11:18 GMT +306 December 2019
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    Actor Leonardo DiCaprio walks in the stage during a news conference of the movie “The Revenant” in Tokyo, Wednesday, March 23, 2016

    Titanic Star Rushes in to Save Finnish Forest, Finds Only Tree Stumps

    © AP Photo / Eugene Hoshiko
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    Ecologically-minded Hollywood luminary Leonardo DiCaprio has voiced concern over proposed felling on an island on a lake in northern Finland. However, his conservation efforts arrived too late, as the chopping was already completed by the Finnish state-owned forest administrator.

    Recently DiCaprio sounded the alarm on Instagram for the forests of the "beautiful islands in Lammasjärvi" in north-eastern Finland by sharing a Greenpeace post and asking his followers to spread the word to preserve the islands in Kajaani Municipality.

    However, the Finnish State Forest Enterprise (Metsähallitus) had already completed its logging program on Huuskonsaari, Honkinen and Pärtösaari, three tiny islands in Lake Lammasjärvi, several weeks ago. Environmentalists and conservation organizations "woke up" slightly too late, when loggers had already begun their work, which was completed in a matter of days. Juha Aromaa of Greenpeace told Finnish national broadcaster Yle that the forest was destroyed.

    "We arrived a little late, and the felling was in full swing. Now it's over and we cannot help anymore," Juha Aromaa said.

    Metsähallitus, however, saw no problems with clearing the islands of Lammasjärvi. In the course of the work, the islands' recreational value was taken into account, prompting loggers to use more "sparing" methods than usual.

    "We think everything looks quite good there. The trees were too cramped anyway, and now we have opened up the view of the lake," Metsähallitus planning manager Hannu Tolonen told Yle.

    According to Tolonen, the forest environment did not sustain any damage, since it did not have any protected native species. He ensured that the locals will soon enjoy more berry picking on the brighter clearings that have appeared.

    Logging practices in Kainuu Region have long been a thorn in the eye of nature protection organizations. The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC) previously identified a number of flaws in Metsähallitus' felling programs. After conservation activists stepped in, Finland's leading pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso announced it would not buy wood from land involved in environmental disputes.

    Forests cover 23 million hectares (or roughly 75 percent) of Finland, Europe's most heavily-forested country. The forestry industry is a major contributor to Finland's well-being. The sector accounts for approximately 20 percent of Finland's export revenue and it is a major employer, especially in regional areas. All in all, the forest industry directly and indirectly employs approximately 160,000 people in Finland, a nation of 5.5 million.

    ​Leonardo DiCaprio has 16.4 million followers on Instagram, and his call to protect the islands in Lammasjärvi was appreciated by almost 165,000 users. Previously, DiCaprio has posted other awareness-raising pictures, including ones of the world's smallest dolphin, threatened by fishing in California, and China's poisonous smog. In 1998, Leonardo DiCaprio established his own environmental conservation foundation to protect the world's last wild places.

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    forest, environment, Leonardo DiCaprio, Scandinavia, Finland
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