Published 12.4.2019

Unclear boundaries in IFL-areas resulted in disputes in Inari, Lapland

According to the Greenpeace report on April 11, Metsähallitus has felled trees in the Harrilehto “Intact Forest Landscapes” boundary marking area defined by the NGO’s. Metsähallitus informed both Greenpeace and its clients immediately after receiving information on the IFL status of the site in question. The information reached Metsähallitus after the felling had been already done, unfortunately.

The IFL boundary markers in Lapland have been reviewed in 2016-2017 during the Metsähallitus’ landscape ecological planning. Sites that have verifiable nature values associated with primeval forests have been marked as nature sites and are not to be felled. In January 2019 information was received that all IFL sites must be left outside operations regardless of their felling history, proximity to road networks, or forest structure. Unfortunately, at this point the map version in the Metsähallitus’ geographic information system was still the one used in the reviewing process. Greenpeace created the original IFL maps in 2006. They have been updated and supplemented in 2012, 2013, and 2016. Metsähallitus replaced the map in the geographic information system with wider boundaries on the different versions immediately after the Harrilehto fellings.

80-year-old, snow-damaged pine forest suffering from resin-top disease and containing hold-over trees from previous generation was subject to thinning at Harrilehto due to the incorrect map. Old trees were not felled except for few individual trees that had to be removed from logging route. The felling site was 1.2 kilometres away from two different roads at most.

The site is located near Ivalo reindeer herding co-operative’s reindeer fence. Trees have been felled there previously for reindeer herding needs. The felling had been agreed on in negotiations with the reindeer herding co-operative, and there were no disputes in negotiations. Selective felling improves traversing in the forest for reindeer herders. It also helps lichen, the winter feed of reindeers, to grow better.

In the opinion of Metsähallitus, the site does not fully conform to the international IFL standards. However, the felling would not have happened if the incorrect boundary had been known about earlier. Metsähallitus apologises for the error and will strengthen its co-operation with NGO’s to make sure that errors and misunderstandings are avoided in the future.

Further information:

Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd, Regional Director Kii Korhonen, tel. 0400 300 861