OPEN LETTER: Protect all remaining high conservation value forests
Deadline for signing this open letter is the 14th of January 2018.

Dear Sveaskog, SCA and Stora Enso,

We are a group of travel and ecotourism companies, agencies and organisations. It is evident that the tourism industry contributes greatly to Sweden's economy, and studies show that nature experiences is one of the main reasons for travelers to choose to come to Sweden. Wild and beautiful nature is Sweden's main attraction. Companies like ours create fantastic nature experiences, and many of these experiences are highly dependent on non-exploited nature. There is an increasing demand to hike through rich old-growth forests, gaze at undisturbed views from silent mountain tops, and fish in free flowing rivers. We offer travelers from both Sweden and all over the world an opportunity to experience the fantastic Nordic nature. It is therefore with dismay that we see and understand that the major Swedish forest companies Sveaskog, Stora Enso and SCA harvest and plan to harvest high conservation value forests in Sweden.

It is not acceptable that high conservation value forests, which are vital to Sweden's tourism industry and constitute a unique part of the last wilderness in Europe, are being felled by these companies. It takes hundreds of years before these forests are as wild again. You are FSC-certified and claim to have high environmental standards, but it is clear that your methods are not only degrading biodiversity and natural environments, but it also makes it more and more difficult to find forests worth walking through for our guests.

We therefore demand the following:

1) Immediately withdraw your logging plans in all high conservation value forests.*

2) Exempt all high conservation value forests (core areas including registered and unregistered woodland key habitats) from forestry and protect them permanently.

3) Forests in High Value Forest Landscapes and “continuity forests” as well as forests with unknown biological values must be visited in the field and inventoried prior to any kind of planned forestry operation and if high conservation values are discovered, these areas should be exempt from forestry.

We cannot stress enough how much we value wild and intact high conservation value forest landscapes. Not just for biodiversity but also for Sweden's economy.

Yours sincerely,


--
*Below are a few examples of many unprotected valuable natural forest areas which are planned to be felled by FSC-certified forest companies..

The state-owned forest company Sveaskog has over the last 4 years clear-cut hundreds of hectares of high conservation value forests in the large valuable Ore Forest Landscape in the county of Dalarna in Sweden. Many more valuable forest areas are planned to be felled by Sveaskog:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZX7Sh74Rc4Z44RTLCJoaSZqPTwOzeHLP/view

Recently, Sveaskog clear-cut 40 hectares of an acknowledged high conservation value forest in Brännvinsberget in ‘Ore Forest Landscape’ where 40 different red-listed and indicator species had previously been found:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/121UkqtJ_gBATdnc9LDO__3Gpwgj_B6G4/view?usp=sharing

Moreover, Sveaskog plans to fell a high conservation value forest in Melakträskliden in the municipality of Arvidsjaur in north of Sweden. See photos of the forest here:

http://www.norrbotten.snf.se/wordpress/sveaskog-vill-avverka-skog-av-nyckelbiotopsklass/

Sveaskog also plans to clear-cut biologically valuable forest at Brännliden in the municipality of Arvidsjaur which is surrounded by clear-cuts and plantations. See photos of the forest in Brännliden here:

http://www.norrbotten.snf.se/wordpress/brannliden/

Furthermore, the unprotected and biologically valuable 1,300 hectare forest landscape with a mosaic of older natural pine and spruce forests in Rävdalen in the municipality of Gällivare in the north of Sweden, where 80 different red-listed species have been found, is in risk of being fragmented by Sveaskog. Local villagers have been struggling to protect the area over the last 2 years. The County Administration Board is planning to do inventories in the area next year since the area is of possible interest of a nature reserve establishment. However, Sveaskog plans to harvest socially valuable forests within the area already this year.

Swedish-Finnish forest company Stora Enso is planning to clear-cut high conservation value subalpine forest on a private owner’s land which is not FSC-certified, south of the lake Messlingen in the county of Härjedalen in Mid-Sweden where a total of 37 different red-listed and indicator species have been found. See photos from the forest here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TkDEyaqweEHoyr-7mLKdajFuKElrMfiJ/view

Due to protests from environmental NGOs, Stora Enso has decided to reevaluate the future management of the forest area planned to be clear-cut at Messlingen. It will not conduct any logging until the reevaluation is completed.

Swedish forest company SCA and three of its external suppliers felled over 23,000 hectares of forest within high value forest landscapes between 2012-2017, while another 22,000 hectares are still threatened by felling:

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/publications/forests/2017/GP_Essity_forests_report.pdf?utm_campaign=Press%20Release&utm_source=Link&utm_medium=AMS

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