FSC Canada Releases New Version of its Forest Management Standard
Forest Stewardship Council
November 24, 2016
MONTREAL – FSC Canada today published the second version of its National Forest Management Standard, emanating from intense public and stakeholder consultation over 2016. FSC Canada’s forest management standard revision process was undertaken to ensure the continued reliability and quality of its certification system, and that it meets the current needs of members and certificate holders throughout the country.
“Our role as leaders in forestry certification is to meet the social, ecological, and economic rights and needs of the present generation without compromising those of future generations. In order to do so, it was imperative to update our certification standards to the changing realities of the forestry sector in the 21st century,” explains François Dufresne, President of FSC Canada, “We’re extremely proud of the work that our team has accomplished throughout this past year.”
Scientific researchers, members of First Nations as well as economic and environmental representatives reviewed and commented the initial draft of the standards to assist in furthering its development. In total, FSC Canada received over 500 pages of comments from these experts. “We are currently facing some of the most important issues in Canadian forest management history and it was important to involve a wide array of stakeholders to ensure viable norms for the entire forest industry over the long term,” states Andrew Tremblay, Chair of FSC Canada’s Board of Directors.
The revised draft puts forth motions to further promote responsible practices with regards to aboriginal rights and the preservation of woodland caribou.
“The right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) is a key principle of international human rights law to protect indigenous peoples. It has therefore always been an important requirement for FSC certificate holders to obtain this level of consent from indigenous peoples and local communities before undertaking any forestry operation on their lands,” explains Brenda St-Denis from the FSC Aboriginal Chamber. The revised standard will further strengthen FPIC by offering a continuous improvement process in establishing a lasting trust relationship between indigenous communities and certificates holders.
Additionally, measures have been set forth to protect the endangered woodland caribou. “How to address the impact of forest management practices on woodland caribou has emerged in recent years as an issue of significant debate in Canada. Populations of woodland caribou are particularly sensitive to habitat disturbances and act as an indicator species. This means that they reflect the health of the boreal forest as a whole,” explains Julee Boan from the FSC Environmental Chamber. As a result, FSC Canada has drafted an indicator dedicated entirely to woodland caribou to help in the preservation of this very important species while ensuring viable implementation on the ground.
FSC is also working on a proposed direction for a Canadian approach to the management and protection of Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs) and Indigenous Cultural Landscapes (ICLs) which will be issued in early December.
FSC in Canada
The presence of FSC in Canada has grown ever since becoming the largest country holding FSC certified forests, representing 30% of the FSC system globally. There are 54 million hectares of FSC-certified forests in Canada representing a 60% increase over the last five years. About 25% of the Canadian boreal forest under management (or commercial use) is FSC certified.