The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) reports that the area of U.S. and Canadian forests managed according to its environmental and social standards surpassed the 100 million acre mark in June 2009. This represents a 40% growth since January 2008.
“The core driver of this growth is a shared commitment among landowners, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to conserve forest ecosystems and safeguard the rights of native peoples and local communities,” said Corey Brinkema, president of FSC-US. “And while this is a major achievement, it remains but one shared step in doing the right thing for forests, people and wildlife.”
Independent third-party certification to FSC’s rigorous standards is the leading means of verifying environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable forest management practices around the world. Certification allows responsible forest management practices to be valued in the marketplace.
The amount of FSC-certified forests globally has tripled since 2004, to more than 281 million acres in 82 countries. And, in the past four years alone, the area of FSC-certified forestland in the United States and Canada has nearly tripled. And in the United States, the number of FSC Chain-of-Custody businesses ( those certified to buy and sell FSC products from their origin in the forest to their end use) has grown to more than 3,000, representing a five-fold increase since January 2005.
“FSC’s growth among American businesses has a direct bearing on the protection of forests and forest-dependent communities in North America and throughout the world,” says Kerry Cesareo, deputy director, Forests Program of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-US. “FSC is the high bar in forest certification, because its standards protect forests of significant conservation value and consistently deliver meaningful improvements in forest management on the ground.”
In the Canadian Boreal forest, FSC certification has resulted in the protection of some 7.5 million acres of forestland previously intended for logging.
FSC is also the only forest certification system that ensures that the rights of Aboriginal Peoples and forest-dependent communities are respected. FSC is governed by an open membership and three equal chambers – environmental, social, and economic. Its standards are developed with the full input of all stakeholders, ensuring that Aboriginal and other community and environmental interests have equal voices.
“Iisaak is proud to be a part of the 100 million acres of FSC-certified forests in Canada and the U.S.,” said Derek Drake, operations Manager of Iisaak Forest Resources Ltd., a 100% First Nations owned and operated forest management company in British Columbia providing western red cedar, yellow cedar, and other natural products. “FSC has been a good fit with our business philosophy. We are showing the world how to maximize the value of products through innovative forest practices that respect ecological and cultural values.”