Parts of the last intact wilderness area of north-west Europe stretches along the Swedish mountain chain. These large forests have still not been affected by the modern clear-cut forestry. The montane forest in Sweden has unique natural values. Most of the country’s natural forests have been replaced by the industrialized forestry’s biologically impoverished plantations. The Swedish natural heritage is threatened as clear-cut forestry conducted by forest companies continues to expand into these areas.

At the moment, one of the last unprotected old-growth forest areas in Sweden, situated on the border to the montane region in the municipality of Jokkmokk, is being documented. The documentation of Karats Råvvåive Wilderness Area is conducted by several Swedish environmental organizations with the aim to highlight the urgent threat to the area.

Karats Råvvåive Wilderness Area covers more than ten thousand hectares of unprotected nature. Karats Råvvåive is to a large extent located where there are no roads and the area borders in the west and east to existing protected areas. A large number of threatened species exist in the area.

”We have done field inventories in the area since 2008 and been in continuous contact with the Swedish state, highlighting the natural values of the area,” said Linda Ellegaard Nordström, Protect the Forest. “Since the Swedish government has reduced the funding for forest protection, the regional authorities have not been able to protect Karats Råvvåive formally.”

By the end of October 2009 the forest company SCA logged about 50 hectares of old-growth forest in the southern part of Karats Råvvåive Wilderness Area. SCA purchased logging rights of the private landowner and felled the forest, even though SCA had been informed about the endangered species living in the forest. At the moment, at least another 100 hectares is urgently threatened by logging.

“So far, over 1000 findings of over 50 different red-listed species have been made in the area,” said Daniel Rutschman, Secretary, Protect the Forest. “It is outrageous that the state does not protect this valuable natural heritage. Each year, more and more of the area disappears. It is time for the state to take its responsibility.”

The inventories are conducted by Nature and Youth in Sweden, Protect the Forest and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation in Jokkmokk.

For more information, please contact:

Linda Ellegaard Nordström, Protect the Forest, +46 70 25 41 148
linda.ellegaard.nordstrom@gmail.com
Daniel Rutschman, Secretary, Protect the Forest, +46 76 11 28 826
daniel.rutschman@skyddaskogen.se

Photographs from Karats Råvvåive wilderness area:

Image 1: Forest activists taking a rest on the fallen trunk a fivehundered
old pine in Karats Råvvåive.
Photo: Daniel Rutschman
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Image 2: Ancient pine in the Karats Råvvåive wilderness.
Photo: Linda Ellegaard Nordström
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Image 3: Old-growth forest with
endangered species logged in 2009 by
multinational pulp company SCA.
Photo: Daniel Rutschman
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