Forest conservation activists return to Lapland logging site

Data has been showing that the land use sector in Finland is now a source of greenhouse gas emissions rather than a sink. (Pasi Peiponen/ Yle)

Some ten activists belonging to the same group, the Forest Movement, were detained by police last week.

Some 10 activists from the Forest Movement (Metsäliike in Finnish), a forest conservation group that includes activists from Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion and the Finnish Nature League, have returned to the Aalistunturi fell to block logging in the area.

Aalistunturi is a 372-metre-high hill in western Lapland, located in the southern part of Kolari, in Finnish Lapland.

Police had previously broken up a demonstration and detained 10 activists from the same group protesting in the area on Tuesday. Upon being released, the activists attempted to go back to the site during the weekend but were prevented from doing so by police.

The activists said that they had successfully returned to the logging site on Monday morning despite attempts by forestry management firm Metsähallitus to block access.

Activist Ida Korhonen told Yle that Metsähallitus had closed the Laukkujärvntie road leading to the site on both sides, but the protesters managed to reach the location via skis.

“We skied to the site and will remain here until Metsähallitus gives up logging in the proposed National Park area of Aalistunturi,” the activist said.

The group has demanded that Metsähallitus suspend all logging activities in the area while the proposal of designating Aalistunturi as a protected area is under review.

Poor forest managment causing concern

In line with UN Climate Convention goals, Finland has committed to protecting some 30 percent of its land area as well as halting the loss of biodiversity and turning the trend towards recovery by 2035.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s (SDP) government has also pledged that Finland will achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.

These targets are however slipping away as Finnish land, which is largely covered by forest, has turned into a source of carbon emissions rather than a carbon sink due to increased logging and slower tree growth.

Data released by both Statistics Finland and the Natural Resources Institute in December have backed up this trend.

Finland’s failure to meet the net carbon sink target set by the EU could see the Nordic nation facing a compensation bill running into billions of euros, according to a report published in December by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Climate change affecting composition of forests in Yukon, Canada, study finds

Finland: Climate change casts doubt on future of Finland’s forest industry, Yle News

Sweden: Sweden to support forest industry following historic summer wildfires, Radio Sweden

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