Greenpeace today said that the UK Government's freshly watered down timber buying guidelines will give the green light to destroy old-growth Finnish forests, where social conflict continues and logging is threatening to wipe out a number of internationally recognised rare and threatened species.
In June of this year, Metsähallitus, the Finnish state-owned
loggingcompany terminated negotiations with the Sámi indigenous
peoples,signalling a return to the logging of these ancient
The indigenous Sámi reindeer herders do not accept logging
ofold-growth forests in areas that are crucial for their
reindeer-herdinglivelihood. The Sámi Council and Sámi reindeer
herders' organisationshave denounced logging by Metsähallitus as
threatening theirlivelihood, culture and human rights.
In addition, a recent Greenpeace survey found hundreds of
endangeredfungi in areas of ancient forests in Finland that are
earmarked forlogging by Metsähallitus. The majority of timber would
end up beingturned into paper for magazine publishers. The
threatened fungi areknown as polypores, and most often appear on
trees, rather than growingfrom the ground. An increasing number of
fungi and other species, suchas beetles, have become rare and
extinct due to destructive loggingpractises in Finland. Natural
old-growth forests (ancient forests) arethe last remaining habitats
for such threatened species.
The UK Government recently approved two controversial
timbercertification schemes, including the PEFC, which endorses the
FinnishForest Certification Scheme. Greenpeace severely criticised
the schemefor certifying large-scale unsustainable logging in
ancient forestareas as well as the abuse of indigenous people's
rights and thedestruction of endangered species habitat.
"This shows the shocking truth behind the Government's woeful
decisionto approve this certification scheme as part of its
guidance onsustainable timber. They are guilty of rubber stamping
the destructionof ancient forests and sanctioning the extinction of
rare species,"said Phil Aikman, Greenpeace International Forests
campaigner. "We urgeboth the public and private sector to clearly
specify FSC on allcontracts in order to guarantee that the timber
they are using is fromlegal and sustainable sources."
Other contacts: For more information, contact:Phil Aikman, Greenpeace International Ancient Forests Campaign, +447801212995Gina Sanchez, Greenpeace International Communications, +31627000064