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Is FSC enough?

Recently, I decided I really needed to do my homework and dig into what FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) certified wood really is. The answer I got was disappointing to say the least.

While I respect what FSC is trying to accomplish, I learned that there are still not sufficient sustainable logging practices taking place throughout this certification. What is even more alarming is what it takes to become FSC CoC (Chain of Custody) certified.

Essentially, the FSC applicant pays a fee (considerable in amount) to engage the certification body to "audit" the company. This basically is to analyze the company's practices from operations to supplier's and so on. Where this gets a little blurry is that the lumber company for example now has to receive a CoC certification. What this means is that they have to show documentation tracing back the logs from where they were forested to show that they were "sustainably" harvested.

So I dug a little deeper to see what sustainably harvested meant and was forwarded here. And after much digging finally ended up finding the document which outlines recommendations for sustainable harvesting here.

Here is where I jump off the FSC bandwagon.

After reviewing the documents they outline a series of reforestation practices, planting planning and so on to promote sustainable forestry. However, they also get into how not to "disturb the indigenous peoples through logging" which sent up a "hey whats that?" flag in my mind.

The last indigenous people I knew of in North America were the Native American Indians. But wait....

According to FSC requirements, you can log in Africa, China, Russia and Peru. Then ship the logs to be milled in plants in Mexico, China and India and then finally shipped here to the states. Whaa?

Whats the carbon footprint for that 2x4??

I was really expecting to see local harvesting promoted, if not a standardized practice such as mulching roots of cut trees to replenish the exact nutrients in the soil new trees need. Or how to selectively cut trees to maintain shade and soil protection as opposed to allowing "controlled clear cutting so long as the eco-system is not changed" All in all I was a little put back by FSC's requirements.

Enough griping, now I would like to challenge the Forestry Stewardship Council to reform their protocols and drastically increase the sustainability of the forestry practices currently written into its standards by the following:

Jobs - If FSC is truly trying to promote sustained job growth then I believe some in our current US economy would really appreciate a job at a mill in Atlanta or Florida sustainably harvesting our current supply of trees.

Fuel Conservation/Pollution - The fact is that Stewardship is cyclical. Stewardship regards all costs and activities to determine its sustainability. Thus the same old way of exporting and importing wood just won't work anymore... so change it. If that means the CEO won't get any FSC certified zebra wood for his desk so be it....maybe he can find reclaimed huh?

Global Standards - Great start, just not enough. I recently heard how the treeline in Canada isn't getting as cold as it used to. So the tree ravaging insects that otherwise would have their populations controlled by freezing temperatures are now thriving. This is resulting in complete forest systems being wiped out. The world isn't waiting, change faster.

I don't want this to seem like a rant on FSC wood however, if you're going to reform an industry you can't do it by making it easy or even remotely possible by doing the same old practices as before with some minor revisions.