A new website launched recently reveals the destruction of Massachusetts public forests by clear-cutting, even though they have been FSC certified. Clearcutting MA Public Lands shows a series of aerial photographs taken by a local activist.
It is customary in many organisations to give out-going staff a photo-album showing the person’s accomplishments, for them to cherish in future years. We can’t do that for Heiko Liedeker, who is finally departing as FSC Executive Director, but what we would like to do with this posting is to show some of what has gone so badly wrong in the past – and what we expect the new Executive Director to put right.
Debate is growing in the US about the certification of public forests with FSC and the so-called Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) being the front-running schemes. There are good reasons to question whether, in its current state, FSC is an appropriate tool for certification of the vast areas of forest which are in state and federal public ownership in the US, and which in many cases have very high values for recreational, cultural and nature protection purposes. Some of the potential problems are starkly illustrated by one of the existing major FSC certifications of public forest lands, that of the 1.6 million hectares of the Michigan state forests as managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
A US timber company is suing a New Jersey city authority over its cancellation of a controversial order of FSC certified lumber for repair of its ocean-front boardwalks. In the latest development in this long-running debacle, which has exposed gaping weaknesses in the FSC’s Chain of Custody system, the Louis Grasmick Lumber company of Baltimore has said that it will sue the Ocean City authorities for $1.2 million.
In the New Jersey town of Ocean City, controversy has been raging about the City Council’s planned use of more than a hundred thousand board feet of FSC-certified rainforest timber. The City Council is planning to use the Amazonian wood ipe (pronounced ‘ee-pay’) for a major renewal of its sea-front boardwalks. Many local people – supported by the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club – are opposed to the use of rainforest timber, and have been asking the City Council to use more environmentally acceptable alternatives. The City’s own Environmental Commission unanimously opposed the use of timber from the Amazon.
One of the underlying reasons for the existence of this site is that it is difficult, or impossible, even for the FSC members, to pick their way through the relentless ‘public relations’ output from the Secretariat, and to know what is really going on within the organisation. For example, whilst we hear repeatedly about the expanding area of the Earth’s surface under FSC certification, we never seem to hear about the complaints that have been filed about any of these certificates. We never seem to hear that, for example, almost the entire Indonesian NGO community has, for several years, been calling for a cessation of the issuing of any new FSC certificates in their country (and which has been completely ignored by a number of certifiers and by the FSC itself).
This article was submitted by Mary Pjerrou, Greenwood Earth Alliance, firstname.lastname@example.org:
The following was submitted by the Greenwood Earth Alliance:
This was sent by Jon Mohler, October 2006: