|Logging effects on forest birds in Lapland, Sweden
High conservation forests are still being logged in Lapland, Northern Sweden, even though there are only a few cases known there is evidence about it every year. According to the 2008 “Population report” (SEPA nr 5813) some forest birds have been decreasing ever since 1975 with a turning point in 1995 with an increase at substantially lower population levels. About half of the studied specialised species are living in “structurally complex forests” and depending on old trees and substrates such as dead wood they continue to decline. SOF/BirdLife Sweden is a member of FSC Sweden: within this certification system we argue for no logging in key woodland habitats and other forests with high conservation values. We believe that the retention areas should be larger and that conservation efforts should be strengthened. Protection of these valuable forests is essential in order to safeguard threatened species as well as restoring damaged forest ecosystems in the future.
According to the 2008 “Population report” (SEPA nr 5813) some forest birds have decreased since 1975. Since 1995, however, more species have increased than decreased. Many generalist species seem to start recovering or at least the decreasing trends are “levelling out” but this is occurring at substantially lower population levels. About half of the studied specialised species living in “structurally complex forests” and depending on old trees and substrates such as dead wood continue to decline.
The specialised species mentioned above are considered to be indicator species. For some of them the decline seems to have ceased and for others like the Hazel hen and Stock dove there has been an increase in population. Despite this positive trend about half of the total population of specialised species are declining. Among these are common and widely distributed species such as the Goldcrest, Willow tit, Marsh tit, Black woodpecker and the near-extinct White-backed woodpecker.
Overall, however, there is slight optimism: According to the official indicators of biodiversity the number of breeding pairs of forest birds has been stable in the last 12 years and the amount of dead wood has increased significantly. The total area of protected forests has increased steadily and the area of broad-leaved forest is also slightly increasing. We therefore encourage continued protection of high conservation value forests, extensive areas of restoration efforts and alternative forestry measures other than clear-cutting.
Official indicators of biodiversity (Environmental Objective nr 12, ”Sustainable Forests”)
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency 2008: report 5813, ”Population trends…” (English summary p 9)
SOF (BirdLife partner in Sweden)
Henri Engström, henri.engstrom(at)ebc.uu.se