Save our forests in Ramshyttan

July 13, 2018 in SWEDEN | Comments (0)

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The  village of Ramshyttan has been particularly hit by the hunger for timber and biofuel, and has seen the old forests in the environs disappear one after one and new monospecies plantations come slowly up – too thick to walk through and without the wonderful mushrooms and berries undergrowth. The kantarell / chantarelle is particuarly difficult to regenerate.

Click here for the latest “kalhygge”. I cried – I more than cried – I howled….

The shock of this sight has waves.  I have helped the villagers prepare the following petition for Sveaskog…please excuse my mix of English and Swedish. I write in English but some of the villagers have given me quotes in Swedish – which I prefer not to translate.

SAVE THE LAST FORESTS IN RAMSHYTTAN

For the sake of our quality of life, for our children and grandchildren, for our visitors, and for the riders who gallop our living trails – please save our last few old forests

sågdammen from house2

We, residents of Ramshyttan (see names below), plead that Sveaskog revises its plans to cut down the last few small forests in our village area, shown as the black stippled areas in the map below.  In recent years vast areas of forest around us have been cut down by big machines that destroy the undergrowth and biodiversity for generations, and the last few small forests in our village are important not only for plant and animal diversity but also for wind shelter, recreation, quality of life and our tourist economy. Ramshyttan lies on Bergslagsleden so tourists come through our picturesque village for hiking, riding, mountain biking and other recreation. They bring income; and the loss of our forests means loss of investment in developing ecotourism.

We are a close-knit community of people, most of whom live here permanently. We chose to live here because we enjoy nature, so we want forests left in our village and around us where we can walk under tall trees, with a rich variety of species, an undergrowth of mushrooms, berries and so on, all in harmony with the wildlife. It is time to let the environment in Ramshyttan catch up. WE DO NOT WANT any more “kalhygge” in Ramshyttan or at the entrance to our village.

We want future generations to experience Sweden at its fullest. Our forests are part of our culture, our heritage and our folklore.

map of forests to be cut

Ramshyttan forests felled in May or soon to be cut down are stippled black. The pale green areas have been cut down in recent years, sometimes with far spaced pines left to seed  

  • SHRINKING FORESTS. Over the 10 to 15 years the forests around Ramshyttan have drastically shrunk due to massive areas being cut, gradually replaced by impenetrable plantations or thick brush that will reduce the recreation potential for decades and biodiversity for generations. Now the last old forests in the village are targeted – and some have already been cut. See map above: black stippled areas are due for felling and pale green areas that have been felled and not yet regenerated.
  • RECENT DEVASTATION. We were shocked and distressed when we saw the destructive “kalhygge” this summer in one of our recreation areas walking distance from the village. A vast area the size of many city blocks has been totally devastated and the ground left scarred by giant wheels. It will be far greater devastation if Sveaskog does “markberedning” (ploughing the ground for later planting). In recent years this forest was our main kantarell and berry picking forest due to most of the others being cut or diminished by big machine forestry. It’s doubtful that any kantarell will be there in the new plantation and it will be impossible to walk through for many years. The area is not in the above map – it is walking distance north.

devastation SMALL

The devastation of our forests – this is not sustainable forestry

”Jag förstår det är skogsproduktion det handlar om, men kan man inte tänka sig en steg längre och avverka på ett hållbart sätt nära byar och turisttäta områden. Dess kalhyggen är som sår i naturen och det kommer att ta så många år innan de läker. Vem villa besöka dem?”

Comments by Ramshyttan residents and villa owners who want to preserve the forests in the village of Ramshyttan

”Vi tycker att det är viktigt att skogsägare visar stora hänsyn när det gäller avverkning i områden som har särskild betydelse utifrån ett naturintresse. Såväl Örebro kommun, Region Örebro samt Länsstyrelsen i Örebro har ofta påtalat vikten av naturhänsyn och värdet av miljön i och runt Ramsjön och Ramshyttan.”

