In February last year, the Swedish Land and Environmental Court in Växjö stopped a forest from being logged by the forestry company Södra at Skutterstad in Västervik municipality, Sweden. The NGO Tjust’s Forest Group had told the Swedish Forest Agency about the forest’s high conservation values ​​and that there were red-listed and protected species in the forest, including both willow tit (NT) and hazel grouse (NT). Södra withdrew its logging notification after the court’s sentence.

There was a forest here that haboured the protected birds willow tit (NT) and hazel grouse(NT) but Södra clear-cut it and defied the law. Photo: Private

In June this year, there was a new logging notification from Södra covering the same area. Tjust’s forest group contacted the Swedish Forest Agency, who replied that the Land and Environment Court’s judgement- no to logging,  no longer applied. They also wrote that they would take the judgement into account in future decisions in the case. The Forest Group heard no more about the case and in September they asked the Swedish Forest Agency when they could expect a decision. The Forest Agency answered there was no specified date for the decision.

Recently, a member from Tjust’s Forest Group visited the forest. He discovered that Södra already had clear-cut it, without the slightest consideration for the willow tit or hazel grouse. 

The Forest Group writes that a reasonable analysis of what has happened is that the first logging notification was withdrawn due to the verdict. The verdict meant that no logging was permitted in the forest until the Swedish Forest Agency had made a new decision, therefore Södra sent in a new logging notification. Since 2022, the Forest Agency in Vimmerby has stopped making formal decisions about logging, so they took no action this time. Knowing this, Södra ignored the verdict from the Land and Environment Court and logged the forest.

Tjust’s Forest Group has written to the Land and Environmental Court asking if there is anything they can do so that this does not become a way of defying the law.

Read also: Repeated violations when Södra Skogsägarna carry out logging in Småland’s forests