FSC-Watch

An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

"Forest liars" campaign launched against environmental groups supporting FSCTags: Worldwide, FSC membership, Rainforest Action Network, WWF

Recently, Glen Barry of the Ecological Internet, launched an email action against organisations that support FSC. "Greenpeace, WWF, Rainforest Action Network, NRDC, Forest Ethics, Friends of the Earth and Rainforest Alliance were called upon to immediately end their support for the Forest Stewardship Council's (FSC) greenwashing of first time logging of primary and old-growth forests", states Barry in a press release. (Ecological Internet's Action Alert, "Forest Liars" is available here and a discussion about this Action Alert is here.)

Ecological Internet's protest email is automatically sent to 315 people (almost one hundred of whom work for WWF). To date, 1,464 people have sent a total of almost half-a-million emails. (Not surprisingly, the first response on Ecological Internet's discussion page mentions the word "spamming".)

Among the organisations which received protest emails via Ecological Internet's website was Friends of the Earth International. In reply, FoEI pointed out that some national Friends of the Earth's groups are members of FSC but others are not. Some support FSC, others openly criticise it. Friends of the Earth International is not a member of FSC and does not support FSC: "The FoEI Forest and Biodiversity Program finds that voluntary market mechanisms (such as FSC) alone will definitely not solve the global forest crisis and we do not shy away from an open and critical stance towards FSC."

Here is FoEI's response in full:

Dear fellow cyberactivist,

Thank you for your email. Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) is the world's largest grassroots environmental network, uniting 70 national member groups and some 5,000 local activist groups on every continent. With over 2 million members and supporters around the world, we campaign on today's most urgent environmental and social issues. We challenge the current model of economic and corporate globalization, and promote solutions that will help to create environmentally sustainable and socially just societies.

The FoEI Forest and Biodiversity Program is committed to protecting the world's remaining forests and the plants, animals and peoples that depend on them. We are opposed to destructive and illegal industrial logging and the conversion of forests. We fight for local communities' and indigenous peoples' control of their forests in their traditional sustainable ways.

Friends of the Earth International is not a member of, and does not support the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). National Friends of the Earth (FoE) groups are autonomous in their campaigning and policy decisions. As such their involvement in FSC varies widely. Some FoE groups are members and support FSC as a credible global certification system for responsible forest management, making use of its three chamber structure. This structure gives both social and environmental organisations formal rights and responsibilities and FoE groups focus on certification of smallholders and community forests. Other FoE groups do not support FSC, find that FSC certified forests and plantations are not sustainably managed, and believe that FSC structures and processes (such as the plantation review) are flawed.

The FoEI Forest and Biodiversity Program finds that voluntary market mechanisms (such as FSC) alone will definitely not solve the global forest crisis and we do not shy away from an open and critical stance towards FSC. Therefore the main focus of the FoEI Forest and Biodiversity Program lies with developing sustainable community forest management, as well as binding regulations to ban illegal and destructive timber trade and large scale monoculture tree plantations.

We hope this email clarifies that we oppose all the allegations made to our organisation in the cyber action from Ecological Internet. We thank you for letting us know your opinion and we would appreciate that our email addresses not be published on a public web site.

If you are interested in supporting the campaigns of Friends of the Earth International and you want to keep informed of our actions please join the cyberactivist network mailing list (you will typically get 1 or 2 e-mails each month). You can join by sending an email to with the words "sign me up to cyberactions" in the subject.

Sincerely, Friends of the Earth International, Forests and Biodiversity Program

Comments

I don't have a problem with Glen Barry targeting FSC on getting bans on stopping logging old growth. I do have a problem with Glen Barry casting a wide net and slagging off people/groups who may have never supported old growth logging.

By branding Friends of the Earth as being forest liars I believe Barry has branded myself as a liar despite the fact that I have never supported old growth logging or even met him (I regard this as a personal insult). I believe that he has also branded the organisation that currently employs me as also being forest liars, because we may have some interests in FSC Australia. FoE Australia has never supported old growth logging, nor has FSC Australia.