Claes Wahlberg & Lena Källströmowners of a house in Ramshyttan for 27 years. Claes has helped to develop recreation in Ramshyttan and Kilsbergen.

Claes och jag har bott 27 år i Ramshyttan och vi vill inte att skogen nära och runt omkring oss avverkas mer. Vi valde att bo här just för närheten till naturen med allt vad det innebär. Att ha ett kalhygge som utsikt vill vi verkligen inte!

Lena Hellström – has lived and/or had a house in Ramshyttan for 28 years and written 20 books on Bergslagen including Den blåa Bergen. Lena has already informed Sveaskog she does not want the forest protecting her house from destructive winds to be cut down.

Hur ska via kunna skydda de sista resterna av underbar artrik skog med allt vad det betyder av växtliv, djurliv och glädje för människor? Sveaskog tänker avverka alltihop av det lilla som finns kvar i Ramshyttan.

Marie Elfverssonowner of house(s) in Ramshyttan for 30 years/ runs Ramshyttan Horse Farm riding ventures:

Ryttare kommer från hela Sverige och olika länder i Europa. De älskar det här området och berättar för sina vänner. På väg från Ramshyttan mot Mogetorp frågar de om detta är ett naturreservat, men det är det inte. Sveaskog kommer att avverka den gamla skogen på både sidorna av Bergslagsleden. Jag gråter varje gång jag ser en gammal skog nedhuggen – speciellt skogen runt Ramshyttan. Skogarna som finns kvar borde räddas.

Så här står det i visitorebro.se
Ramshyttan Horse Farm i Bergslagen har ridning i lite skala men i stor natur. Här rider du i ett kulturlandskap som innehåller både trolska skogar och gamla hyttor. Att bo i Ramshyttan är att bo i den svenska historien. Att Rida i Ramshyttan är en fröjd då du får kliva upp på magnifika Frieserhästar eller de mindre Islandshästarna / Marie

 

Jan Hermansson & Karin Tellås Hermanssonowners of a house in Ramshyttan for 29 years, active as photographers and painter.

Vi bor omgivna av skog sedan många år och vi älskar det – vi går i skogarna och inspireras av den för målning och fotografering. Skogarna har minskat mycket de senaste år och nu borde det som är kvar räddas.

Ragnar Sutter & Lena Bergsten Sutter Lena och Ragnar har bott i Ramshyttan i snart 30 år och bedriver en uthyrningsverksamhet för turister.

 Hit kommer människor från hela världen för att uppleva Kilsbergens vildmark och skönhet.

Vi tycker att det är viktigt att skogsägare visar stora hänsyn när det gäller avverkning i områden som har särskild betydelse utifrån ett naturintresse. Såväl Örebro kommun, Region Örebro samt Länsstyrelsen i Örebro har ofta påtalat vikten av naturhänsyn och värdet av miljön i och runt Ramsjön och Ramshyttan.

Henrik Bergström – owns a house in Ramshyttan for 1.5 years

I moved to Ramshyttan in Kilsbergen after falling in love with its natural beauty and the calm surrounding it. The forest has always been close to my heart and I feel that it is a big shame that so much of the beautiful and important forest surrounding the central part of Ramshyttan is planned to be taken down! It will permanently alter the framing and wildlife of the entire village. I fear that this is only the beginning and that this has to be stopped in time in order to save the forest, wildlife and local business.

Sabina Schnegotski  – owner of a cottage in the village for 12 years – lives in Örebro.

Nej dom får inte förstöra vår vackra skogen i byn. Skogen är så vacker. Försträckligt om man skulle göra det till en kalhygge mitt i byn. I Nora villa politikerna stasa på att får så många turister som möjligt att kommer till vårt område. De verkligen prioritera detta. Det som lockar är bla Bergslagsleden, mountiinbike tracks, svamp och bärplockning. Att campa och bada, och uppleva lugnet och djurlivet – och allt hänger på att vi har en fin nature. Varje dag vandrar det förbi och cyclar turister från alla världens hörn vid min stuga och de säger att det är fantastisk med all skog och fina natur.

