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 a valuable resource in this otherwise resource-scarce country. Logging, conducted largely by enormous corporate logging companies, is aggressive; clear-cuts are the norm. And in recent years, they 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 for this, the ‘greenest country in the world.’
To keep the most important areas safe from the saw, a corps of activists has trained itself to identify rare species, especially fungi and lichens, that frequent these high conservation value, old-growth forests. Proof of their tiny presence (requiring the constant use of magnifying lenses) can be used to protect special tracts, but the work is demanding. Over the course of a summer month, a rotating group of volunteer scientists will survey dozens of hectares daily, hiking many miles and turning over every dead tree in sight.
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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/
erik.hoffner @ gmail.com