Protectable forests logged in Norway

forested areas forest sanctuary protectable forestsWoods. Norway protects ever more forested areas. Photo:

Protectable forests logged: “The wolf guards the sheep”

A lot of protectable forests is logged in Norway, while forest with no conservation value may be left standing because the forest industry itself decides what to log. This appears in a recent report on logging in Norway.

“A report from the independent foundation Biofokus, concludes that the scheme of preserving up to 10 per cent of the productive conifer forest does not happen according to intention. To achieve this goal, a system of voluntary protection has been introduced. The scheme entails that the forest owner both reports areas that should be protected and why,” writes Aftenposten.

Biologists are critical to this scheme. Biofokus believes that millions are spent on protecting uninteresting forests, whilst important forest areas remain without protection from logging. Biofokus believes that the forest industry uses the incorrect type of expertise when it does not employ biologists during the registration of forests worthy of protection.

The wolf guarding the sheep

“The fact that the forest industry itself register protectable assets, and, de facto, decide what to protect – through the scheme of voluntary protection – entails that the wolf guards the sheep,” Biologist in Biofokus, Terje Blindheim, asserts.

Blindheim highlights two examples

  1. A process is initiated to protect a large forested area in Nordland. Independent biologists find this area uninteresting, both due to recent planting and because it is located in a mountain area.
  2. Independent biologists have found 37 different red-listed species in 250 locations, as well as 25 particularly valuable areas in a forest on Ramås near Notodden, where the forest industry’s own people only found small list-worthy forest areas.


The Norwegian Association of Forest owners disagrees with the criticism directed at the industry. The Association believes that the registrations are adequate, even if they use forestry-educated expertise, instead of biologists.

“The forest owners offer forest with a high conservation value, which, at the same time, is less interesting to utilise in ordinary forest management. It is important that the most suitable areas for management are used in green value creation and the fight for the climate, Leader of the Norwegian Association of Forest owners, Per Skorge, tells Aftenposten.

Will take a more active role

Minister of Climate and Environment, Ola Elvestuen (Liberals), says that he believes that the voluntary forest protection works well, but that he has asked the Norwegian Environment Agency to contact forest owners who own protected forest more actively:

“Norwegian environmental authorities contact private forest owners when deemed necessary, in order to achieve the desired results,” Elvestuen concludes.

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