Forest Certification Demonstrates Sustainability
05.28.2013

Forest landowners want to manage their lands to sustainably produce environmental, social and economic benefits. Forest certification is a market-based approach to recognizing sustainable forest management by labeling forests and the wood products from those forests as being certified. Having forestland certified under the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) or the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) lets people know that landowners are proudly managing their forests sustainably, and are in it for the long haul.

In the mid-1990s the Forest Stewardship Council was created by the World Wildlife Fund and other conservation groups as a way to certify that wood products were sustainably managed to meet conservation goals. The American Forest and Paper Association followed with the development of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, to demonstrate sustainability while meeting industrial wood-production goals. The American Tree Farm System, which has been around since 1941, also developed a certification system to demonstrate sustainability while meeting a diverse set of family forestland goals.

Today these private, independent programs apply third-party standards to wood and manufactured products from the forest. This level of transparency gives consumers, architects, engineers and builders credible evidence that the products were produced through responsible forestry practices. Certified products earn the right to display an “eco-label” seal of approval.

In total, nearly 4.7 million acres of private Oregon forestlands are certified by one of the three systems. FSC certifies about 567,000 acres; the ATFS certifies about 887,000 acres; and the SFI certifies about 3,229,000 acres.

More information on forest certification in Oregon is available at KnowYourForest.org.

In addition to managing the tree farm certification system in Oregon, the Oregon Tree Farm System also recognizes outstanding forest management by annually awarding county Outstanding Tree Farmers as well as the Oregon Tree Farmer of the Year. For 2013, Bill and Joan Arsenault of Douglas County are Oregon’s Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year. A tour of the Arsenaults’ tree farm near Elkton will be held on Saturday, June 15, as part of the Oregon Small Woodlands Annual meeting. The tour is free and open to the public, and includes a barbecue lunch.

More information on the June 15 Tree Farmer of the Year tour is available on the Oregon Small Woodlands Association website.

For the Forest,
Mike Cloughesy
Director of Forestry

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