FSC Family Forests Alliance Formed






FSC-US has a new partner in helping to expand the success of FSC certification.



“FSC-US is committed to listening to the interests of our stakeholders, and we welcome the FSC Family Forests Alliance as a partner to help us make our connections with family forest interests as effective as possible,” said Ned Daly, FSC-US vice president of operations.



‘This Alliance offers tremendous breadth and a national level opportunity to work together and share resources to help make certification more efficient and effective for family forest owners,” said Ian Hanna of the Northwest Natural Resource Group and core organizer for the FSC Family Forests Alliance.



The FSC Family Forests Alliance provides a national mechanism to bring together individuals and organizations committed to promoting responsible forest stewardship for family forests and pursuing certification and marketing through FSC standards.



“Improving opportunities for small landowners to participate in FSC certification is a global challenge and addressing it will require these types of collaborative efforts,” said Eric Palola of the National Wildlife Federation and FSC International Board Member.


To date about half a million acres of family forestland in the United States have become FSC-certified. Although this is a significant accomplishment, it represents only a small fraction of the roughly 250 million acres of family forests in the country.



“This ownership group is the largest in the country and is in many ways the most afflicted by poor management practices and under the greatest pressure to convert their forests to other land uses,” said Don Arnosti of the Community Forestry Resource Center and core organizer for the FSC Family Forests Alliance.


“As forest use and ownership patterns continue to shift, increasing the adoption of responsible forest management practices among small private landowners is increasingly important to the success of forest conservation efforts, the forest products industry and to the health of forest dependent communities,” said Dave Bubser of SmartWood.


Many advocates for forest certification recognize that a long-term challenge is to ensure that certification does not become a new hurdle for private landowners. “We are very interested in finding ways to make certification work better for small landowners. The key is for benefits to outweigh the costs to the small landowner, which can happen by partnering with market interests to more effectively capture economies of scale,” noted Dave Wager of Scientific Certification Systems.



Given the large number and diversity of family forest owners in the United States, the Alliance recognizes that one approach is not going to fit all forestry operations and all landowners’ needs. “The FSC is a ‘tool’ that helps address forest management concerns,” said Mark Adams an Alliance partner and president of the Cook County Sustainable Forestry Cooperative in Minnesota. “From some of the lessons learned by the Family Forests Program, FSC can forge a more diverse box of tools to better fit different forestry situations.”



The four primary purposes of the FSC Family Forests Alliance are to:

* Advocate for FSC policies, public policies, and procurement policies tha t better serve FSC-certified family forests.

* Operate as a forum to share information and strategies for successful models of certification, forest management, policy development, and market development.

* Provide more visible networks and membership opportunities for family forest owners who feel underserved by existing forest management models and landowner organizations.

* Work collaboratively to develop new resources and tools for group certification programs.


“There are a number of organizations and individuals around the country that have been working on these challenges in some degree of isolation,” said Kathryn Fernholz of Dovetail Partners and Secretariat for the Alliance. “The hope of the Alliance is to gather these efforts together and identify opportunities for substantial gain, not just incremental change.”


For more information about the FSC Family Forests Alliance, contact: Dovetail Partners at info@dovetailinc.org , 612-333-0430.