Activists halt logging again at Lapland site in Arctic Finland

Four demonstrators stand on a snowy forest road, blocking the passage of a log truck behind them. This photo was taken at a previous protest in Aalistunturi. (Raimo Torikka / Yle)

A group of protesters disrupted logging operations at Aalistunturi in Kolari, Finland, on Sunday.

According to the Forest Movement (Metsäliike in Finnish), five activists from the group are preventing logging on lands administered by the state-owned forest management organisation Metsähallitus. This marks the fourth time the logging has been disrupted.

Anni Manninen, a representative of the Forest Movement, said she had been in contact with the protesters on site, adding that neither the police nor representatives from Metsähallitus had visited the site on Sunday.

The Forest Movement — which includes activists from Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion and the Finnish Nature League — planned to spend Sunday night at the site.

Samuli Myllymäki, the regional manager for Metsähallitus, was informed of the situation by forest machine operators.

“[On Sunday afternoon], we received information from the site that outsiders had arrived again. The individuals had entered the restricted area around the logging equipment,” Myllymäki said.

Disruptions result in loss of some 15,000 euros

The forest machine operators had been instructed to halt their work if anyone entered the restricted area around their machines. Myllymäki says that each day of disrupted logging results in a loss of some 15,000 euros.

Myllymäki said that Metsähallitus’ goal is to resume logging as quickly as possible. The logging operations are currently halfway completed and Metsähallitus aims to finish them by the end of February or early March.

“I hope for peace on the site so that we can continue,” Myllymäki said.

The logging site is located near the Aalistunturi Nature Reserve, which has been proposed for expansion. A national park has also been suggested for the area. The activists are demanding that Metsähallitus halt the logging until the conservation proposals have been processed by the Ministry of the Environment.

Myllymäki stated that the area currently being logged has already been previously forested.

Related stories from around the North:

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

Finland: Forest conservation activists return to Lapland logging site, Yle News

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

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