FSC Identifies Next Steps for Family Forest Certification




International Meeting Participants Define the Opportunities


Minneapolis, MN (27 May 2008) -More than 60 family forest advocates from around the world gathered for three days in Lisbon, Portugal from May 7-10th to identify opportunities for improving family forest access to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.


The US delegates at the meeting included non-profits, businesses and representatives of the FSC-US National Initiative. The outcomes of the meeting form the strategy for increasing certified acreage of family forests across the globe.


“By some measures, the FSC is the world's fastest growing forest certification program, but the certification of family forests has been slow,” says Kathryn Fernholz, Executive Director of Minneapolis-based Dovetail Partners, and a meeting participant.


In the United States, about 650,000 acres of family forestland are currently FSC-certified. Plans are under way to triple this number before the end of the year.


“Across the US, family forestlands provide the majority of the wood supplies that the market needs and the demand for certified supply is quickly increasing” says John Gunn of Maine's Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands, and a meeting participant.


The meeting identified actions for reducing costs associated with certification, increasing landowner benefits, and improving communications. A full meeting report will be released. (Meeting report now available: Creating “The Lisbon Process” A Report on the FSC-WWF Lisbon Conference on Smallholder and Community-based Forestry Operations 7-10 May 2008 )


“The meeting served to highlight the similarity in issues faced by many countries across the globe, including a need for family forest-relevant standards, group certification, and access to technical resources. We are now engaged, collectively, in making these happen,” says Gunn.


“The FSC and our partners know that we need to expand certification for small forest holders . This is a key part of our mission to improve forest stewardship around the world,” says Alan Smith, FSC-International Center and meeting host.


In the US, the FSC-US is actively engaged in a standards revision process that will result in family forest-relevant standards and guidance.


“This is one of our core efforts to extend the benefits of certification to family forests” says Corey Brinkema, FSC-US President.


The FSC Family Forests Alliance is a key partner to this and other efforts. Formed in 2006 and focused on family forest certification in the United States, the Alliance is a collaborative of landowners and organizations from around the country.


“The Alliance is helping expand certification opportunities for family forests in the United States and can be a model for how support systems could be developed in other countries,” says Ian Hanna, a core-organizer for the Alliance and FSC-US Board Member.




More information is available at the FSC Family Forests Alliance website: http://www.familyforestsalliance.org