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Finnish old-growth forest being clearcut in Kainuu - forest activists in danger

the Finnish Nature League reports 24.9.2009

State-owned old-growth forest is being clear-cut by the Finnish state-owned forest company Metsähallitus. Eight activists have found themselves in life-threatening situations in the logging area.

During the past two days activists have protested in the field against the cuttings. The harvester has continued cutting, ignoring the presence of the activists and the safety regulations of Metsähallitus. "Directors of Metsähallitus have been informed about the situation but they still allow these irrational cuttings to continue", states the forest campaigner Risto Mustonen from the Finnish Nature League.

The valuable forest area called Helarasi is located in the Kainuu province of Eastern Finland. This 200-year-old forest situated between two conservation areas is home of the flying squirrel and several other red-listed species. In Finland, only some 4-5 % of the forests remain in their natural state. Half of this percentage still remains unprotected and is continuously threatened by logging.

"The level of wood consumption by the Finnish forest industry is record-breakingly low and production capacity is being cut permanently. In the present situation it doesn't make any sense to cut forest which remains in its natural state", states Mari Niemi, a board member of the Finnish Nature League.

The nature conservation organisations have demanded protection for these natural forest areas for many years. NGOs have now once again appealed to Metsähallitus to stop the loggings. They have also appealed to domestic customers to stop buying wood from these disputed forests.

Contacts and information

Mari Niemi, board member of the Finnish Nature League, tel. +358 50 3224363

Risto Mustonen, the forest campaigner of the Finnish Nature League, tel. +358 400 687856

Pictures from the cuttings 23.-24-9.09:

Pictures from Helarasi and other similar areas in the region:


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