Norway's forest heritage under threat



Posted on 15 April 2003  | 
Oslo, Norway - WWF is calling on Norway's Minister of Environment, Mr Børge Brende, to give a strong and ambitious statement on improved forest protection in his upcoming white-paper on the state of the Norwegian environment. Currently, only 1 per pent of Norway's forests are protected, with High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF) more often logged than protected. By the end of April, the Norwegian government will present a white paper on the state of the Norwegian environment. This paper is expected to outline a new 'forest-strategy' for Norway. The current Norwegian government has stated the strong need for more forest protection in Norway. However, WWF believes there is an urgent need to move from vague political statements to concrete conservation targets and deadlines. Based on an analysis of forest protection in Norway, scientists have defined what forest types should be given highest priority for protection and have recommended strategies for how to meet the need for increased forest protection. Scientists have claimed that to cover the most critical needs for parts of species diversity, at least 4.5 per cent of productive forest should be protected all together. WWF warns that if the government fails to follow up on the minimum requirements defined by the scientists, then Norway will fail on its commitments in the Convention on Biological Diversity. This will be a very strong, negative signal from the Norwegian government, which has been seen as a driving force in many international environmental negotiations. Some of Norway’s forest ecosystems and forest types are found nowhere else in the world. These unique forest types have a high level of biodiversity, including many rare and threatened species (46 per cent of the 3062 species listed as endangered, threathened or vulnerable in Norway are forest living species). These include: • the northernmost pine forests in the world • the boreal rainforest in Central Norway, which contains species found nowhere else in Europe • the outpost of Europe's broad-leaved deciduous forests in southern and western Norway, which are probably the most species-rich forest ecosystem in Fennoscandia and are the main habitat for the vulnerable white-backed woodpecker. You can help! Send an letter to Mr Børge Brende, Minister of Environment, Norway, urging him to give a strong and ambitious statement on improved forest protection in his upcoming white-paper on the state of the Norwegian environment. For further information: Tor Traasdahl Senior adviser, WWF-Norway Tel: +47 22 03 65 13 E-mail: ttraasdahl@wwf.no

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