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Expert Confirms the Criticism of IKEA's Russian Logging

Press release from Protect the Forest Sweden 2012-05-30

Russian conservation expert confirms the criticism
of IKEA's logging in Russian Karelia

The environmental organization Protect the Forest Sweden has sharply criticized IKEA's logging in Russian Karelia, but IKEA has replied that it is the interested parties in Karelia that they will listen to. In an interview with Alexander Markovsky from the Karelian environmental organization SPOK, it becomes clear that IKEA is criticized in Russia, too.

Protect the Forest has sent a cross-section of a 400-year-old tree from one of IKEA's clear-cuts to IKEA's head office in Sweden, along with a copy of the interview and a list of our demands.

Alexander Markovsky has a Ph. D. in forest ecology and is the chairman of SPOK, and he confirms Protect the Forest's statements that IKEA/Swedwood is logging Karelian forests with high conservation value. According to him, IKEA/Swedwood should instead use secondary-growth forests that have already been logged in the past.

"Around the current lease of IKEA/Swedwood there are a lot of secondary forests, and they are not leased by anyone. The Government of Karelia is very interested in the transfer of their lease. Use them - it is an opportunity to give work to local people, provide the communities with firewood and promote the recovery of economically accessible forests of northern Karelia. Forest management in secondary forests will help preserve the unique old-growth forests," says Alexander Markovsky.

IKEA claims (in the Swedish newspaper Smålandsposten, 25th of April) that 56% of the forest in Karelia has some sort of legal protection. But according to Alexander Markovsky, only around 3% of Karelian forests have a legal protection that prohibits logging.

Anders Hildeman, forestry manager at IKEA, has said on Swedish public TV that the forests they are logging contain old stumps and so the forests are nothing special by Russian standards. But Alexander Markovsky does not agree: "Old-growth or primary forest areas in the north of Europe are quite small. The important thing is that in old-growth forests, there are no traces of industrial logging. In these kinds of forest there have been no changes to the dynamics of the natural forests with relevance to the conservation of biodiversity. Individual stumps can occur in old-growth forests, as traces of the traditional life of local people."

"This interview shows that IKEA's loggings are not in fact acceptable from a Russian point of view, as IKEA has claimed they are," says Viktor Säfve, chairman of Protect the Forest. "We repeat our five demands, now with SPOK's support. Among other things, we want IKEA to stop their logging of forests with high conservation value, and we want them to stop lying about the conditions in Karelia."

"We hope that IKEA will understand now that criticism against them isn't limited to Sweden, and we also hope that IKEA will resume the dialogue with Protect the Forest and SPOK," says Elin Götmark, board member of Protect the Forest.

Read the whole interview with Alexander Markovsky:
http://protecttheforest.se/en/foereningsnytt/16-skyddsvaerd-skog/1385-intervju-med-rysk-skogsekolog-om-ikea
Read Protect the Forest's list of demands of IKEA/Swedwood:
http://www.protecttheforest.se/ikea/en

ENDS

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