A forest in Maskaure Sami village which Sveaskog is intending to clear-cut. Photo: Björn Mildh.

The state-owned forestry company Sveaskog is planning to log 32 forests, 400 hectares in total, in the grazing pastures of Maskaure Sami village in Arjeplog municipality, Sweden. Sveaskog has already sold over 9,000 hectares of forest within the Sami village’s reindeer grazing area without consulting the villagers. The Sami have protested against the land being sold and the forests being logged but Sveaskog continues in the same way, according to Leif Lundberg from Maskaure Sami village, Marcus Lidström, Björn Mildh and Johanna Nilsson, members of The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. Here is the letter they have sent to Sveaskog:

Dear Eva, Viveka and Sveaskog’s management,

In a reply dated the 4 th of March, Sveaskog states that 9,720 hectares of forest land within Maskaure Sami village’s reindeer grazing pastures have already been sold.

All the forests have been sold without any consultation with the Sami village. The Sami have tried to find information about it on Sveaskog’s web site. And so, it continues. Recently Sveaskog put out five new forest properties for sale within the village’s reindeer grazing lands, completely above the heads of the Sami people.

- Arjeplog Harrejaurevägen, Arjeplogs Skolbord 1:2. 330 hectares
- Arjeplog Bellonäs, Arjeplogs Skolbord 1:2. 440 hectares
- Arjeplog Nyliden, Arjeplogs Skolbord 1:2. 195 hectares
- Arjeplog Uljabuoda, Arjeplogs Skolbord 1:2. 320 hectares
- Arjeplog Rebakk, Arjeplogs Skolbord 1:2, area of 551 hectares

Totally 1,836 hectares! In addition to the 9,720 hectares which Sveaskog already has sold.

We would like to give renewed attention to Sveaskog’s planned consultation with Maskaure Sami village about the loggings. This time the forest company will log 32 forests (including a road). In total almost 400 hectares, all of which are natural forests!

Here are some of the 32 natural forests which Sveaskog are planning to log in Maskaure.

The Sami village has already said no to logging several of these forests but Sveaskog disregards their answer.
The reindeer industry is classified as national interest in Sweden.

- The lichens on the ground which the reindeer graze have declined with 70% since the 1950’s. A consequence caused by clear-cuts and soil scarification (see The Swedish Forest Agency about: Forestry and Reindeer Industry).

- Most of the forests with hanging lichens have already been clear-cut. Only small “tufts” remain, which still are important for the survival of several of the village’s reindeer, especially this winter with deep snow hiding the ground lichens which are beyond reach.

- 9,720 hectares of forest land within the village’s reindeer grazing area has already been sold without a single consultation in beforehand. Sveaskog also knows that the forest which is sold often will be clear-cut and prepared for plantations, which is the worst alternative for reindeer grazing pastures.

- The state has acknowledged the Sami as an indigenous people (according to the constitutional law 1977, at a late stage) but still refuses to give them the rights of indigenous people (according to the UN convention ILO 169).

So, the loggings still continue.

The consultations that take place are on the conditions of Sveaskog. This is what a Sami who is involved says:

”There is blackmail going on all the time. The Sami have to make consistent concessions just so that the absolutely most important forests will remain. Making concessions are their only way out to be able to continue with their sustenance.”

Dear Eva, Viveka and others in Sveaskog’s management.

It is not possible to conduct reindeer industry without grazing pastures.
Now Sveaskog is planning to sell yet 1,836 hectares of woodland and by this year’s consultation also clear-cut about 400 hectares within Maskaure Sami village’s area (32 natural forests). Pastures and natural forests are decreasing year after year.
Sveaskog is taking advantage of- and “punishing” the village because in 2019 the Sami protested against the company’s 17 planned loggings and protested against land being sold.

Sveaskog is setting an example of what happens to a Sami village if they dare to stand up against them, as a warning to other Sami villages.
Again, power shows its face in the history of the Sami,

Regards,

Leif Lundberg, Maskaure Sami village
Johanna Nilsson, member of The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation in Luleå
Björn Mildh, member of The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation
Marcus Lidström, Chairman of The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation in Norrbotten

Contact:

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

+46 (0)73 840 27 89, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.