Just nu blir det fler och fler kalhyggen runt byn. Om detta fortsätter kommer turisterna inte ha något vacker att åka till.

Jag förstår det är skogsproduktion det handlar om, men kan man inte tänka sig en steg längre och avverka på ett hållbart sätt nära byar och turisttäta områden. Dess kalhyggen är som sår i naturen och det kommer att ta så många år innan de läker. Vem villa besöka dem?

Borde inte Sveaskog som är staten, alltså vi, tänka på att bevara omgivningarna runt byar och turisttäta områden? Fortsätta detta så kommer inte det finnas någon vacker skog kvar.

Erik Burghgraaff – from The Netherlands has visited regularly for 6 years

This place has such beautiful nature. To take away all forest would be devastating not only for our generation but for coming generations. The reforestation cycle is so long! How in a sane mind could one make such a decision – to leave the nature as if it is a war zone!!!  You can see it all round Ramshyttan already. Please save the last pieces of forest.

Kristina Bervenståhl – Ramshyttebo sedan 2001

Jag är ägare till Ramshyttans äldsta Bergsmansgård byggår före 1861. Ramshyttan är en av de småbyar som uppskattas av de boende men även av alla turister som passerar dagligen inte bara från närområdet utan också nerifrån Europa. Dessa uppskattar precis som vi att vi har frisk luft, rent vatten, tystnad o vilda djur. Om skogen försvinner förstörs närmiljön i Ramshyttan för innevånarna men även för alla turister från när och fjärran som besöker oss i sitt sökande efter en vacker och ursprunglig natur och hittar oss via sina datorer. Jag hoppas att alla förstår vad eftersökta dessa miljöer blir i framtiden med tanke på den miljöförstöring som försiggår.

Juha Raivio – Finnish musician – has lived here to write music together with Ramshyttan resident, the singer Aleah (died 2016 and has a memorial garden facing the Sågdammen forest). 

We walked and rode horses among the beauty of these woods and we wrote the Hour of the Nightingale Album together inspired by these woods around us. I wrote Swallow the Sun’s Emerald Forest and the Blackbird, Songs from the North triple album and Hallatar album inspired by these woods and landscapes. Aleah did all the photography for Songs of the North album in these forests. I even shot a vido for the song ” Pray for the winds to come” in these very same woods they are going to destroy.

Magnus Hansen & Carin Juhlinhave lived in Ramshyttan for 9 years.

We are against the cutting down of any more forests in Ramshyttan. Our area in Kilsbergen is called Eco Park by Svea Skog. The forest around Ramshyttan ought to be considered as ecologically important.

Kathleeen Fennfrom South Africa – lived in Ramshyttan for 6 years, been visiting Ramshyttan for 13 years.

They are murdering our forests. Surely there are some official bodies in Sweden who can step in and save these beautiful forests around Ramshyttan. It is my understanding that Ramshyttan is an important part of Bergslagsleden, not only precious to Swedes but an important tourist attraction.

Victor Fennhas lived in Ramshyttan for 6 years, been visiting for 12 years and former owner of an Insurance Broking Company that insured growing timber in South Africa.

Referring to the Sågdammen forest:

This is not a plantation I would want to insure – it is steep and rocky and marshy. Not worth very much (from a production point of view). It looks like a jungle. If they fell this little forest it is not going to recover for a long time.

Howard & Ingrid Simson owner of the “manor” (herrgård) in Ramshyttan for 8 years.

The rhetoric of Sveaskog and of the Swedish government about sustainability seems to be forgotten – judging by the scarred ground and the big deforestation on our doorstep. It’s not acceptable that they cut all around us and then come right into our village to take the last grown forests AND remove our wind shelter.

