Oppland County is the second largest county in Norway, and besides Oppland, it is the only county in Norway that have no shoreline to the sea. In addition, the county is packed with biodiversity hot spot forests. According to Nordicforests.org, less than one percent of the counties forests are protected by law.
Although Oppland is an interior county, humid forest sets its mark on Oppland. The dry valley of Gudbrandsdalen is the exception. In Ottadalen, the largest arm of Gudbrandsdalen, in the communes of Skjåk and Lom, the annual rainfall are the same as in Sahara. The glaciers are though providing the regions with water in the summer. The forests of southern Oppland in Nordmarka and Totenåsen are bordering the Oslo region, and here you find Europe’s richest Usnea longissima forests. This special lichen is perhaps the most well known species of the valuable Nordic old growth forest species. Further north in Oppland County, in the Lillehammer-Valdres-Gudbrandsdalen region, there are extremely biodiversity rich canyon forests. In the old growth forest, an incredible high amount and variety in old growth forests dependent forest are packed in the same forests. Most of these forests have been thoroughly inventoried during the last years. Even though this information exists, yet no process for protection have started for these forests.
The forests of Oppland are mostly owned by private owners. The norwegian state (Statskog SF) owns some larger areas in Gausdal commune. Many of these old growth forests are in a process to become protected when Ormtjernkampen national park will be enlarged in 2010. As elsewhere in Norway the forests are poorly protected (less than one percent). This is an odd situation as Norway is the richest country in Europe.
Thanks to the last two years of surveys initiated by the Friends of the Earth Norway and certain official surveys, the knowledge is quite good about the remaining old-growth forests in Oppland, and many valuable old-growth forests are now well documented.