Thursday, November 17, 2005

Finnish Wood-Cutters to Suspend Lapland Logging

Finland's state logging firm said on Wednesday it would take a break from felling trees in part of Lapland's forests, a move that follows a United Nations call for a suspension after complaints from reindeer herders.

Earlier this week, the UN Human Rights Committee recommended the government suspend logging after three herders from Nellim, in Finland's far north, complained about logging in key reindeer-grazing areas and asked for 27,000 hectares (67,000 acres) of land to be protected.

State logging company Metsahallitus said it would decide on any resumption of logging in the area only after the government put its case to the United Nations, for which it has six months, and after the United Nations responds.

The dispute relates to a long-standing complaint about land rights by Lapland's indigenous Sami people, who make up a significant proportion of reindeer herders.

They say the state-owned lands where reindeer graze are vital for preserving their culture and their herds.

Metsahallitus, which says existing protection for state- owned forests is sufficient, said that in the meantime it would try to find suitable logging areas elsewhere in northern Lapland.

Environmental activists have also been campaigning to stop logging in northern Lapland. In Berlin on Wednesday, supporters of Greenpeace spread waste from Metsahallitus logging operations in front of the Finnish embassy.

Last week, activists blockaded a ship carrying paper cargo from Finland to Germany to protest against the logging of the ancient forests they called an irreplaceable heritage.

Nellim, near the Russian border, accounts for about a quarter of the 130,000 cubic metres (4.6 million cu ft) of wood Metsahallitus cuts in northern Lapland every year.

Metsahallitus said that of the 27,000 hectares (67,000 acres) identified by the reindeer herders, about 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) were either currently logged or in the company's short-term logging plans.



Blogger Casey Meshbesher said...

Good job on the sustainability blog. You might enjoy browsing this site on the Sami people
There are articles about sustainable reindeer husbandry, about Sami culture, and about the environmental concerns of Sápmi (Samiland)

3:39 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home