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E-M:/ Certification of Forests



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Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org
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Enviro-Mich folks:

The points raised about the weaknesses of the Forest Stewardship Council are
mostly valid concerns, which is why in the upper Great Lakes Region several
environmental organizations are involved in the standards setting for this
region, and withholding judgment on the sufficiency of those standards until
they are completed.  Those draft standards will be put out for review by any
interested people so anyone on this list can have a chance to comment on them.
I'll try to post more information about this as the process moves along.

A quick background on this is important:  FSC was originally created with the
idea of certifying forests in countries with virtually no environmental laws
as a way to push improvements in management.  It is a certification that runs
from the management of the forest all the way to the retailer, with the goal
of assuring that chain of custody is followed, so there are no scams in
substituting uncert wood for certified.  European countries are
increasingly requiring wood sold there be FSC certified, so there is a
market being created.  The US was a lot slower to get the process going than
other countries, and as a result of environmental groups concerns (including
the position by many groups that Natl Forests should not be commercially
logged) FSC does not certify National Forest lands.  But there is a question
raised by people in other countries about why the US forests should be treated
differently than those in other nations.

In this region, one reason environmental groups are involved in the FSC is
that there are NO forest practice acts in any of our states (including
Michigan) that provide standards for private or public forest lands, and
we don't expect, with the industry pushing their own voluntary standards in
SFI, that this will happen any time soon. These standards are to apply for all
forest lands, and getting something that pushes better management on private
lands is a critical goal here since there is more private forest land than
public land in this region.

State forests in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and New York are ALREADY going
through certification by FSC, and Michigan has been considering it. We sought
to have FSC decline to certify these lands, but the national board declined,
and so those who are concerned about state forests are seeking to assure the
standards reflect the unique nature of public lands, and to provide standards
that are what should be in place on these lands.  Since the state forests
often fall well short of that now, this is an opportunity to push them to
improve, and has already had the effect in Minnesota of the state forest
system creating a mechanism for appeal of timber sales that was not even
considered previously.

Yes, there are still weaknesses, which is why some of us have chosen to try to
be involved. Also, except for the public lands item below, all of these issues
have a potential to be included in the standards in one way or another, and
"primary forests" are already banned from certification under FSC.  Check out
the website (I dont have it here) to find out more--

Anne Woiwode



FSC does not have strong standards by any means. Until they meet the 
following requirements, FSC is woefully lacking in any real on the ground 
protection.

1) public lands will not be certified
2) partial certification will not be permitted
3) chip industries and paper production will not be certified
4) even-aged management (including shelterwood cuts, 2-staged
shelterwood cuts, and seed tree cuts) will not be certified
5) old growth (primary forests) will not be certified 


Murray Dailey





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==============================================================
ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"
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