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Acclaimed writers on Greenpeace tour of threatened

Acclaimed writers on Greenpeace tour of threatened Finnish ancient forests

Helsinki. 12 April 2005 - A group of acclaimed European writers will today join Greenpeace on a tour of northern Finland to witness first hand the destruction of ancient forests. The forests are being decimated to make pulp and paper for the international market.
The tour will include a visit to Greenpeace's Forest Rescue Station in the Sámi reindeer forest area. The station was established in March to highlight the activities of Finnish State-owned logging company Metsähallitus and other paper companies which are buying paper from the area, and supporting the destruction of ancient forests. It has already been instrumental in convincing the Xerox Corporation (USA) to agree to stop buying copy paper sourced from the ancient forests in the Sámi region.

"I cannot keep wondering how much pulp paper my book has swallowed, how many trees have been logged, how much destruction of natural habitat has my modest endeavour caused," said Spain's Javier Moro, one of the visiting writers. "It is our duty as writers to protect our books from being accomplices in nature's holocaust."

Other writers on the tour are Niccolo Ammaniti (Italy), Ken Finn (U.K.), Karel Verleyen (Belgium), Aurélie Filipetti (France), Robin Valtiala (Finland) and Lydia Rood (The Netherlands). Greenpeace's campaign is also being supported by internationally renowned writers Isabel Allende, Gunter Grass, Margaret Atwood and Ian Rankin.

As part of the Greenpeace's Book Campaign (1), the writers are acting as ambassadors for the protection of the worlds' remaining ancient forests (2) and have pledged to print their next book on 'ancient forest friendly' paper (3).

The writers will visit some of Finland's most threatened ancient forest areas in northern Lapland, some 300 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. The region includes important reindeer habitats - vital to the livelihood of the indigenous Sámi reindeer herders - which have recently been logged by Metsähallitus.

"The Finnish logging industry is writing the final chapter in the demise of Europe's ancient forests," said Greenpeace International's Judy Rodrigues. "It is time for the publishing industry to turn the page on ancient forest destruction and lead the paper industry towards 'ancient forest friendly' solutions."

Notes to editor:

1. The Book Campaign aims convince the book publishing industry to stop using paper which contributes to ancient forest destruction including those in Finland, Russia and Canada. It encourages the industry to start developing 'ancient forest friendly' solutions such as the use of recycled paper and/or FSC virgin fibre certified paper. 2. Areas of ancient forest in Finland, Canada and Russia are mostly under threat by paper demand. The majority of paper products in Western Europe are made of virgin pulp from countries like Finland - which contain some of the last fragments of old growth forest in Europe - and Russia, where at least 50% of logging is estimated to be illegal. Canada's Boreal forest is the largest tract of ancient forest left in North America, yet more than 45% of it has been allocated to logging companies to meet the demand for paper.
3. Ancient forest friendly papers are those that maximise recycled content with any virgin fibre coming from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sources. The FSC is the only certification scheme that can ensure that the timber products you are buying come from forests that have been managed in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

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