Per-Olov Broddesonlives in Ramshyttan since 2016.

Jag förstår inte varför de vill fälla den lilla skogen (Sågdammen skog). Det är så svårt att köra en stor maskin runt i, den är full av träsk där maskinerna kan fastna, träden är inte fantastiska för timmer – men det är en vacker plats att besöka för bär och svamp. När de har kört runt där – det blir inget kvar, även om de inte skär alla träd. Om de lämnar en rad av några träd på banken som de har planerat kommer det bara att se dumt ut.

Roland Stanbridgeowner Grindtorp farm for 12 years:

Their enormous logging machines cause immense environmental damage which will probably not recover for hundreds of years. They should leave our last forests in Ramshyttan to help regeneration of the whole area with different types of mushrooms, plants, insects, animals and birds. Ramshyttan and the surrounding forests had, until recently, wonderful biodiversity. This attracted scores of international visitors. Now we are being surrounded by clearcut ‘kalhygge’. We hardly see deer or elk anymore….

Michal Kaczmarek –  Polish citizen, visited Ramshyttan many times and became a resident here 2.5 years ago.

I visited for many years and walked a lot in the forests. They have cut too much. There was some really beautiful forest on a hill by Ramsjön. When I came back I was shocked. It looked like the moon.

Gillian Stanbridgeowner of a house in Ramshyttan for 11 years and been coming here for 17 years – the targeted forest on Sågdammen is within full view of the house.

My heart broke when I saw what Sveaskog did to the vast forest near us, which was so full of magic and memories of picking mushrooms and berries with my daughter Aleah who died. That special forest has become acres and acres of nothingness churned up by their giant forestry machines – and it now feels like the end of the world. For weeks I have woken with dread every time I hear a heavy vehicle, as if it were the sound of tanks roaring in to conquer our village.

I have been talking to Sveaskog representatives about saving the last forests in and around our village of Ramshyttan – all targeted for cutting – including the beautiful forest fringing the lake in front of our house. They have been very helpful but need to find a way between the rules of their vast organization, in order to fulfil the promise of the new generation of more ecologically aware staff, in line with a new generation of Swedes who value biodiversity.

I live with the Sågdammen forest day and night – and I will shrivel inside if it is destroyed. It has a delicate ecology, with marshes, fabulous mosses and a little stream, and I am very worried about the plans to leave only a fringe of trees on the bank; they will stick up like a broken comb and the wind will howl through the valley. I am worried about Sveaskog’s insistence on taking all the spruce (gran) – as it is an important part of our wind shelter. Also – to me the spruce is a truly Nordic tree full of the magic of Dunderklumpen and Swedish folkore. Can’t the very old ones be left along the ski trail as they add so much magnificence?

We want a lush, exciting entrance to our village – not a kalhygge followed in later years by a grey green growth – and finally something you could call a forest perhaps 40 years later – most likely with no kantarell. I will then be long gone and so will most of my neighbours.

SOME COMMENTS BY TOURIST VISITORS & NATURSKYDDSFÖRENING (NATURE CONSERVATION SOCIETY)

Agate CurieFrench citizen – visited Ramshyttan for a holiday and to help with organic farming

The nature of Sweden is remarkably preserved, In contrary to most areas in the world, and it was especially impressive in your area. The air is pure, the woods are alive, walking in it was wonderful. I think it’s of the utmost importance to keep these natural jewels intact…And if only to appeal to the governmental priority, its nature is the first reason to visit the country for most travelers. You take away its nature, you give up the money for tourism. That’s of course not my personal concern but it should be one of the government’s.

Clementine CurieFrench-American citizen – has spent many months in Ramshyttan in the last 2 years, and worked from here.

