Family Forests Alliance Plans National Strategic Meeting



Support Continues to Grow for Family Forest Certification Efforts


Minneapolis, Minn. June 13, 2007 - Forest certification is a rapidly growing trend in the forest sector and the impacts are being felt from the forest to the marketplace. One of the missing pieces of this trend has been the participation of family forestlands.



“Responsible forestry is everyone's responsibility – whether you are the steward of 100 acres or 100,000 acres,” says Kathryn Fernholz, Executive Director of Dovetail Partners and core organizer for the FSC Family Forests Alliance. “But the reality is that what works well for small landowners is different from what works for larger ones.”



“Family forest landowners need a flexible system with requirements scaled to the size of their holdings,” says Don Arnosti, Director of the Community Forestry Resource Center.



To date, less than 5 million acres of privately owned, non-industrial forestland is third-party certified in the United States. A new national effort aims to develop the partnerships that are needed to overcome the known barriers to family forest certification.



“Nearly a decade of experience with family forest certification pilots from around the country can now be brought to bear on creating change and making progress with these challenges,” says John Gunn with the Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands.



In July, more than 35 national leaders will gather at the Wingspread Conference Center in Racine, Wisconsin to explore the challenges and opportunities for growing family forest certification. The outcome will be the identification of a strategic path forward, and the timing of the meeting is designed to coincide with efforts by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to develop a Family Forest Program in the United States.



“The FSC is the world's fastest growing certification program and it is important that family forest owners are given equal opportunity to participate in this marketing opportunity,” says Ian Hanna with the Northwest Natural Resources Group.



The Alliance is an 18-month old effort with seven core organizers, more than a dozen partnering organizations, and financial contributions from private and public supporters including Verso Paper, The Fox Foundation, NewPage Corporation, Flintridge Foundation, Stora Enso, Ford Foundation, Potlatch Corporation, and The Johnson Foundation.



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