|Great court success for Swedish forest owners
On 1 February the Swedish Supreme Court for Land and Environment decided that the State Environmental Authority was wrong when they stopped forestry activities due to existence of a red listed mushroom, Sarcosoma globosum. This was a principally very important case for the Swedish forest owners.
Sven Erik Hammar, President of the Federation of Swedish Forest Owners (LRF Skogsägarna), Vice-President of the CEPF Board
“The verdict is a success for ownership rights and strengthens legal certainty for forest owners by saying that no one should be denied the right to use their land without being compensated. The Species Protection Ordinance has been one of the greatest threats to forest owners' right to use their forests. Now we have overcome this threat”, says Sven Erik Hammar, president of the Federation of Swedish Forest Owners (LRF Skogsägarna).
The supreme court concluded that the Species Protection Ordinance, the Swedish implementation of the EU Birds- and Habitats Directives, cannot be implemented in a way that stops “on-going land use” (such as forestry on forest land or agriculture on agricultural land), unless measures to compensate the land owner are taken.
“It is a victory for Sweden’s forest owners, but also for LRF and the entire forest owners' movement. It is now clear that the authorities cannot circumvent the constitutionally protected right to compensation”, says Sven Erik Hammar.
“But this is also a victory for nature and biodiversity. Now the occurrence of rare species does not risk creating major financial loss for the forest owner. This means that the forest owner's willingness to preserve and develop natural values is strengthened.”