Protecting Old-Growth Forests, Sweden

Old-Growth Forests have been severely decreasing in the world, particularly in Europe. In Sweden, half of all threatened species are dependent on old growth forest but only 3.8% of forest is currently protected. Naturarvet purchases forests which then may never be sold or logged. It is currently looking to purchase and protect 70 hectares of ecologically valuable old growth forest at Iglekärr, the Gate to Risveden, just north of Gothenburg.

Funds from EOCA would enable purchase of 3 more hectares, meaning that 35 hectares would have been saved so far. With half the forest funded, the outlook for receiving a grant from the county council to buy the rest of the forest is good. The website is translated into German and English to let international visitors learn more about Iglekärr and other Naturarvet forests and to contribute to the preservation of old-growth forest in Sweden. A small trail will be developed from the nearest highway through the forest to an 80 hectare nature reserve bordering Iglekärr on the other side.

The Update

Taking part in the EOCA public vote was a thrill for Naturarvet.  Most of the Swedish website had been translated into German and English in time for the start of the vote and the organisation was very pleased with its reach and the way their project was put on an international platform by the vote itself.

A grant from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency enabled more funds to be raised towards the purchase of the forest, and with the EOCA grant and further donations at the end of 2015 from other organisations, corporations, the public and 2 major anonymous donations, it was possible to make the remaining payment to the sellers of Iglekärr.

A new fundraising project was launched in early 2016 to purchase Vånevik old-growth forest in Oskarshamm to prevent development planse for private villas going ahead, at the same time as launching the inauguration of Iglekärr as a nature reserve.  The decision was to be made official in September 2016, but Naturarvet celebrated during the summer, and a tribute bench sculpted by one of the world’s best chainsaw sculptors, Tommy Craggs (UK) from a 700kg, 3.3m long oak log from the botanical gardens of Gothenburg, was unveiled.  A small a crowd from the local community came to celebrate that the forest is now protected in perpetuity.  Trails have been marked linking the forest to Ekliden nature reserve in the East.

Since then a further 13 hectares of forest adjacent to Iglekärr has been added to the reserve, which now covers 167 connected hectares.  The Oskarshamm forest has had its development plans rejected, but work is still ongoing to buy the land to protected it in perpetuity.

Image: Iglekärr Moss Slope