A landmark case that could affect the fate of forests across Sweden reaches its final stage today in the supreme court.
Environmentalists have warned that a damaging precedent will be set if Finnish company Nordkalk is allowed to carry out large-scale limestone mining in an ancient, biodiverse habitat on the northern Swedish island of Gotland.
The planned limestone quarry would destroy part of Ojnare forest and neighbouring wetlands, a region that borders two protected areas and is so valuable that the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to turn it into a national park.
"We have species and habitats here that are not present anywhere else in Sweden, and in some cases not on the entire planet," says Nils Hallberg, a lawyer at the agency. Protected animals in the area include the large blue butterfly and Montagu's harrier, a bird of prey.
Environmental groups have appealed to the supreme court in a last-ditch attempt to halt ...