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Where have all the forests gone?

June 9, 2007

Finland’s beautiful old-growth forests are becoming extremely rare these days. In the Etelä-Savo region where I live, such forests account for under 10% of all forests. In southern Finland such untouched forests are becoming increasingly rare.

While forest companies are destroying and planting forests that look like wheat fields, one should ask how planted forests will affect Finnish culture. One of the cornerstones of this country’s culture and its manifestations through music and art hinges on the forest, which has grown in the past as freely as the Finns.

But what will happen to our culture if such forests that inspired men like Jean Sibelius, Akseli Gallen-Kallela and others exist in emaciated patches here and there?

This is one of the greatest tragedies that Finland is facing today: the rapid loss of its virgin forests fueled by the dynamic duo of greed and profit. Some of these trees, like the spruces, may have taken over 100 years to grow but a harvester can fell them in a matter of seconds.

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