Acclaimed writers on Greenpeace tour of threatened Finnish ancient forests

Press release - 12 April, 2005
A group of acclaimed European writers will today join Greenpeace on a tour of northern Finland to witness first hand the destruction of ancient forests. The forests are being decimated to make pulp and paper for the international market.

A group of acclaimed European writers join Greenpeace on a tour of northern Finland to witness first hand the destruction of ancient forests. The forests are being decimated to make pulp and paper for the international market.

The tour will include a visit to Greenpeace's Forest Rescue Station inthe Sámi reindeer forest area. The station was established in March tohighlight the activities of Finnish State-owned logging companyMetsähallitus and other paper companies which are buying paper from thearea, and supporting the destruction of ancient forests. It has alreadybeen instrumental in convincing the Xerox Corporation (USA) to agree tostop buying copy paper sourced from the ancient forests in the Sámiregion.

"Icannot keep wondering how much pulp paper  my book has swallowed,how many trees have been logged, how much destruction of naturalhabitat has my modest endeavour caused," said  Spain's JavierMoro, one of the visiting writers. "It is our duty as writers toprotect our books from being accomplices in nature's holocaust."

Otherwriters on the tour are Niccolo Ammaniti (Italy), Ken Finn (U.K.),Karel Verleyen (Belgium), Aurélie Filipetti (France), Robin Valtiala(Finland) and Lydia Rood (The Netherlands). Greenpeace's campaign isalso being supported by internationally renowned writers IsabelAllende, Gunter Grass, Margaret Atwood and Ian Rankin.

As partof the Greenpeace's Book Campaign (1), the writers are acting asambassadors for the protection of the worlds' remaining ancient forests(2) and have pledged to print their next book on 'ancient forestfriendly' paper (3).

The writers will visit  some ofFinland's most threatened ancient forest areas in northern Lapland,some 300 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. The region includesimportant reindeer habitats - vital to the livelihood of the indigenousSámi reindeer herders - which have recently been logged byMetsähallitus.

"The Finnish logging industry is writing thefinal chapter in the demise of Europe's ancient forests," saidGreenpeace  International's Judy Rodrigues. "It is time for thepublishing industry to turn the page on ancient forest destruction andlead the paper industry towards 'ancient forest friendly' solutions."

Other contacts: Judy Rodrigues, Greenpeace International +31 6 46 166 299Greenpeace International Communications: +31 6 29 00 1141

Notes: 1. The Book Campaign aims convince the book publishing industry to stop using paper which contributes to ancient forest destruction including those in Finland, Russia and Canada. It encourages the industry to start developing 'ancient forest friendly' solutions such as the use of recycled paper and/or FSC® virgin fibre certified paper. 2. Areas of ancient forest in Finland, Canada and Russia are mostly under threat by paper demand. The majority of paper products in Western Europe are made of virgin pulp from countries like Finland - which contain some of the last fragments of old growth forest in Europe - and Russia, where at least 50% of logging is estimated to be illegal. Canada's Boreal forest is the largest tract of ancient forest left in North America, yet more than 45% of it has been allocated to logging companies to meet the demand for paper.3. Ancient forest friendly papers are those that maximise recycled content with any virgin fibre coming from Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC®) certified sources. The FSC® is the only certification scheme that can ensure that the timber products you are buying come from forests that have been managed in an environmentally and socially responsible way.