Greenpeace blocks export of forest crimes

Press release - 7 November, 2005
Greenpeace activists (1) blocked a ‘Finnlines’ freight ship in the Finnish port of Kemi today to prevent it loading and exporting pulp and paper linked to the destruction of one of Europe's last ancient forests.

Greenpeace activists prevent Finnlines' freight ship 'Antares' from loading pulp and paper in the Finnish port of Kemi, Northern Finland. Activists display banners reading 'STOP FOREST CRIME' and 'DON'T FINNISH ANCIENT FORESTS' in front of the ship where the pulp and paper from the last ancient European forests is being exported to make magazines.

The world's largest paper company, Stora Enso, buys logs from areas ofancient forest in northern Lapland, which the Finnish Government hasstarted logging themselves (2) in defiance of the country's ownconservation laws, set up to protect endangered species from the threatof extinction (3).

"It's a crime that thousand year old ancient forestsend up as glossy magazines on coffee tables across Europe," said MattiLiimatainen, Greenpeace Nordic forest campaigner, speaking from Kemi."Stora Enso should stop buying destruction and the Finnish Governmentstop logging immediately."

Finland's ancient forest is also crucial forthe indigenous Sami reindeer herders of northern Lapland who need theforests to remain intact to maintain their traditional livelihood offree grazing reindeer herding. Sami cooperatives have repeatedly askedStora Enso and the Finnish Government to stop logging. At the end ofOctober 2005, a local court ordered the Government to do so in one ofthe reindeer forest areas but it ignored the order and said it wouldnot consider ending logging in the area unless the Sami reindeerherders pay compensation.

"This forest is a refuge for endangeredspecies. Both they and the Sami livelihoods are protected by law inFinland," continued Liimatainen. "Rather than defy its own laws, theFinnish Government should respect its people and its heritage andprotect this ancient forest, not decimate it to make cheap, throw awayproducts," he finished.

Life on Earth depends on ancient forests. Theyregulate our weather, filter air, clean our water and stabilize ourclimate. Europe has decimated most of its ancient forests and,worldwide, only 20% survive. Two thirds of all species on land live inthese forests but, at current rates of destruction, they will be gonewithin decades.

Greenpeace is demanding governments to save ancientforests by setting up international laws to ban the trade indestructively or illegally logged wood and establishing large areas ofprotected forests. Greenpeace is an independent campaigningorganization, which uses non-violent, creative communication tools toput the spotlight on global environmental problems and to drive towardssolutions essential for a green and peaceful future.

Other contacts: Matti Liimatainen, Greenpeace Nordic forest campaigner in Kemi +358 400 346329Oliver Salge, Greenpeace International forest campaigner +49 171 6035531Mikael Sjovall, Greenpeace Nordic spokesperson +358 503 696202

VVPR info: Images of today's action and of the forest are available on request.Photos: John Novis on (M) +31 6 5381 9121Video: Hester van Meurs on (M) +31 6 2900 1135

Notes: (1) The 25 activists are from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, France, Spain and Switzerland.(2) The State-owned logging company Metsahallitus actively logging in 3 areas of ancient forests of northern Lapland and planning to log in more areas in the near future. The Finnish State owns around a quarter of shares in Stora Enso and wholly owns Metsahallitus. Stora Enso is the single largest customer of Metsahallitus.(3) Endangered species are protected by the Finnish Nature Conservation Act. Antrodia crassa is a rare, endangered fungi that cannot survive in heavily logged areas. It grew in a forest area in Kessi, which was logged by Metsahallitus in early October. The other fungi species under strict protection (Skeletocutis jelicii) is located in a planned logging site, where current logging is only 20 metres away. Another habitat of this species was being logged in late August.