AWI e-briefs - 07/15/2010 (Plain Text Version)

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FSC Launches Revised U.S. Forest Management Standard

The United States national office of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC–US) recently announced the launch of the revised FSC-US Forest Management Standard for forest operations in the contiguous U.S.

The revised standard has been approved by FSC International which requires all accredited forest management standards based on its 10 Principles and 56 Criteria to undergo a review and consider necessary revision every five years.

According to FSC, the revised U.S. Standard marks the end of a three year review and revision process concentrating on the myriad environmental, social, and economic values associated with forests and forest products. The revised standard harmonizes nine regional standards into one national standard to reduce complexity and improve efficiencies in the management and auditing process. Regional variation is maintained in key areas of forest management and conservation where local conditions, including forest types and ecological processes, warrant different management techniques.

FSC governance and procedures for standards and policy-setting are founded on stakeholder collaboration and transparency.

The new standard retains key environmental, social, and economic concepts from the regional standards, but improves consistency and clarity in application, FSC announced. The distinguishing hallmarks of FSC certification remain intact in the revision, including old growth protection, restrictions on conversion and clearcuts, restrictions on chemical use, and consultation with community groups, and protection of indigenous people’s rights, FSC reported.

The Family Forest Indicators are designed to reflect that certain FSC criteria (such as the capacity for forest management to affect local economies, larger social conditions, and large scale ecological processes) may not apply to family forests individually. Additionally, the certification procedures take into account the potential cumulative impacts of multiple family forests in close proximity on these same issues. In some cases new indicators have been developed to address conditions unique to small ownerships, according to FSC.

The revised standard is available for use immediately and all forests seeking FSC-certification but not currently FSC-certified should be evaluated to this revised standard. Those forests that are currently FSC-certified will have until October 8, 2011 to be in conformance to this standard. 

For more information, visit the FSC Web site to see what is new.  [Return to top]