Unique agreement to protect forest land in Jokkmokk: “I have fought so hard for this”

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During Monday, representatives of all parties in the forest gathered just south of Vuollerim in Jokkmokk municipality to tell how forest land and biological diversity should be protected in an area that includes 1,114 hectares of productive forest.

– It’s overwhelming for me. I have devoted almost my entire life to fighting for the forest. An environmental marathon lasting over thirty years is finally at the finish line, says Mats Karström, biologist and founder of the non-profit organization Steget Føre.

Took many years

The areas were already found in the late 1980s through inventories by Mats Karström and Steget Føre. In connection with this, the group developed a new inventory methodology for forests with high nature values. The method is now accepted throughout Sweden and is used by both authorities and forestry companies.

The promise of long-term conservation of the areas in question was already made in 1998 in a declaration of intent between SCA and the County Administrative Board, but since then it has taken time to reach an agreement.

“Valuable forest environments”

Over the years, seven of the areas have been bought by the state as nature reserves, and now a package agreement is being concluded for the remaining forests. The state reimburses SCA for eight nature reserves. For 17 areas, nature conservation agreements are concluded without compensation.

– These are very valuable forest environments that are important for biological diversity. The fact that we are now succeeding in reaching an agreement and creating long-term formal protection is very positive, says Hans Djurberg, head of sustainability at SCA.

In the video above, you hear Mats Karström talk about the fight for the forest.

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