Greenpeace Press Release January 27, 2009

Old Growth Forest Logging Resumed Once Again in Lapland

Finnish State Forest Enterprise Metsähallitus has once again started controversial old-growth forest logging in the forests of Finnish Lapland. Metsähallitus has recently logged old-growth forests in three areas of intact old-growth forest.

- Considering the recent collapse of the demand for timber in Finland, it is difficult to understand why these irreplaceable forests have to be destroyed now. Why is the state logging some of the only remaining old-growth forest areas in Europe? says Sini Harkki, forest campaigner for Greenpeace.

International customers of the Finnish forest industry have been interested in the sustainability of Finnish forestry for years. Paper companies StoraEnso, Metsäliitto and UPM have a policy to avoid buying from controversial logging operations in the Homeland of the indigenous Saami people. In other parts of Lapland they still buy timber from old-growth forests. (1)

Finnish environmental organizations have identified hundreds of occurrences of threatened species in the forest areas being logged. They represent rare remnants of European natural old-growth forest with ancient trees and a diversity of species that no longer survive in managed forests. (2) Two of the areas now logged are also included in the global Greenpeace mapping of the most significant Intact Forest Landscapes on Earth.

Parts of the threatened forests have also been classified by the logger Metsähallitus as 'in natural state'. (3) However, Metsähallitus does not consider this as a special value that should be protected. Less than five percent of Finnish forests remain in natural state.

Greenpeace has contacted the probable buyers of the pulp wood, paper companies StoraEnso and Metsäliitto, who have both stated they see no reason to avoid buying old-growth forest timber from the operations in question. Greenpeace met StoraEnso yesterday to give them a piece of 300-year old pine from the pulp wood pile and demanded the company to stop using ancient forests in their mills.

For more information, please contact:
Sini Harkki, forest campaigner, Greenpeace
+358 50 582 1107 sini.harkki [at]

More information on the forest areas
Photos from the logging operations

NOTES: (1) Metsähallitus is also planning two new logging operations in the Saami Homeland Area this winter. The local Saami reindeer herding co-operatives opposing the plans have approached the relevant ministries and media with a demand to stop the logging that threatens their right to practice traditional reindeer herding.

(2) The old-growth forests being logged in Lapland have been mapped and demarcated by NGOs Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, Nature League and Greenpeace.

(3) Documentation of the logging in the municipality of Savukoski shows pines of 300-400 years of age piled up to be taken to a pulp mill.