Demand for biomass, for example for the massive Drax power station in the UK, is driving forest destruction. Drax used to burn coal. Now it burns wood pellets. This week Channel 4 looked at the link between clearcutting in Estonia and increasing demand for biomass.
The Forest Stewardship Council standard for Sweden “allows forests to be converted into tree plantations, through the use of clear-cut logging, soil scarification (ridging) and chemical fertilisation”, writes Amanda Tas of Protect the Forest in a recent piece on the Plantation Definition Discussion website.
Greenpeace has just released a very critical report about FSC’s failure to prevent forest destruction even in FSC certified logging operations in Russia. The report is titled, “FSC in Russia: Certifying the Destruction of Intact Forest Landscapes” and can be downloaded here. Greenpeace reports that,
The FSC is failing to distinguish good forest management practices from the typical model of unsustainable forest exploitation widely employed in intact boreal, or taiga, forests. It is therefore failing in its mission to be a tool for forest protection.
Another news documentary causing embarrassment to the FSC appears in its home country, exposing the questionable practices of certified companies. ARD’s Plus-minus programme travelled to Russian Karelia to inspect the forestry practices of IKEA subsidiary and timber supplier, Swedwood. What it found there was not pretty. As the documentary points out, Swedwood’s large clear-cuts in ‘old growth’ forest appear to breach FSC’s requirements concerning the treatment of High Conservation Value forest. The use of heavy machinery on vulnerable soils could have a lasting impact.
On 14 February 2010, SWR, a German TV station broadcast a short film about FSC certification of clearcuts in Sweden.