SWEDEN (News release) -- In February 2021, the Land and Environmental Court in Östersund upheld an appeal from the Skydda Skogen (Protect the Forest) association regarding a number of harvesting notifications on SCA land in Jämtland and Härjedalen. The Court also found in favor of a harvesting ban at the harvesting sites in question. SCA is now appealing this ruling to the Supreme Land and Environmental Court.
In accordance with the Swedish Forestry Act, SCA reported the planned harvesting to the Swedish Forest Agency. The Agency had no objections and accordingly, after a period of six weeks, the landowner is free to implement the planned harvesting.
The Skydda Skogen association conducted inventories in the areas in question and submitted the results to the Swedish Forest Agency in the form of findings of red-listed plant and animal species. When the Swedish Forest Agency did not act on this information, Skydda Skogen appealed the Agency's decision - or, more correctly, that it refrained from making a decision. This appeal was upheld by the Land and Environmental Court in Östersund, which also referred the case back to the Swedish Forest Agency and ruled in favor of a harvesting ban.
This ruling has now been appealed by SCA.
Jonas Mårtensson, President, Forest, comments: "We have taken adequate measures to protect the species found on the planned harvesting sites and there is no reason or obligation for the Forest Agency to act."
"We want the Supreme Land and Environmental Court to examine whether the Swedish Forest Agency's normal processing of a normal harvesting notification really can be subject to an appeal. If that is the case, then an environmental organization can appeal each and any planned harvesting. This would bring an unreasonable planning situation within forestry and there would be an equally unreasonable workload for the Forest Agency and for the legal system."
"Swedish forestry policy is based on the cooperation between forest owners and a competent agency. If this court ruling is deemed valid, it would comprehensively alter the planning terms for forestry."
Approximately 60,000 harvesting notifications are submitted to the Swedish Forest Agency by forest owners in Sweden each year. The number of harvesting notifications submitted by SCA per year is 5 000.