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Forest Stewardship Council

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History[edit]

The history of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) starts in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio. The charter was not signed then, but a group of environmentalists, loggers, foresters, and sociologists were inspired, and a year later, in 1993, came together to establish the FSC. The FSC was founded to deal with the lack of a global policy on sustainable foresting. The FSC’s stated mission is: “FSC shall promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests.”

In 1995, the FSC-US established its national chapter in Minneapolis, Minnesota with the stated purpose,

“to coordinate the development of forest management standards throughout the different bio-geographic regions of the U.S., to provide public information about certification and FSC, and to work with certification organizations to promote FSC certification in the U.S. FSC-US has a national presence through the work of its Board of Directors, members, staff, and regional standards coordinators."

However, with offices and contacts in over 40 countries, and their headquarters in Bonn, Germany, the U.S. branch is merely one of many. [1] [2]

Services of the FSC[edit]

The FSC provides internationally recognized standards in sustainable forestry. The FSC has three different certifications that they provide: FSC Forest Management Certification, FSC Chain of Custody Certification, and FSC Controlled Wood. The FSC certifies over 100 million hectares of forest, or the equivalent of roughly 5% of productive forests. [verification needed]

Standards[edit]

The FSC has a list of 10 guiding principles, as well as 57 criteria, that all their certified members are required to hold to. These principles and criteria cover everything from legal issues and indigenous peoples rights to environmental impacts and labor rights. The complete list of their criteria and principles can be found on their website at Standards and Criteria, as well as the Forest Management Standard document.

PRINCIPLE #1: COMPLIANCE WITH LAWS AND FSC PRINCIPLES[edit]

Forest management shall respect all applicable laws of the country in which they occur, and international treaties and agreements to which the country is a signatory, and comply with all FSC Principles and Criteria.

PRINCIPLE #2: TENURE AND USE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES[edit]

Long-term tenure and use rights to the land and forest resources shall be clearly defined, documented and legally established.

PRINCIPLE #3: INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS[edit]

The legal and customary rights of indigenous peoples to own, use and manage their lands, territories, and resources shall be recognized and respected.

PRINCIPLE #4: COMMUNITY RELATIONS AND WORKER’S RIGHTS[edit]

Forest management operations shall maintain or enhance the long-term social and economic well being of forest workers and local communities.

PRINCIPLE #5: BENEFITS FROM THE FOREST[edit]

Forest management operations shall encourage the efficient use of the forest’s multiple products and services to ensure economic viability and a wide range of environmental and social benefits.

PRINCIPLE #6: ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT[edit]

Forest management shall conserve biological diversity and its associated values, water resources, soils, and unique and fragile ecosystems and landscapes, and, by so doing, maintain the ecological functions and the integrity of the forest.

PRINCIPLE #7: MANAGEMENT PLAN[edit]

A management plan — appropriate to the scale and intensity of the operations — shall be written, implemented, and kept up to date. The long-term objectives of management, and the means of achieving them, shall be clearly stated.

PRINCIPLE #8: MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT[edit]

Monitoring shall be conducted — appropriate to the scale and intensity of forest management — to assess the condition of the forest, yields of forest products, chain of custody, management activities and their social and environmental impacts.

PRINCIPLE #9: MAINTENANCE OF HIGH CONSERVATION VALUE FORESTS[edit]

Management activities in high conservation value forests shall maintain or enhance the attributes which define such forests. Decisions regarding high conservation value forests shall always be considered in the context of a precautionary approach.

PRINCIPLE #10: PLANTATIONS[edit]

Plantations shall be planned and managed in accordance with Principles and Criteria 1-9, and Principle 10 and its Criteria. While plantations can provide an array of social and economic benefits, and can contribute to satisfying the world’s needs for forest products, they should complement the management of, reduce pressures on, and promote the restoration and conservation of natural forests.

Who Uses The FSC[edit]

The FSC standards of forest management have been applied in over 57 countries. 5% of productive forests globally, are certified by the FSC and operate to their standards. In Humboldt County, California, the Humboldt Redwood Company, LLC is FSC certified. “Forest certification provides a means by which producers who meet stringent sustainable forestry standards can identify their products in the marketplace, allowing them to potentially receive greater market access and higher prices for their products." [3]

Chain of Custody[edit]

One procedure that helps companies is the Chain of Custody, "A reputable certification scheme which operates in much the same way as certification schemes for organic food." [4]In Humboldt County, the Humboldt Redwood Company, formerly known as PALCO has been certified by the FSC to sell FSC certified saw logs. [5]

Cost of Certification[edit]

Costs of certification can be expensive. A comparison study of costs done by Duke University showed that the size of a forest didn't correlate to final certification price. Eight acres at Duke cost $23,378 for certification compared to NCSU's cost of $24,594 for four an a half acres. A benefit of certification was the knowledge to consumers of a company doing business in an environmentally sustainable fashion. [6]

FSC products[edit]

At Humboldt State University, the new Behavioral and Social Sciences building uses nothing but FSC certified wood in the complex. The floors are made from the cut ends of 2X4s. Another product made from FSC certified wood is Victor Mouse traps.

Notes[edit]

  1. http://www.fscus.org/about_us/
  2. Tolhurst, Nick, Manfred Pohl, Dirk Matten, and Wayne Visser. The A to Z of Corporate Social Responsibility. John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 2010. pg. 195.
  3. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=163631
  4. [Whitefield, Patrick. The Earth Care Manual. edited by Maddy Harland. Permanent Publications: East Meon, UK. 2004. Pgs 134.]
  5. http://www.mrc.com
  6. http://scsf.env.duke.edu/files/CertNCsafprocs.pdf