From a correspondent in Canada:
Initially, the FSC Maritime standards came in sound and tight, controversial in the sense that we had a high bar, the highest in the Americas. Since then there has been a slow and steady erosion of the standards by FSC Canada pushing FSC stakeholders in the Maritimes into accepting FSC ‘norms’. Some of us who were part of the early group developing standards are part of woodlot cooperatives that are still FSC certified. We have partially dropped out of the ongoing time consuming volunteer task of keeping focussed on fighting for higher standards. We are a large geographic region, 6 hour drive one way to meetings.
FSC is becoming a less relevant label, it stands for large industry compliance. Forest companies are able to comply, even down to having huge clearcuts (Gordon Cosens land in BC, I believe allows 14,000 acres of clearcut under some justification. To date no large forest company has been certified in the Maritimes, still just the small woodlots. What change to forest management has FSC been able to make? The forest challenges in our region are so much larger, overcutting, mills closing, government bailing out the forest companies time and time again, markets failing, workers whining. Any small forest business is in decline, shareholders from far away from Canada needing to have their profits, our natural resources flooding to supply the USA.
Those of us working on forest issues have our work elsewhere than fighting for good FSC standards.