World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Govt Has Taken Sides In Struggle To Save Ojnare Forest

Press release from Protect the Forest 2012-08-13

The Government Has Taken Sides In The Struggle To Save The Ojnare Forest

The organization Protect the Forest criticizes the government for their implicit support for the destruction of the Ojnare forest, on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. Members of Protect the Forest are actively taking part in the struggle against the plans for a lime quarry in the area, and the organization encourages others to take part in the protests. The logging attempts have been held off for a week so far.

"The struggle to save the Ojnare forest has been going on for seven years," says Lisa Behrenfeldt from Protect the Forest. "It is nothing less than a scandal that the company Nordkalk now has permission to quarry for lime in the area. After many rounds of denials and appeals in court, the environmental supreme court could only give its permission to the project after the government removed the environmental law paragraph that forbids quarries threatening red-listed species. In the area planned for the quarry, 266 red-listed species have been found."

The Ojnare forest is part of a larger natural area with old pine forest, limestone plains with sparse prairie-like vegetation, and small wetlands. It lies between two nature reserves, which are also Natura 2000 areas and protected under EU law. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency plans to make the area a national park. In fact, the decision is already made, and will be effected if only the quarry does not destroy the area.

"To give Nordkalk permission to quarry in Ojnare is nonchalant and foolhardy," says Jonas Idevall Hagren from Protect the Forest. "It is impossible to predict what will happen if you make a hole which is 25 meters deep into the limestone bedrock and covers 170 hectares. The projected quarry threatens the water supply of the whole northern part of the island."

By permitting the quarry, Sweden breaks both international and national commitments, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and several of the national environmental objectives:
- A Rich Diversity of Plant and Animal Life
- Sustainable Forests
- Thriving Wetlands
- Good-Quality Groundwater

"It's not just about the weathered old pines and the limestone in Ojnare," says Lisa Behrenfeldt. "It is frightening that the government is prioritizing short-term profit over the water supply and natural values which can't be replaced in the foreseeable future. If this area doesn't have what it takes to be protected, which area does?"

An appeal has been made to the supreme court. There is still a chance to let the Ojnare forest be a national park instead of a hole in the ground. A group of activists has shouldered the responsibility now that the government has failed to stop the quarry, which reveals how little the government's fine words about the environment are worth in practice.

Members of Protect the Forest have been in Ojnare during several periods of time since Nordkalk got the go-ahead from the environmental supreme court in the beginning of July.

"We demand that the government acts now!" says Jonas Idevall Hagren. "Quarrying areas with redlisted species must be made illegal again."

Press photos for free use:

Click for big version.

Photo: Aron Hejdström

Click for big version.

Photo: Robert Svensson

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


World Vision: A Year On From Beirut Blast, Thousands Suffer Under Economic Collapse
In the year since the Beirut blast, a worsening economic crisis has vastly increased the numbers living in poverty, creating a worsening humanitarian crisis for Lebanon’s children, warns World Vision... More>>

UN: Conflict, COVID, Climate Crisis, Likely To Fuel Acute Food Insecurity In 23 ‘Hunger Hotspots’

Life-saving aid to families on the brink of famine is being cut off in several countries by fighting and blockades, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) said in a new report issued on Friday... More>>

Oxfam: Vaccine Monopolies Make Cost Of Vaccinating The World Against Covid At Least Five Times More Expensive Than It Could Be

The cost of vaccinating the world against COVID-19 could be at least five times cheaper if pharmaceutical companies weren’t profiteering from their monopolies on COVID-19 vaccines, campaigners from the People’s Vaccine Alliance said today...

Focus On: UN SDGs

UN Africa Renewal: Energy Will Play A Critical Role In The Success Of Africa’s Free Trade Area

As a global leader and advocate for the achievement of SDG7, which calls for access to reliable, affordable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030, what three key things do African countries need to do to end energy poverty..? More>>

Food Systems: More Than 100 Countries Discuss Visions For Futures To Accelerate Global Action Ahead Of September Summit

More than 100 countries came together over the course of three-days to discuss how they will transform their national food systems to drive progress against the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030... More>>

Food Systems: Italian & Rwandan Leaders Join Urgent Call To Transform World’s Food Systems As Pre-Summit Begins

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Rwandan President Paul Kagame stress need for more inclusive, sustainable and holistic approaches ahead of the Summit in New York in September... More>>