2012 / 12 / 10

Environmental organizations of Russia and Sweden demanded IKEA to stop the destruction of valuable forests in Karelia.

The IKEA group and Swedish concern which is part of the group must stop cutting down valuable forests of Karelia, as well as, stop buying timber from such forests and planned Protected Areas of the republic. This is said in the joint statement of the Swedish environmental organization “Protect the Forest!” of the Swedish department of the international branch of the organization “Friends of the Earth”, Greenpeace Russia and Karelian environmental organization SPOK as a result of the meeting with the managers of IKEA, which was held on the 7th of December in Stockholm.

As was noted in the meeting, the subsidiary firm of Swedwood concern – LLC Swedwood Karelia – carried out felling and acquisition of timber from the forests that were identified as old-growth forest areas during an analysis of representativeness of the Protected Area network of the Protected Areas of Arkhangelsk, Vologda, Leningrad and Murmansk regions, Karelia and Sankt Petersburg (GAP analysis), carried out by the governmental institutions, scientists and NGOs of Russia and Finland.

“The destruction of old-growth forests is one of the main reasons for biodiversity loss in the world and threatens vital ecological functions of the forest, which, inter alia, provides people with food, clean water, air and regulates the climate. Old-growth forests provide habitat for a wide variety of sensitive and threatened species that cannot survive in heavily used forests. The use of timber from virgin and old-growth forests is by definition not sustainable. This type of forest use is synonymous to mining for fossil fuels, as felling of old-growth forests virtually signifies the use of irreplaceable biological resources”, – as was said in the statement by the environmental organizations of Sweden and Russia.

Environmentalists demanded that the management of IKEA presents detailed maps of forests of high conservation value, which are in the lease of LLC Swedwood Karelia, as well as, begins negotiations concerning the conservation of these forests with interested parties, including the republican government, by the 1st of April 2013. Additionally, ecologists demanded that IKEA and Swedwood make a public statement about supporting the planned system of special Protected areas of Karelia and adopt an effective plan regarding the movement of the logging territories from old-growth forests and areas of high conservation value into secondary forests.

“In our opinion, one of the serious problems in solving the conflict between conservationists and forest users, remains the attitude of the Karelian government in the questions of forest management. The government still does not agree with the notion that the available forest resources of the region are mostly exhausted and in order to exit the crisis, it is necessary to transfer the forest use into secondary forests, that have already experienced felling. Simultaneously, the ministry of forest use and ecology in Karelia systematically raises the question of allowing cuttings in planned Protected Areas and sees therein the solution to the problem of providing enterprises with raw material. Unfortunately, as we witness, this leads only to an escalation of forest conflicts. In any case, loggers cannot cut down the remaining valuable forests, and there is no support from the government to intensify the forest use in secondary forests” – said the head of SPOK Aleksander Markovsky, who participated in the negotiations with the managers of IKEA in Stockholm.

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