This one slipped by me, despite my having been at last year's Forest Rescue Station in Finland. Finland, you see, has managed to win the Golden Chainsaw Award, which we reserve for the worst forest crime offenders.

Between the the 1950s and 1970s, birch trees were considered 'flora non grata' by foresters as they didn't have any commercial value. So, they were cut down and poisoned to reduce their numbers. In some areas, were sprayed with the deadly defoliant Agent Orange - yes, the nasty stuff from the Vietnam war.

These days, the much-maligned birch has become commercially useful as pulp for the paper industry. But after destroying so much birch forest for decades, there isn't enough birch forest left for the requirements of their timber industry. So now they import birch logs from Russia, many of which are illegally logged.

Finland receives Golden Chainsaw award »

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