The first time I came to Sweden in 2016, I was stunned by the beauty of the snow-covered forest of Ramshyttan, the epitome of what I imagined a Nordic scenery to look like. The forest and nature are truly what makes this area a magical and special place, one amongst very few of its kind left in the world. It is a treasure far more precious than any immediate profit could ever be. More recently, I was devastated to see what has been done to some areas of the forest already – they have been turned into battlefields, graveyards.

A forest that is centuries old can’t be replaced simply by planting new trees, especially of just one species. The relationships and interactions between trees are complex, and should be understood and respected by those who claim management of the forests (for reference, see for example the documentary “Intelligent trees”). In our own interest and that of future generations, we must start working with nature rather than against it.

Henrik Perrin – Ordförande Naturskyddsförening Nora.

Det är främst tre regler som ska beaktas av oss och ansvariga skogsägare.

  1. Social hänsyn: Varje avverkning ska ske med social hänsyn som t ex vindskydd för privat egendom eller andra direkt påverkande faktorer som försämrar de boendes förhållanden.
  2. Ekonomisk hänsyn: Enligt FSC ska särskild hänsyn tas om skötseln av skogen påverkar företagares utkomst av marken ifråga. I Ramshyttan finns flera näringsidkare med hästuthyrning, kulturarbetare, konstnärer som är direkt beroende av naturen för att kunna bedriva sina respektive rörelser. Detta beskrivs mycket väl i petitionen.

Den ekonomiska hänsynen måste även ses i ett vidare perspektiv då en hel kommuns ekonomi påverkas i detta fall. Nora lever på sin kulturmiljö, inte bara hyttor och träkåkar utan även den helhet som skapas av en vacker natur med mycket liv och aktiviteter. Moutainbikeleder, ekoturism, bergslagsleden, ljusstråk, turisters önskan att få uppleva vår ”unika” natur, hästridning, inspiration för konstnärsskap mm mm blir direkt påverkade negativt av kalhyggen och andra ”naturbruks”-metoder. Nora kommun borde vara mycket bekymrade över denna fråga nu och i framtiden.

  1. Alla bolag som lyder under FSC ska på anmodan från boende och andra intressenter i det aktuella området för skogsbruksåtgärder, komma ut för ett samrådsmöte på plats. Detta har Nora kommun och alla boende i Ramshyttan rätt till.

MAIN POINTS OF THE PETITION

  1.  QUALITY OF LIFE & RECREATION. Our forests are important to us for walking, riding, picking berries and mushrooms, photography, painting, inspiration, peace and enjoyment. We chose Ramshyttan as a place to live largely because of its position amidst forests and lakes. We want the last forests in the village to be preserved.
  2. TOURISM POTENTIAL AROUND BERGSLAGSLEDEN. Ecotourism is an important source of economic growth for Bergslagen, now and in the future. Tourism advertising always mentions the unspoilt forests.  Not only in Ramshyttan area but in Nora and other areas of Bergslagen tourism will be negatively affected by the lack of forests worth walking, riding or biking through so close to Bergslagsleden, and the disappointing sight of the devastated newly deforested areas.  Riding in Ramshyttan is famous and people come from far and wide to ride on its many forested paths. The village should be left with some real forest or tourists will feel cheated and will certainly not recommend that others visit.
  3. DESTRUCTION OF BERRIES, KANTARELL & OTHER BIODIVERSITY. Because of modern forestry methods with huge logging machines we in Ramshyttan have lost many or most of the rich berry and mushroom picking forests in a wide radius. The number of plant species (and assumedly of animal species) has been reduced drastically with planting of single species.  This makes it all the more urgent to save our last forests.
  4. REPLANTING & ACCESSBILITY.  We are surrounded by large areas where forests have been cut down and dense growth of saplings or grey green brush have taken their place – too tight together for us to walk through. A few pockets of biodiversity must be left so that the vast areas cut down can regenerate in a healthy way with seeds and spores carried in the wind or by birds and insects. Please leave our last little forests.
  5. SMALL FORESTS. Our last forests in Ramshyttan are small forests, worth relatively little economically if one considers the destruction of our biosphere, quality of life for villagers and the negative impact on tourism.
  6. SÅGDAMMEN FOREST’S DELICATE ECOLOGY. The Sågdammen forest due for “avverkning” (felling) is seen from the Pershyttan-Ramshyttan road leading to Bergslagsleden. It is a very delicate environment with several marshes, a variety of mosses, a small stream, beaver-gnawed trunks, badger homes and mixed species of trees and undergrowth. Leaving a standard 10m band of trees on the bank will spoil the beauty of the lake and drastically reduce shelter from the wind. All the spruce are to be felled and most of the pines, further increasing winds in the valley. There are “naturvårds” ribbons placed near stream, marshes and bank – but it is such a small, steep forest it is hard to see how the machines will avoid creating immense damage. The forest will not regenerate easily due to large areas of boulders and marsh.**
  7. WIND SHELTER. We already have very high winds and now they will become even more destructive. The swathe of forest along Sågdammen and skirting the village to the old trail to Mogetorp should not be removed. **
  8. BERGSLAGSLEDEN. Some of the planned felling operations in the above map are along the famous forest trail (red/stippled line on map), and along the ski trail in the village area. Care should be taken not to give passers-by – on foot, on horseback, on cycles, on bikes and on skis – a feeling of desolation and loss. There are further close-by areas awaiting felling outside the scope of the map, where the impact should also be carefully considered.
  9. AWARENESS OF AFFECTED COMMUNITIES. Forest owners should show special consideration around communities where local people have a strong interest in interacting with unspoilt nature.

