Press release 22.2.2007
Greenpeace and Finnish Nature League
New species discovered in Finnish from old-growth forests -environmental NGOs remind on the urgent need for protection of forests with high conservation values
In the recent research carried out by environmental NGOs, it has been found out that Finnish governmental forestry enterprise Metsahallitus is logging in many forest areas of extremely high conservation values.
Metsahallitus has continued logging despite of recent appeal by Finnish researchers. 77 top researchers appealed on 7th February to the minister of Forestry to stop logging in natural forests in North of Finland and to supplement the protection network also in Southern Finland (1).
In the press event held by Greenpeace and Finnish Nature League today in Helsinki, information on new species discovered from Finnish old-growth forests was released. Two new fungi-species has recently been defined in the Botanical Museum of Helsinki University. The species were found from three different threatened old-growth forest areas in Eastern and Northern Finland last year. The areas where new species were found are under threat of logging by Metsähallitus. The areas are Pahamaailma in Suomussalmi, Raitionjänkä in Sodankylä and Mukkajoenrovat in Jooseppitunturi in Savukoski (2).
-New species are not only found from tropical forests. The fact that new species are discovered also from Finland is evidence of the importance of natural forests for protection of biodiversity, said researcher mr. Otto Miettinen. -The findings prove that irreplaceable ecological values may be lost when Finnish old-growth forests are logged.
Governmental Metsähallitus and its customer, forestry giant Stora Enso have recently told their customers in Europe that logging in old-growth "will not have an effect on the survival of the Finnish populations of any threatened mammal, bird or plant species."
77 Finnish top researchers appealed to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture on 7th February to stop logging in remaining natural forests. The researchers are asking halt for logging in natural forests in Forest Lapland and for supplementrary protection in Southern Finland. The researcher´s open letter, published in the web site of Helsinki University, states that "…logging of natural forests causes irreversible change of habitat, and destroys an important part of our national heritage as well as genetic and species diversity."
Metsähallitus is currently logging in many areas crucial for protection of biodiversity. In Southern Finland Metsähallitus plans to clearcut the last habitats of threatened bird species Siberian Jay in the region of Pirkanmaa. In Central Finland logging has been recently carried out in Kivimäensalo area, which has more habitats of red-listed species than many of the best national parks. In the northeastern region of Kainuu, logging in habitats of threatened species has been carried out and planned in an old-growth forest of Pahamaailma. In the Forest Lapland, logging is going on in the intact forest landscapes of Pokka-Pulju in the municipality of Kittilä.
For more information, please contact:
campaigner Matti Liimatainen, Greenpeace, +358 400 346 329 matti.liimatainen[at]nordic.greenpeace.org
1) The translation of researchers letter is at http://www.forestinfo.fi/forestlapland/researchersletter.htm
2) Another species is already described and has a name: Syzygospora lapponica. The other species is an agaricoid fungus, a mushroom, that belongs to the genus Rhodocollybia. It has not yet been formally described as a new species to science but the work is ongoing.
3) All these three areas belong to the old-growth forest areas mapped in 2003 by Greenpeace and Finnish NGO Finnish Association for Nature Conservation. Despite of their ecological values, they were not protected in the so-called dialogue-process between Metsahallitus and Finnish NGOs. Jooseppitunturi also belongs to the areas described in a recent report "Threatened large intact old-growth forests in Forest Lapland"- report by Finnish NGOs.
Wood from clearcutting in threatened species habitats in Pahamaailma has been used in the Stora Enso Oulu mill. For more information on Pahamaailma-area, see http://www.pefcwatch.org/pahamaailma/
Wood from Jooseppitunturi has been transported to Stora Enso Kemijärvi mill. For more information on Jooseppitunturi, see http://www.forestinfo.fi/forestlapland/jooseppitunturi/index.html and http://www.forestinfo.fi/forestlapland/storaenso.html