The last unprotected intact forest landscapes in Northern Finland are currently being destroyed by the Finnish government and timber industry. Low-productive old-growth boreal forests located hundreds of kilometres north from the Polar Circle are being logged systematically. Trees more than 300 years old are mainly ending up in pulp wood piles of timber giant Stora Enso. Only less than 5% of Finnish forests have remained untouched by modern forestry.
The Finnish old-growth forest destruction today is totally unnecessary. Finland is a rich industrialized country with no economical need for logging the remains of its old-growth forests. Logging in old-growth forests is being carried out simply because government’s logging body Metsähallitus and forest industry have decided to wipe them out for short-term profit. Shockingly, these old-growth forest areas are providing less that 0.1% of the industry's wood supply.
Many of the areas being logged are over 50 000 hectares in size and are of global significance. In May 2006, Finnish NGOs published a report identifying the eight largest unprotected old-growth forest areas in Northern Finland's Forest Lapland region. NGOs, supported by over 250 leading Finnish scientists and researchers, urged protection of these last remnant old-growth forests. However, since December 2006, Finnish government has been logging these forests. Four out of five of Finland's largest intact forest landscapes are now being deliberately fragmented! Hundreds of habitats for red-listed species are to be destroyed.
Finnish pulp and paper giant Stora Enso buys most of the wood. While buying wood from intact forest landscapes and from habitats of threatened species, Stora Enso claims in its propaganda to be “committed into sustainability”. The logging is "certified" by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), purposefully misleading and completely confusing consumers regarding the environmental sustainability of first time logging of ancient forests.
This winter, Metsähallitus logging activities are more systematic and widespread than before. Logging is going on in four of the areas, and there are also plans for the remaining ones. Metsähallitus even attempts to justify their current logging by claiming these forests are not ecologically valuable, but have not presented any evidence to back up this claim. This senseless, destructive logging is trashing Finland’s reputation in environmental policy and is making the European Union's (EU) efforts in global forest protection seem ridiculous.
Finland has, as an EU member, committed to halting the loss of biodiversity by year 2010. In addition, Finland has committed to the Convention on Biological Diversity forest programme, which recommends that all countries take action to protect all remaining, large natural state forest areas by 2010. Logging large intact old-growth forest landscapes instead of protecting is clearly in conflict with Finland’s commitments.
Please, help Finnish NGOs to save Finland’s natural treasures and to put international pressure on their destructive forest industry. This is the latest protest in Ecological Internet's global campaign to protect all remaining old growth forests, and promote regeneration and restoration of secondary forests to late successional old-growth status. Increasing old forest cover globally is critical for achieving global ecological sustainability -- including climate, water and biodiversity.
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