Indiana Division of Forestry Achieves Certification for 520,000 Acres

Newly certified lands raise the total to 750,000 acres certified in the state


(Brownstown, IN) - The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) / Division of Forestry (DoF) recently received Forest Stewardship Council (FSC™) certification for over 520,000 acres of privately owned forestlands (all of which are in the Classified Forest and Wildlands Program) throughout the state of which almost 10,000 acres are considered high value conservation forests.  In addition to this privately owned forestland being certified, all 150,000 acres of the Division of Forestry’s State Forests are dual certified by FSC ™and Sustainable Forestry Initiative  (SFI™).  The Indiana Division of Forestry aims to be “managing Indiana’s forests and providing opportunities for forest landowners and forest industry now and for the future.”


Some who are skeptical of certification may wonder why the DoF sought FSC™ certification for the Classified Forest and Wildlands private landowners as well as State Forest forestland. Talk of forest certification started back in the early 1990’s and many felt it was a fad.  However, certification is here and here to stay!   Certification not only applies good forest stewardship that’s third party verified but provides global market access and premiums for the products manufactured.  With over 750,000 acres being certified, approximately 47 MMbf of certified timber could be available in 2010.


Approximately 7,800 FSC-certified forest owners in Indiana are now able to supply hardwood products to customers seeking certified products bearing the FSC™ trademark. The DoF manages the group forest management certification program, an umbrella under which the private landowners operate. Responsible forestry supports jobs in the forest and beyond, including foresters, loggers, sawmills, manufacturers, and more.


“This certificate provides assurance for the people of Indiana that the state’s forest resources are managed responsibly and will be protected for future Hoosiers," said John Seifert, Indiana State Forester. "And because each 1,000 acres of timberland in Indiana directly supports 12 forest-based manufacturing jobs, certification ensures those jobs will enhance the green economy for years to come."


The Indiana Division of Forestry also developed the nation’s first ever “state-administered” chain of custody certificate for small primary forest products industries across the state. Increased sales and in many cases additional premiums for certified forest products have been a welcomed benefit during these tough economic times. Currently there are 42 small sawmills and logging businesses enrolled.


The FSC label further enhances and opens new markets for both large and small business owner’s products that are requested and/or required in building projects desiring LEED points.  LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.  An ecology-oriented building certification program run under the auspices of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED concentrates its efforts on improving performance across five key areas: energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, materials selection, sustainable site development and water savings.


Through efforts of the DoF, the remaining 3.9 million acres of Indiana forestland have been given “controlled wood” status and can now be sourced as controlled wood by the 42 members in the Division’s Chain of Custody group.  So now all of Indiana’s forestland is either FSC™ pure or FSC™ controlled wood. Controlled wood is defined as:
· Having a low risk of being illegally harvested 
· Having a low risk of violating civil rights
· Having a low risk to high conservation values
· Having a low risk of deforestation
· Having a low risk of genetically modified trees
Controlled wood can be mixed with FSC™ pure materials.  Products can be sold as “FSC Controlled” to other FSC™ Chain of Custody (CoC) companies. According to many in the industry, demand for certified manufactured products such as furniture and cabinets continues to increase. Until now, many of Indiana’s secondary manufacturers were forced to purchase their raw materials from bordering states outside Indiana in order to meet their certification requirements.


"The Division of Forestry has established unique and significant forest certification programs that provide a full range of benefits and opportunities for the state and within the region, including expanding access to third-party certification for family forest owners throughout Indiana," says Kathryn Fernholz, Executive Director of Dovetail Partners and an experienced forest certification auditor.


As the momentum and enthusiasm for certified forest products continues to expand, the Indiana Division of Forestry believes certification is a benefit to not only landowners and hardwood manufacturers but consumers wanting certified products along with enhancing local economic development efforts ….and managing the forest responsibly.


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