Friday, 15 June 2007

The destruction of Saami forests in Finnish Lapland started again

Forwarded from Taiga-Info

Here is some new information on the situation in Finnish Lapland, where the
Finnish Forest and Park Service recently resumed logging in one of the
important reindeer winter grazing areas.

Hannu Hyvönen at independent Finnish media cooperative Signs of life has
compiled this information. You can reach Hannu directly at

The destruction of Saami forests in Finnish Lapland started again

The long lasting forestry conflict in Finnish Lappland is again in a very
urgent state. The Finnish state owned company, Metsähallitus,
has started large scale logging operations in the home area of indigenous
Saami people on the 14th of May, 2007.

These logging have been critisized for the following reasons:

-there is no solution yet for the land ownership conflict between
indigenous Saami
people and the Finnish state.
-the Finnish state has not proven to be the actual owner of the forests
that it is logging right now.
-the clear-cutting style of logging ancient forests in the extreme north
of Europe cannot be accepted from an ecological and micro-climatical point
of view.
-the loggings destroy the very basis of the culturally important Saami
free grazing reindeer herding tradition
-the loggings waste the ancient forests and its wood and leave less
possibilities for future truly sustainable continuous cover forestry
without destructive clear cutting.

Among others Union of Ecoforestry urged Finnish
parliament to stop the logging immediately and distributed for
parliament groups the documentary movie Last yoik in Saami forests
( Until now there has not been any public reaction
by the Finnish government. The silence in Finnish media also continues.

The director of the movie, Hannu Hyvönen, expressed his feelings about the
on-going loggings recently: "It is quite easy for us to update this sad
turn-up in the documentary movie, but we cannot update these forests which
are now again cutted down."

The documentary movie can also be loaded here:

More info and links:

The short history of this conflict with video clips from the movie

1. Centre of Saamiland

In northern Lapland, over one thousand kilometres north of Finland’s
capital, Helsinki, lies the largest remaining wilderness in Western
Europe. These fells and forests are the homeland of Northern Europe’s only
indigenous people, the Saami. The land rights issue in the Saami homeland
is unsolved.

Look the introduction of the scenerys videoclip

2. Pulping the Saami forests?

Traditional reindeer herding is the one essential basis of
Saami culture.

During the cold Arctic winter months, old-growth forests provide a
lifeline for grazing reindeer. On the old trees grows the arboreal hanging
lichen that is an essential wintertime food for the reindeer.

However, the Finnish state-owned forestry company, Metsähallitus is
destroying important winter grazing forests that are vital to the
reindeer. These old-growth forests are harvested for production in the
Finnish pulp and paper industry.

Look the forestry yoik of the movie Last yoik in Saamiforests:

3. Who owns the land?

One big and still unsolved issue is the ownership of these forests.
Finnnish state cannot prove its ownership and still continues
logging activities. Look the comment of Heikki Hyvärinen, the lawyer of
Saami parliament

4. Greenpeace arrive
The long-lasting conflict between Saami reindeer herding interests and
government-owned industrial forestry flared up in the spring of 2005.
Local Saami reindeer herders joined environmental organizations and
started an international campaign to save the reindeer grazing forests
from logging.

Look the interview in the camp:

5. Cutting break and Antiterror infocenter

Greenpeace contacted the paper buyers. Forest industry giant Stora Enso
decided soon to stop buying wood from the disputed forests.
Metsähallitus had to stop the logging.

The conflict escalated towards violence when forestry workers, supported
by the Finnish government forestry company, set up their “anti-terror”
camp next to the Greenpeace Forest Rescue Station in the disputed forests.

They started attacks in the Greenpeace camp in nights
and days.

In May 2005 cutting moratorium continued and Greenpeace moved avay their
camp to cool down the atmosphere.

6. Stora Enso and Metsähallitus started loggins again in June 2005

But in July Stora Enso announced to their customers to start the
wood buying again and Metsähallitus started their cuttings in the area of
Nellim reindeer herders.

Look the clip of the scenerys from Inari lake:

7. United Nations intervention

In November 2005 reindeer herder Kalevi Paadar with his brothers made a
complaint for UN Human Rights Committee and claimed that cuttings in their
village destroy their possibilities continue the traditional free crazing
with reindeers and so violate their Saami rights for manage own culture.

UN Human Rights Committee asked Finland to stop cuttings for further

Look the video:

8. Illegalism in Lapland

The cuttings were stopped but the dialogue did not continue. The prime
minister did not want to join in discussion and the chair of Finnish
Secret Policy accused Greenpeace to be a violent terrorist organization:

>From the Saami side the conflict was not seen caused by Greenpeace but
Finnish companies wasting the forests and wasting the wood of them. Look
the comment by Pekka Aikio, the president of Saami Parliament in Finland:

9. Cuttings continue in June 2007
The present situation is now hot againg. Metsähallitus started logging in
Saami forests in Kessi in May 2007.
Read more and look the photos on the areas:



The above clips are part of the documentary movie
Last yoik in Saami forests , 54 min

You can look the version updated April 2007 on the address:
The documentary movie is also available on DVD.

For commercial presentations, library use and for tv broadcastings, please
contact the director Hannu Hyvönen directly at

tel +358 40 831 7733