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Protect EU's natural heritage in the North!

Scientists and NGO:s - Join us in our campaign to

protect the forest for future generations


Climate change and
loss of biodiversity

Human induced climate change, loss of biodiversity and weakened ecosystems are now threatening the foundations of our civilizations. Policy decisions made in the next few years will be critical. Halting the destruction and fragmentation of forest ecosystems as well as restoring and protecting the world's forests is fundamental; not in the least to strengthen the resilience of the ecosystems during a period when the climate gets increasingly extreme. In a time when reduction of emissions and safeguarding every possible carbon sink and carbon storage is critical, the Swedish forestry continuously moves large amounts of carbon out of the forests and into the atmosphere: Prevailing logging methods cause large greenhouse gas emissions.

Photo: Björn Olin

The forest heritage
in the North!

Sweden harbors an important part of the EU's natural heritage. The Swedish forest landscape is diverse and contains several areas of habitat types protected under the Habitats Directive, many of which are still unprotected, from the Western taiga with primary- and old-growth forests and naturally regenerated continuity forests, to the Fennoscandian hemiboreal natural old broad-leaved deciduous- and beech forests. The Scandinavian Mountains Green Belt, largely situated within the borders of Sweden, is a unique natural heritage from a European as well as international perspective. The unprotected forests with high conservation values in Sweden are critical to maintain biodiversity, protect ecosystem functions and contribute to climate change mitigation.


Sweden's government cuts down the forest protection.

Despite the dire situation for the forest, the Swedish government that was installed last year, sharply reduced the budget for protection of nature with high conservation values as well as dismantled many climate initiatives. During the first half of 2023 Sweden holds the EU presidency. Meanwhile, lobbying from the Swedish forest industry and the government is aggressive and scientists now warn that “Sweden threatens European biodiversity” as they threaten to weaken or stop important legislative initiatives at the EU level. It is clear that Sweden is fighting to defend “The Swedish Forestry Model”, with clear-cuts as the predominant method. This raises concerns that the urgent needs for tackling the nature crisis in general, and specifically forest ecosystem, will not be adequately addressed.

Photo: Viktor Säfve


Photo: Jon Andersson

The urgency of the situation should not be underestimated. With today's rapid logging rate, scenarios and estimates made by researchers, authorities and experts indicate that most of the remaining continuity forests and conservation values forests, outside nature conservation areas, will be lost within approximately one to a few decades.


We need healthy ecosystems to safeguard the fundamental conditions of our societies. We must preserve what's left and restore what's damaged. 

If you are a scientist in the relevant field (Biology, forestry, forest ecology, climate, etc.), or an NGO - Join us in our campaign to Protect the Forest.

This call is directed to the government and parliament of Sweden. It is also an appeal for the EU-commission to withstand the pressure from Sweden and continue the processes of forming progressive legislation and strategies that aims to combat the nature and climate crises and strengthen forest ecosystems.

Join us in our campaign

Photo: Björn Olin

The appeal

Protect EU's natural heritage

in the North!


Our demands to Sweden are:


Implement an immediate logging moratorium in all forests with identified conservation values. These include (1) old-growth and primary forests and verified continuity forests (2) woodland key habitats and other forests with documented high conservation values (designated in municipal plans, via SIS-standard, or similar), (3) areas classified by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) as core areas which are of great importance for plants and animals, (4) pendulous lichen-rich forest important for the Sámi community, and (5) all unprotected forest habitat types protected under the Habitats Directive. These five categories may in many cases overlap. Even though there is a lack of comprehensive data on all existing areas with high conservation value, the moratorium can be implemented immediately for the known areas using today's knowledge. A moratorium would secure all known conservation value forest until strict protection is in place.


Protect and restore forests in line with EU species and habitats directives, biodiversity- and forest strategy and the CBD-framework by 2030. In line with the EU biodiversity strategy, EU directives and international agreements, at least 30 percent of the productive forest land should be protected, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services. They need to be ecologically representative, well-connected, and equitably governed systems of protected areas. Today, only about 6 percent of the Swedish productive forest has long-term, quality assured and transparent protection; however, the productive forest land hosts the most diverse nature types and provides habitats for the majority of the red listed forest species. The target must be achieved by 2030 and be well-distributed across the different forest regions. To achieve a functional protection of 30 percent, significant restoration efforts are required for large areas. - All forests with identified conservation values must be protected. The protection needs to be transparent, long-term, and based on the preservation of large, coherent forests of high quality. Protected areas should include all remaining primary and old-growth forests and all other forests with conservation values. - Also, all forests mapped with remote sensing as potential continuity forest or forest with conservation values ​​must be mapped in the field by SEPA. Where the field surveys confirm conservation or restoration values the area should be protected from logging. - Sweden's state-owned forest should be used as one of several tools to meet the target of protection. - In addition to protection, to enhance biodiversity, ecosystem functions and services, ecological integrity, and connectivity in the forest landscape, there are major restoration needs. Efforts should be made to target degraded forests and those forest types which have the highest need for restoration. Successful restoration efforts would result in an increase of the protected areas.


Protect the Scandinavian Mountains Green Belt. The belt of subalpine and montane forest with conservation values along the Swedish mountains must be preserved in its entirety. This is one of the few remaining large European intact forest landscapes and a unique opportunity to protect entire resilient ecosystems at landscape level. It is a key tool for retaining boreal biodiversity, ecological legacies, ecosystem services, adaptive capacity and resilience, which need to be safeguarded for the future.


Transform forestry to a close-to-nature management model. Forestry needs to transform from today's dominating methods with clear-cutting and tree plantations, to a close-to-nature forest management. The transition must start immediately, with clear, time-bound targets, knowledge-sharing hubs and capacity building, and economic incentives for landowners. A close-to-nature forest management seeks to work with and protect the natural processes; promoting a self-organized ecosystem that fosters heterogeneity, biodiversity, resilience and adaptive capacity. It will improve the ability for forestry to preserve biodiversity, maintain and restore resilient forests, adapt to climate change and continue to deliver various ecosystem services well within the planetary boundaries. A shift to close-to-nature forestry is well in line with both the EU forest strategy and the proposed EU nature restoration law. Introducing close-to-nature forest management does not reduce the current need for forest protection. No forestry, regardless of forestry method, should therefore be carried out in conservation value forests that need urgent protection.


Constrain wood use within planetary boundaries. In the current environmental crisis, the government needs to ensure that consumption and production of biomass are constrained by planetary boundaries. About 80 % of Sweden´s harvested biomass is used for short-lived products such as bioenergy, cardboard and paper. In addition, paper and pulp products are very energy-intensive to make: the forest industry is responsible for almost half of Sweden´s industrial energy use. Already, the demand for wood products far exceeds supply and the need to constrain and for prioritization is urgent. It is important to be explicit on how wood products are promoted through policy: Long-lived products must be prioritized before short-lived and disposable. Short-lived products and bioenergy from forest biomass must not be subsidized. The circularity of wood products, incentivizing re-use, and recycling need to increase drastically. The production needs to be energy efficient. To properly achieve a circular economy Sweden needs to implement the cascading principle, as pointed out in the EU Forest Strategy.

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Photo: Stig Björk

Sign the appeal

These strong organizations stand united for our forest.
We organizations represent our many committed members and supporters!

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