is still unprotected and building plans plus the construction of a commuter station are threats. Although positive news is that both the Green Party and the Left Party write on their websites that they are in favour of protection of the forest. The question is whether they mean the entire forest of 100 hectares or just a part of it.

Sources:

Naturskyddsföreningen 2015, report by Ronny Fors and Anders Tranberg: Inventory of natural values and recreational values in part of Fagersjöskogen.

County Board: Never far from nature

SLU’s Artdatabanken, Swedish Species Information Centre