Metsähallitus, the Finnish state-owned logging company, has unilaterally terminated all negotiations with the Sami reindeer herding co-operatives and has said that the logging moratorium on 90,000 hectares of important reindeer grazing forests is over. Logging could restart as early as August.
Greenpeace has been working with the indigenous Sami, who rely on Lapland's remaining old-growth forests to provide vital food for their herds during the cold winter months, trying to help them protect this land. In May, responding to our campaign, Metsähallitus agreed to a temporary moratorium over 90,000 hectares of important reindeer grazing forests and entered into formal negotiations with the Sami.
The rejection of these negotiations by Metsähallitus is very bad news and comes as the state owned logging company admit that they do not have a sufficient mandate from the Government to resolve this conflict in the Sami homeland.
In a further worrying move, Metsähallitus has declared an end to the 'dialogue process' with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC), which has been in progress since June 2003. These discussions were attempting to solve the forest conflict in old growth forest areas in the southern part of northern Finland. Neither WWF or FANC were consulted about this in advance of this decision being made. This could mean that logging in these old growth forest areas in Finland could start again in the near future.
Greenpeace continues to believe that a moratorium needs to be in place for all old-growth and high conservation value forests including the Sami reindeer forests - while negotiations take place and is asking that all companies sourcing from Stora Enso what steps they are taking to ensure that old growth fibre is not entering their supply chain.
For more information on Greenpeace's recent work on Finland including an update about the closure of our Forest Rescue Station in May and our trip with European Authors to the Sami forests click here.