News

Grammy-award winning music group Tinariwen supports Snowchange in forest struggle

During a recent performance, the Grammy-award winning music group Tinariwen came out supporting Snowchange and the forest struggles in Finland. 

Snowchange is grateful for this growing international support and awaits further dialogue with Metsähallitus on the issues this week. (thanks to Sarah Fortune from the Tinariwen camp for the news!)

Photo: Sarah Fortune

Photo: Sarah Fortune

 

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Criticism towards Metsähallitus grows across Karelia

Powerful cultural entity joins in the debate. The national Kalevala Association takes a public stand to defend old growth forests against Metsähallitus in another location of Karelian cultural zone, in Kainuu region, Finland.

This is about the cultural heritage, of which Metsähallitus does not seem to care at all.” says Professor emerita Seppo Knuuttila, President of the Association. Original news in Finnish here.

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Finnish state company Metsähallitus is logging old-growth forests in Karelia, Finland

9th December 2014

The Finnish-Karelian forests that are home to epic poems, age-old oral histories, traditions and cultures face clear-cut logging. Moratorium is needed at once.

Metsähallitus State Enterprise in Finland has been in breach of its PEFC Certificate[1] for decades in Karelia. The company is logging old growth and natural forests despite local opposition. For example; already in 1990s it planned to clear-fell old-growth forests in the area of Raesärkkä, Nurmes, in North Karelia. This November clear-cuts proceeded on the culturally relevant Viena Karelia area[2] despite local opposition. These actions are in direct violation of its PEFC Certification, which explicitly states that, the purpose of it:

Is tailored to the specific needs of family– and community-owned forests, with lasting contributions to livelihoods and rural development

- Sets the highest standards for forest certification aligned with the majority of the world’s governments, including…. Recognizing the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC).

In Kontiolahti, North Karelia, Metsähallitus has placed an old-growth forest under economic forestry, after clear-cutting on the lot in 2009-2011. The forest is under threat, even though Metsähallitus has come out with a statement otherwise[3].

The lot can be sold and/or cut immediately when local and international attention eases on the situation. Only direct opposition to the forestry plans has forced the company to issue a formal statement on their intentions.

Ostola Forest, the last of the unprotected boreal forests in the Finnish-Karelian homeland area of Selkie, is targeted for total destruction by Finnish Logging Company Metsähallitus. Since Metsähallitus has been clear-cutting many old-growth forests in villages of Karelia across Finland despite local opposition, it is greatly feared that Ostola Forest will join all the other boreal forest landscapes that have been, and are actively being, annihilated.

This forest has become internationally known for its community relevance and biodiversity, being home to large boreal mammals such as the European Brown Bear, Wolverine, Lynx, visiting Boreal Wolf and EU Directive –relevant bird species, including several Owl species, the Greenish Warbler, Capercaillie and Forest Grouse. It is the last of the unprotected boreal forests in the area. US nature documentary has been filmed there. In 2013 the Ministry of Environment urged Metsähallitus to conserve this forest – in vain.

Ostola forest is now seeking to become a member of the international, UN-recognized network of Indigenous and Local Community Conserved Areas. During the World Parks Congress held recently in Australia, the Head of the Conservation of Biological Conservation and Global Environmental Facility of the United Nations listened with surprise and concern to the urgency of the situation of the Ostola forest and the planned Metsähallitus clear-cuts. An international outcry has arisen over Metsähallitus’ plans, but the company remains poised to move on its plans to sell or clear-cut in the very near future unless a moratorium is put into effect as soon as possible.

Snowchange Cooperative is the organization leading the effort to protect Ostola Forest.

You can learn more here.

Tero Mustonen, Ph.D.

Lead Author, Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, Arctic Council

Founder and President, Snowchange Cooperative (Finland)

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Snowchange Premiers Two Siberian Videos

Petja Kaurgin in Chaigurginoo, summer 2014. Snowchange, 2014

Petja Kaurgin in Chaigurginoo, summer 2014. Snowchange, 2014

Snowchange is happy to have online premiere of two Siberian videos from our member communities today.

Firstly, follow Chukchi reindeer herder Pjort Kaurgin travelling the Chukotskaya River in  the Lower Kolyma region, Yakutia, Russia in summer 2014, and witness the permafrost melt along the river in this raw video, available here.

Secondly, we are proud to premiere the first ever Yukaghir-language music video, produced by the Yukaghir Council of Elders, in 2013. It was shot in the community of Nelimnaya, Upper Kolyma region, Yakutia. It is available here. Enjoy! (c) Yukaghir Council of Elders, 2013-2014.

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Finnish Fishermen on BBC and Sámi Work at WPC

Lake Lovozero is a crucial food security and fisheries lake to the Kola Sámi people. Photo: Courtesy of the Snowchange Co-op, 2014

Lake Lovozero is a crucial food security and fisheries lake to the Kola Sámi people. Photo: Courtesy of the Snowchange Co-op, 2014

This week long-time friend and ally, OBE Professor Jules Pretty appeared on BBC Radio to discuss Finnish-Karelian fishermen and other local communities in the Eurasian North. The interview is available MP3 here.

The ‘Solutions’ part of World Parks Congress now features our Sámi Collaborative Management Plan for the Neiden and Ponoi Rivers – available here.

 

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