20 June 2022

A new justification is needed for environmental activists

Biodiversity crisis is one of the big environmental issues today. Although the problem is worst in the low latitudes, the topic is intensively discussed also in the European Union, which is in a process of preparing a stringent legislation to save the environment. 

In its current form EU biodiversity strategy would have serious effects on the Nordic forestry, which in Finland gives work to almost 100 000 people, and forms the basis of almost 20 percent of the export value. Despite these economic facts, a considerably higher amount of wood is growing in the Finnish forests now than was hundred years ago.   

One of the keystone species for biodiversity in North-European forests is bilberry. It is a valuable berry that many people are picking in forests, but it also is an extremely important source of food for many wild animals, especially birds - but also the king of the forests, bear. 

The environmentalists have for decades claimed that current forestry practices are reducing the amount of bilberries, and through food chain many other animals (example). The scientific basis supporting their claim are old investigations that showed bilberry area to have reduced between years 1950 and 1995. 

Now a new investigation is ongoing and its first results show that the forest area covered by bilberries has not reduced since 1995, but in contrast it has increased. Therefore the bilberry does not suffer from Nordic forestry, which has intensified between all those years, but may even have benefited on its current practices. 

Neither will many birds suffer from the lack of bilberries, but their reducing numbers result from some other causes. And those may or may not be related to forestry.  

In my opinion this little example demonstrates extremely well the problem typical to fanatic single topic movements. They have decided beforehand - based on their ideology - what is the problem they are opposing, and thereafter they search for evidence supporting their view from wherever that can be found. 

Therefore I do not expect truth about bilberries in Finland to change the opinions of environmental organisations towards commercial forestry. Instead, they will find other issues that seem to support their ideology. And use them against economic activities, that they have decided to oppose. That is, the Nordic forestry.

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