The natural spruce forest which is planned to be clear-cut at Dikanäs. Photo: Jon Andersson.

Forests with very high conservation values above the mountain region are planned to be clear-cut in Dikanäs in the northern part of Vilhelmina municipality, Sweden. So far 20 red-listed species have been registered in a brief inventory of the threatened forests. There are small parts of primary forest and also an abundance of dead wood in the forests. Vilhelmina Övre Allmänningsskog is going to carry out the logging.

About 40 hectares of forest is planned for logging including a new road. The threatened area is located in a large and expansive forest landscape which is untouched by modern forestry. The organisation Protect the Forest has carried out an inventory of the 3 500 hectares of forest landscape during 2017 which resulted in 2 500 finds of 53 different red-listed species. In the forest planned for logging 20 red-listed species have been found. The rare fungus Rhodonia placenta (VU) is one of the finds, it has previously only been registered in five sites in the county of Västerbotten. The red-listed fungi Laurilia sulcata (VU) and Skeletocutis chrysella (VU) have also been found in the forest which is planned to be clear-cut.

"I think it is unacceptable to let the forest industry have access to an area like this. In Sweden the proportion of long-term protected forest is very small, only 5-6 per cent, and of the protected forest even less have high conservation values like the forests in the near mountain region. There is hardly any natural forest left of the forest which existed before the industrial logging started- and what is left is situated in the near mountain region forests," states Jon Andersson from Protect the Forest, who has done the field survey in Dikanäs.

The planned loggings (red lines) finds of red-listed species Vulnerable (red dots), Near Threatened species
(yellow dots) and the Swedish Forest Agency’s indicator species (blue dots). Photo/montage: Jon Andersson.

Vilhelmina Övre Allmänningsskog, which has planned to log the forest, has so far not taken any responsibility for the high conservation values in the area. The Swedish Forest Agency, which is the national authority in charge of forest-related issues and should also make sure that natural values are not damaged, have supported the planning of roads for forestry vehicles in the old-growth forests at Dikanäs.

The organisation Protect the Forest demands that the logging plans and the plans for new roads in the old-growth spruce forests are withdrawn. The organisation calls for that these forests should become part of the nature reserve of Marsfjället, south of the forest landscape. If logging is allowed in this kind of environment it proves that Sweden’s forestry policy with the constant principle” freedom under responsibility” leads to permanent damage of the biodiversity and serious obstruction in the work to reach international environmental goals.

"These forests must be withdrawn from clear-cutting if Sweden is to fulfill international commitments within the EU and the UN. When will Sweden start taking responsibility for the unique forest landscape which is in the mountain region? Time is ticking away and the clear-cuts are growing," says Jon Andersson.

The Swedish Forest Agency, which is a supervisory authority in this case, has pointed out in a message to Protect the Forest that the applications for logging affects forest in the near mountain region. This means that all the areas planned for logging will be visited in the field before a notification about permission to carry out logging will be announced to the landowner Vilhelmina Övre Allmänningsskog.

Read the letter/report from Protect the Forest to the Swedish Forest Agency, the County Administrative Board and Sweden Environmental Protection Agency (in Swedish). 

Read Protect the Forest’s report ”Forestry at the edge” (2018) about the investigated forests at Dikasnäs.

Jon Andersson, Protect the Forest,, +4673-037 52 74

The probable result after a logging at Dikasjön. Photo/montage: Jon Andersson.
 A fallen spruce with the redlisted fungi Fomitopsis rosea (the fungi is not visible in the picture). Photo: Björn Mildh

The state-owned and FSC-certified forest company Sveaskog is planning to clear-cut yet another forest with high conservation values above the mountain forest region in the county of Norrbotten, Sweden. The threatened 200-year old forest is a part of Maskaure Sami-village reindeer grazing land in Arjeplog’s municipality. Björn Mildh, member of The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), Leif Lundberg from Maskaure Sami village and Johanna Nilsson, member of SSNC in Luleå demand that Sveaskog withdraws their logging plans.

Here is the open letter to Sveaskog from Björn Mildh, Leif Lundberg and Johanna Nilsson translated:

”Dear Anette and Fredrik,
Sveaskog continues to plan logging of natural forests of woodland key habitat class in Maskaure Sami village’s reindeer grazing pastures in Arjeplog’s municipality.
One of these forests is on the northern slope of Makkavare, barely 1 kilometer west of the homestead of Aspberg. Co-ordinates (Sweref 99): N 7306015; E 633705.
The forest is about 200 years old, has trees of all sizes consisting mostly of mixed pine. It grows on a damp slope with groundwater near the surface. Spruce is dominating but there are also some deciduous trees, such as birch and sallow.

The forest is located just above the line for near-mountain forest and is completely surrounded by young forest. In the middle of the forest there is a mire with a small stream. There is plenty of course woody debris in the forest and the fungi Skeletocutis odora (VU) and Fomitopsis rosea (NT) are both noted. These are red-listed fungi which show that there is a long continuity of course woody debris.