** Gillian Stanbridge has already communicated with Nils Nygren about the wind protection provided for the whole valley by the forest on Sågdammen, and the delicate ecology in that waterside forest in danger of total destruction from the big wheels of logging machines. He said that Rune Andersson would get in touch with Gillian Stanbridge. He hoped a mutually satisfactory position could be reached. A field assistant Moa, recently given the brief of Ramshyttan’s forestry, walked with Gillian and Marie Elversson through the site on 17 July.  Moa will visit again to study the forests and to try to find a more favourable solution that possibly takes into account both natural assets like Sågdammen and community recreation. Gillian informed her she already had a petition from villagers, and that she would send it as support for Moa’s endeavours.

We thank Sveaskog for a chance to talk to staff and air our views, and trust that our wishes will help to shape plans for sustainable and community-aware forestry in Ramshyttan area and surroundings in Bergslagen.

On behalf of ourselves as residents of Ramshyttan, our children and their children

On behalf of our visitors from Nora, Örebro, Stockholm and further afield (Holland, France, Germany, England, Ireland, Thailand, South Africa, USA and more)

On behalf of the riders who cross the world to ride on our famous forested paths

On behalf of our budding eco tourism economy in Ramshyttan and Berglslagen

We plead that our last few small forests in Ramshyttan should be preserved.

HELP TO SAVE OUR FORESTS

To sign the petition to save our last forests in Bergslagen and Ramshytan

CLICK HERE

WHAT IS RAMSHYTTAN

Ramshyttan is a picturesque village with a 400 year old history of iron working , situated in Bergslagen on Bergslagsleden, 500m from Ramsjön. It is a popular destination for Örebro and Nora people for swimming, cycling, berry picking, and mushroom picking – forest recreation – and hundreds of people walk through the village and along its paths including Bergslagsleden every summer.  It is also a growing eco tourism destination, like the rest of Bergslagen, and several Ramshyttan properties get income from stays by tourist visitors. Ramshyttan Horse Farm is becoming increasingly well known – riders come from all over Sweden and abroad to ride on many paths and quiet roads through the forests according to Allamansrätt.

In snowy winters, people from Örebro and further afield ski through Ramshyttan village and through a spectacularly beautiful forest in the heart of the village – which is one of the highlights of the trail along with the meadows, Friesian horses and red and white houses of Ramshyttan. That spectacular forest is one of those due to be cut.

