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Today The Gaia Foundation join in unity into a growing international network of governmental agencies, scientists, Indigenous and local communities and their organisations, led by the Snowchange Cooperative ( to voice our concerns regarding the looming clear cuts in the last boreal forests on the lot “Ostola” of Havukkavaara, village of Selkie, North Karelia, Finland by your state enterprise Metsähallitus (

The Ostola forest, directly adjacent to already protected core of boreal old growth in Havukkavaara area has become internationally known for both its biodiversity values (being home to large boreal mammals such as the European Brown Bear, Wolverine, Lynx, Boreal Wolf as well as EU Directive -relevant bird species, including several Owl species, the Greenish Warbler, Capercaillie and Forest Grouse) as well as cultural significance. It is the last of the unprotected boreal forests in the area of Selkie. Already in 2010-2011 Metsähallitus logged large tracts of the remaining boreal, even removing the stumps from the ground.

This forest is located in the ancestral areas of Selkie village, home of Kalevala-style epic poems, which are the age-old oral histories, traditions and culture of Finns and Karelians. Ostola forest has been visited by many international scholars, including the leading ecologist, OBE Jules Pretty (University of Essex, UK), Indigenous and local community leaders and conservation specialists.

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As recently as in early November 2014, Ostola forest was the site where the US nature documentary “Our Place on Earth” ( was filmed.Ostola forest is sought to be included in the international, UN-recognized network of Indigenous and Local Community Conserved Areas. During the World Parks Congress held recently in Australia, the Head of the Conservation of Biological Conservation and Global Enviromental Facility of the United Nations listened with surprise and concern the urgency of the situation of the Ostola forest and the planned Metsähallitus clear cuts.

Given that so little of the boreal old growth and community-relevant forests remain in Finland, we urge you to:

1.Immediately stop all plans of economic forestry and clear cuts in the Ostola lot and install a full moratorium on this lot indefinitely.

2.Start direct negotiations with the representatives of the Snowchange Cooperative to conserve this last piece of forest, while allowing community-relevant uses, such as hunting, berry picking, cultural and traditional uses of the forest. More specifically we demand that you conserve legally the 6,6 hectares of intact Ostola old growth and create a minimum of 50 hectares transition zone around the core of the old growth for the forest to recover over time.

3. Decide to protect this forest immediately after these negotiations have been concluded.

We will continue to mount pressure on Metsähallitus enterprise and expand this letter campaign in solidarity with others around the world until such time the forest is saved.


The Gaia Foundation

Take Action:

You can support by signing the new Avaaz petition to save the forest or by copying and pasting this letter, signing it from yourself or your organisation and emailing it to the following decision makers at Metsahallitus, the state enterprise that wants to do the logging:

Mr. Rauno Väisänen, Head of Nature Conservation,

Mr. Antti Otsamo, Head of Development and Environment,

Mr. Arto Kammonen, Environmental Specialist, North Karelia,

Mr. Matti Heikurainen, Director, Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture, Finland,