In the forest there are capercallie (droppings and feathers found) and black woodpecker. There are plenty of dark hanging lichens on old spruce (reindeer grazing pasture).

The undergrowth has already been cleared in the forest. (This is done in order to make it easier for the forest machines to drive through). A transport road has been built near the forest. There is no doubt that Sveaskog is going to clear-cut this oldgrowth-like forest of woodland key habitat class. The company stops at nothing to fulfill its contract with the industry. Everything is being clear-cut.

On the land of Maskaure Sami village only old natural forests are being logged. Everything else has already been either clear-cut or turned into plantations. A plantation can never be a reindeer pasture again.

Woodland key habitats should be conserved and not clear-cut.

Reindeer grazing land should be left alone. The reindeer industry is classified as national interest in Sweden.

The rights of our indigenous peoples should be respected.

How many times has this have to be said to Sveaskog?

Is this the way to conduct FSC-certified forestry?

Do it again. Do it right.

Best regards,

Björn Mildh, member of The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)
Leif Lundberg, from Maskaure Sami village
Johanna Nilsson, member of SSNC in Luleå”

The old-growth spruce forest at Goussavare which is planned for felling by Sveaskog. Photo: Björn Mildh.

Representatives from the FSC certified and state-owned company Sveaskog have recently stated that the company will not log the old-growth forest at Guossavare in the municipality of Arjeplog in northern Sweden. However, the regional Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and Maskaure Sami village are sceptical and state that as long as the forest area is notified for felling, Sveaskog is not trustworthy.

Here is a new letter to Sveaskog from Björn Mildh and Johanna Nilsson from SSNC in Luleå and Leif Lundberg from Maskaure Sami village:

Dear Anette and Fredrik,

On request, representatives from Sveaskog have stated that the company will not log the forest on Guossavare.

However, we have long experience showing that no woodland key habitat or important reindeer grazing forest is safeguarded on Sveaskog's land. This also applies for Guossavare.

- The forest is still notified for final felling (just like at Strandberget, another high conservation value forest planned to be logged, coordinates, Sweref 99: N 7290865; E 717830).

- The marking of the transport road from the forest to the forest road is already done.

- The undergrowth has already been cleared in the forest. (This is done in order to make it easier for the forest machines to drive through).

- Sveaskog's map of nature conservation forests shows that the area that we documented in the photo album is not a conservation value forest, but instead a production forest. This is also evident from the coordinates in our letter to Sveaskog. If the company claims otherwise, you can visit the forest and check the coordinates where the photos are taken.

There is a nature conservation forest further to the northeast, but it is not included in the area we documented.

It is convenient for Sveaskog to make new classifications of nature conservation forests when it is appropriate for them. They can quickly change the status of the forest. There is no transparency, everything is managed internally, entirely. In addition, Sveaskog does not share its natural value assessments publicly on which the classifications are based. The natural forest at Lill-Skarja is a recent example.

For the company, words and actions are different things.

Sveaskog is not trustworthy.

Yours sincerely,

Björn Mildh, member of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation

Leif Lundberg, Maskaure Sami village

Johanna Nilsson, member of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation in Luleå

WeMove.EU: Romania is home to the largest remnant stands of virgin forest in Europe outside of Scandinavia. It is also home to Europe's largest and most healthy populations of bears, wolves and lynx. Yet, Romania's forests, including national parks and Natura 2000 sites, are under siege. Rather than being protected places of outstanding beauty and nature conservation, chainsaws and bulldozers are logging and destroying enormous tracts of virgin forests that have stood for thousands of years.

This is a tragedy of epic proportions. The scale of logging is much greater than what triggered an international outcry and a welcome intervention by the European Court of Justice in the Bialowieża forest in Poland.

This destruction is occurring at the same time that the Romanian government holds the EU presidency. It is happening before the eyes of the EU and with the full support of the Romanian government. Urgent intervention is necessary to uphold the rule of law and protect Romania's outstanding natural heritage.

Please sign the petition to help save Europe's last large virgin forests in Romania. The petition is run by EuroNatur Foundation and Agent Green.

Siberian jay. Photo: Erik Hansson

Swedish forests with Siberian jays can now be clear-cut, according to legal proceedings which give land-owners the right to log forests with Siberian jays. The landowners who have been enforcing the so called ”Siberian Jay-cases” in Sweden have been backed up by the Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF) and forestry companies. The decision is now criticized by the environmental NGO Protect the Forest.

In the judgement it says that ”the Siberian jay is a relatively common bird even in the concerned area and to prohibit logging is a great interference for the landowners”.
Elin Götmark, spokesperson in Protect the Forest, comments:
"The court has disregarded that it is the preservation of the Siberian jay which should determine the decision of the court. Even the precautionary principle must be weighed in, which hasn’t happened. The judgement leaves the question open about what kind of background material that is required to make an assessment about the protection of species. A feasible consequence of the court’s decision should have been to send the case back to the Swedish Forest Agency for further investigation instead of allowing the forest to be logged."
This article was first published in Swedish by Natursidan