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Biodiversity Hunters of Sweden

Erik Hoffner | Sweden

Late day light reveals the aftermath of an aggressive clear-cut in what was formerly a biodiverse forest in Sweden. This biological survey team volunteer was sobered by the scene.

A biodiversity crisis is looming in Sweden. The country is one of the largest in Europe and is thickly forested, harboring an important slice of the continent's biodiversity, yet the trees are valuable to industry in this resource-scarce country. Logging is conducted by enormous corporate logging companies, and it is aggressive, with ecologically destructive clear-cuts the norm. In recent years loggers have moved into the oldest forests of all which harbor a growing list of threatened and endangered species, over 2,100 at last count. It’s ironic behavior in this, the ‘greenest country in the world.’

In response a corps of activists has trained itself to identify rare species, especially fungi and lichens, that frequent the richest areas. Proof of these creatures' presence is used to protect special forests, but the work is demanding. Each summer, a group of citizen scientists surveys threatened old growth forests from dawn to dusk, hiking many miles and turning over every dead tree in sight while looking for the rarest specimens.

Companion investigative report filed for Yale Environment 360: "Sweden’s Green Veneer Hides Unsustainable Logging Practices."

Protect the Forest, http://skyddaskogen.se/

Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, http://naturskyddsforeningen.se/

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