Ritva Kovalainen, Sanni Seppo  & Ville Tanttu:
Cracked jewel and no-longer woods - reflections on forests

Ritva Kovalainen and Sanni Seppo: End of the Rainbow
Ritva Kovalainen, Sanni Seppo, and Ville Tanttu: Forest Talk
Text: Ritva Kovalainen and Sanni Seppo

We must talk about the forest. The forest is no curiosity, minor issue, or trifling matter. It is a battlefield of a variety of views, but it is also the best means of storing carbon and thus combating climate change. Only by concentrating efforts on our forests can we prevent the loss of thousands of species around us during our lifetime. Approximately 2.9% of the forests in Finland are virgin forests. After cutting, trees do start growing again, but the recovery of nature with all the species and special ecosystems requires hundreds of years of peace. The Finnish government is raising the target profit to be made on forests to make up for the budget deficit, and is increasing the amount of logging as it promotes investment in the bioeconomy, but by doing so, it is cutting the branch we are sitting on. The disaster is already here: the decline in insect and bird populations; 2000 species living in Finnish forests expected to disappear at the current rate; and the ever-warming climate.

In the end, who makes decisions about the future of our common environment and thousands of species, and ultimately about our own future? Large parts of our forests are owned by the state, and legislation also governs the use of private forests. We should and can influence these decisions.

In the film End of the Rainbow, people who have lived in the middle of the forest talk about the transformation of their home areas into raw material repositories for the forest and peat industries. The jewel is broken. It is difficult to perceive the scale of the natural disaster on the basis of trips made from densely populated southern Finland to summer cottages in other regions, but the inhabitants and travellers to the wooded regions experience it in its totality. The reminiscences of Aini, Irma, Pentti and Jouni give us just a faint glimpse of the spirit that used to prevail in the places that were turned inside out by forestry machines.

The film Forest Talk juxtaposes different views on forests. The forestry professional trusts that, in the future, the forest will grow back and replace the “clear-cut desert”, whereas the ecologist sees a large-scale natural disaster that will destroy the biodiversity. What is a fundamental question of life to an activist is exploitable production potential to a professor. How can we form the correct view when bombarded with conflicting information? Is the truth an opinion? Sharing their views on forests are a forester, a forest ecologist, a forest professor, a student, a forest activist, a pensioner and a child.


POTENTIALITy

PVF 2019
The Finnish Museum of Photography