2012 / 06 / 13

ROO SPOK Presents Documentary Film on Scandinavian Forest Use.

On December 13, in Petrozavodsk, the Karelia Regional Nature Conservancy SPOK presented the documentary, Intensive Forest Use in Scandinavia, which was filmed by its staff during an expedition to the forests of northern Sweden and Finland. According to ROO SPOK’s director, Alexander Markovsky, the film considers the “other side of the coin” vis à vis the massive PR campaign launched by Finnish and Swedish timber merchants to expand their forest-use model into Russia. “We decided to travel through the forests of Finland and Sweden to see for ourselves how this model was organized and operated and to examine its economic and environmental impact,” Markovsky said.

The SPOK director noted that there is the widespread notion in Russia that conservation laws are observed and valuable natural areas are preserved under highly effective forest use in Scandinavia. However, seeing the Finnish and Swedish forests with their own eyes left the Karelian ecologists in shock. According to the testimony of the Scandinavian experts who took part in the film, more than one-third of the logging taking place in Sweden is in violation of current conservation laws, which are weak enough as it is. There are practically no protected zones around reservoirs in the Swedish forests, and intensive cutting already has led to mercury from the surface soil level getting into river waters. As a result, pregnant women have been advised not to use local fish in preparing their food. In many Swedish rivers, lime towers have been erected to help restore normal acidity to the water.

Markovsky stated that both northwest Russia and the country as a whole have been impacted by the exhaustion of available forest reserves, and the need to change current forest-use practices has been brought to the attention of the government, business, and society. However, when creating a new model for forestry and logging, it’s necessary to consider not only the positive, but also the negative experiences of neighboring countries in order to avoid repeating their mistakes. During the discussion following the film, Alexander Tsypuk, a professor at Petrozavodsk State University, said the work of ROO SPOK is the first step toward making the Russian government, science, and society think about what we are doing to the forests. “Previously, we took only timber from the forest, but now we take everything—the remnants from logging, the stumps, and the topsoil—thus destroying the habitat in which the forest grows. We aren’t giving it a chance to survive,” the noted Karelian scientist said.

Intensive Forest Use in Scandinavia is the second film by the Karelian NGO. At the beginning of 2011, ROO SPOK released the documentary film The Disappearing Taiga, which won the EcoWorld National Environmental Award.

You can view The Disappearing Taiga on ROO SPOK’s website: http://spok-karelia.ru/2011/12/news/2512/#more-2512

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