GOOD THINGS

  • Sveaskog have marked out some small areas for special attention regarding culture (kulturhänsyn) and nature conservation (naturvårds hänsyn) in the targeted forests. The culture markers follow an ancient trail from Ramshyttan that goes through forests (including one of the targeted forests marked for avverkning) towards Mogetorp. Some of the kulturvård markers indicated the ruins of a community 100 years ago which lies in another old forest close to Ramshyttan, which has already been cut bare while preserving the remains.  A few naturvårds ribbons can be seen in the beautiful forest by the ski track awaiting “avverkning”; and near some marshes in Sågdammen forest and along the bank of the water. Many ribbons are half hidden so it’s a lot to expect that the drivers rushing to get through their work will not cause damage.
  • Fortunately, when cutting down vast areas c.  2010, Sveaskog has left a small stand of trees around one of the shelters on Bergslagsleden (the famous forest trail) and that means there are berries and mushrooms there too for the tourists (subject to competition). Earlier they cut away a beautiful forest up on the left bank of the Bergslagsleden pathway from Ramshyttan and on both sides further on. Pines were left far apart in part of the forest – which remains quite bleak. In other areas there is a plantation growing up  – at this stage not very interesting.
  • Also fortunate, a visionary employee of Sveaskog sold forests and meadows in the village to Grindtorp farm to prevent the sort of trouble we experience now. So there are beautiful pastures where horses feed; and some small areas of very old forest standing (mostly birch but with some genuine old forest covered in lichen), used for keeping horses and thus not usually visited by the village. Also there are some beautiful birch groves in Ramshyttan nature reserve, which was donated to Örebro by one of the former residents – as well as lovely pasture land where cattle are grazed in summer.
  • On the far corner of Ramsjön (a few km from the village centre) is part of the Kilsbergen Ecopark, created just before Sveaskog started massive felling “avverkning” in Ramshyttan area in 2010. There is a beautiful stand of trees on the far corner of Ramsjön (lake) beside the forest road to Närkeskil. (marked red on the map with text nyckelbiotop). However much of the park area is scrub – not old forests.
  • A nature reserve (domänreservat) protects the running stream from the waterfall out of Sågdammen to Kvarndammen and on to Lilla Ramsjön – one of the most exquisite parts of Ramshyttan and Bergslagsleden. World class beauty though limited in extent. A few km along the ski trail that passes through the village, you can find the remains of an old community and next to it a nature reserve of magnificent trees, stretching down to the river and the site of the former mill. It is a pity that they did not try or could not add the area of the old community to the nature reserve. Sveaskog in May this year did an immaculate kalhygge on the site of the old village. Kalhygge in the sense that no trees were left on the site (though remaining in the nature reserve). Immaculate in the sense that they exposed various remains like a former cellar, and left 1.3m high trunks of trees around the various remains  – “kulturstubbe”. Care was taken not to entirely remove the moss cover of the ground – though the wheels have left ruts, and a former transport road from the village was ignored in their preservation efforts.

WORRYING PAST

During the last large scale forestry operation around Ramshyttan in 2010, Sveaskog’s machine drivers caused damage to ancient paths that traverse this village. Later they tried to fix one of the stone-paved paths – which is good, but easier of course than restoring biodiversity  (See my think-piece blog written at the time.)

REFER TO BLOG 2010:
ECOTOURISM CHOMPED BY MACHINES

IN PERSPECTIVE

Mopping up the last old forests of Ramshyttan follows vigorous forestry and kalhygge operations by Sveaskog in other areas of Bergslagen last year – including Dalkarlsberg and Pershyttan, a picturesque village full of history with a steam train station and thousands of visitors vising the old mill. A vast forest was taken down facing the station – once a wall of impressive gigantic trees – they could at least have left that awe inspiring living wall of greenery and cut out down trees out of sight. The forest by the Pershyttan lake was also cut down (a smaller area) and some trees left along the bank of the lake and a jogging trail. One is grateful for the trees, but looking at the lake from the road, it doesn’t look like a forest on the bank – just like trees standing. On the banks of Kvarndammen a forest was cut down leaving only a single line of trees, quite far apart. Birch brush is growing up beyond it – not very interesting.

SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY

The Swedish parliament and Sveaskog itself have spoken out for sustainable forestry and Sveaskog has practiced it in some areas. Please hold up these principles for us in Bergslagen and in our village of Ramshyttan. We have lost too many forests too fast and the forestry methods have destroyed the undergrowth and biodiversity. In villages and the outskirts of cities – sustainable forestry methods should be developed so as not to destroy the undergrowth and the biodiversity that gives us so much joy. Tree cutting need not devastate the landscape as in the latest extensive “kalhygge” by Ramshyttan village. Patchwork cutting, as developed in recent years, is more acceptable, or most preferably continuous cutting of mature trees, which leaves a natural forest with trees of all kinds, shapes and sizes, along with the precious undergrowith (and provides a regular income). Please consider employing this ultimate form of sustainable foresty in villages and important tourist areas to maintain their appeal and recreation potential, and to help maintain biodiversity for us and the generations who come after us.

SOME PICTURES TO COME

forest stream

SÅGDAMMEN’S DELICATE ECOLOGY

Sågdammen, is the central waterway in Ramshyttan and can be seen from two little bridges used by traffic and hikers on Bergslagsleden. It is also the view from 413 Ramshyttan.

In the projected forestry operation with big machines in the little forest, this is the most varied and vulnerable area targeted. I have the following concerns in addition to my fear about my precious view.

  • The wind through the valley. Only 9 pines are to be left in the whole forest (an estimate excluding trees on the bank) – and all the spruce (GRAN) will be removed (which is the main growth and wind protection of this dense old forest). On the banks, trees will be left in a narrow area  – leaving little protection from already destructive winds. In one area I understand there will be no trees – thus creating a wind tunnel.
  • Protection of the forest marshes (sumpmark). It is important that the big forestry machines do not traverse the swamps and that this area is left alone. It is full of beautiful mosses – 3 different kinds including a rare moss I heard.
  • Protection of a little waterway in the forest There are some nature conservation markers near the waterway, but not along its whole length. It is important the giant machines do not cross this delicate waterway anywhere along its length.
  • Sustainable tourism. By leaving only denuded stones and a few trees here and there, the beauty of the lake will be spoilt, creating a negative impact on eco tourism – by disappointing visitors to Ramshyttan and along Bergslagsleden walking, riding, cycling, and camping. Niche tourism is largely spread by word of mouth and ecotourist visitors seeing the last forests cut down in Ramshyttan will be unlikely to bring new tourists.
  • Poor future as a production forest (plantation) due to a large area of boulders, marshland and crumbly slopes and river bank. The majority of the trees are spruce (gran) possibly because their roots can hold on in these stony thin soils – but all spruce will be cut down.
  • Destroying undergrowth and animal habitats. Will the economic gains in cutting down this poor forest for timber be worth the destruction of a priceless habitat for animals and plants?
  • Reducing recreation potential for villagers, The locals live here to be amidst the forests for walking, berry picking, mushroom picking, riding, or conducting tourism. Örebro, Nora and other visitors also visit, searching for berries, mushrooms etc. Almost every berry and mushroom patch will have disappeared in the next few weeks and our favourite walks are looking sad and sorry. Several residents are so devastated by the deforestation of Ramshyttan that they think of selling and leaving, including myself.
  • Responsible sustainable forestry/maintaining biodiversity.  There is a qualitative difference between a forest in a village and out in the bush, and the responsibility of a state owned company to think also of the well-being of the people it impacts with it operations.

Gillian Stanbridge Ramshyttan


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