It could also be argued that his forest-liar tag also extends to supporters and members of Friends of the Earth, even in countries that do not have forest campaigns. We are now talking about millions of people in 72 countries, all being branded forest-liars!

Barry also blames not only current supporters of FSC, but also those who may have written something supportive about FSC in the past, but have now changed their minds. All of these people could also be described as being forest liars under Barry's definition (or that's what he's made clear to me in an email this morning). These people, like myself, may never have supported logging in old growth in any shape or form.

If you draw this nonsense to its logical conclusion, Barry himself is a forest liar or in simple terms a hypocrite.

Several years back Barry wrote http://legalminds.lp.findlaw.com/list/ecol-econ/msg03932.html;

"Many forest conservationists, myself included, have eagerly embraced forest certification, particularly standards set by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), as a promising tool to protect forests... Despite this scathing critique, this author continues to hope that FSC certification will realize its potential as a force for sustainable forestry AND forest protection...Certified forestry in concept clearly shows great potential to be ONE component of a strategy for the eventual elimination of deforestation and achievement of global forest sustainability. But not until rules are developed that clearly state and promote preservation of most remaining old-growth wildlands, limit most certification to regenerating secondary forests, and place any certified management of wildlands that does occur within a matrix of protected areas adequate to guarantee sustainability of ecosystems across landscapes."

Does Barry still support FSC certification of future old growth forests, ie secondary forests or has he like many others changed their minds about this controversial issue. If he has changed his mind why does he not allow others to do the same!

People in Glass Houses...

Anthony Amis

While I have little knowledge of FSC on a global scale, I am very well up to date on the FSC process in Ireland, having initially been a member of that process. I then became a very strong critic of what has turned out to be an utterly farcical process, even by what seems to be FSC International's low standards (low standards proven by the fact that FSC has and continue to accredit the Irish National Initiative).

I also can't speak about the certification of logging companies that fell ancient forests - we have little or none ancient forests in Ireland. However, there is a process by our semi-state forestry company, Coillte (the largest forestry company in Ireland by far, and manager of 1.1million acres), by which our high-value native forests are disposed of in land sales for developments of high-value estate. (I make the differentiation between ancient and native forests).

However, while Coillte has continued to enjoy FSC certification (and you can see many other postings on this site explaining exactly why Coillte shouldn't be certified), the biggest damage to the actual FSC process in Ireland and the development of the national standard has been the continued support by several NGOs and pseudo-NGOs (such as Friends of the Irish Environment, Woodlands of Ireland, An Taisce, Crann and Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment) for this damaging process.

So, I support Dr. Barry's motives, even though there may be question over the accuracy of what he says and his methods. I'm not saying that there IS or ISN'T a genuine question, honestly I don't know enough about these international organisations to be able to give an opinion.

All genuine NGOs have left the Irish process. As far as I'm concerned, any International NGO that continues to support FSC International and doesn't call for the immediate withdrawal of both Coillte's FSC certificate and the Irish National Initiative's accreditation is deserving of all criticism laid before them. As far as I'm concerned, these organisations have aided in the certified destruction of our landscape, and have worked completely against the genuine NGOs in Ireland.

With regards

Ciarán Hughes

Mendocino Redwoods Company has FSC certification.

MRC's Option A from their site states:

Option A

Wildlife Habitat Old Growth

MRC will not harvest old growth as defined below:

Terrestrial – Un-entered stands of more than 20 acres.

– Stands of 5 acres or more with an average of 6 old growth
trees per acre or more (old growth trees defined as trees over 250
years old and 48 inches d.b.h. or larger) .

– Individual residual old growth trees with significant wildlife
value (eg. large limbs, cavities, nesting platforms, limited available
structures).

I have to ask:

-Can the MRC log "entered" stands containing old-growth?

(Most TPZ's have been entered, in fact, I'd like to see an unentered stand that is not a park or refuge)

-Can the MRC log old growth stands less than 20 acres?

(Most of the old growth stands left in TPZs are very small residual groves)

-Can the MRC log stands of old-growth that are more than five acres containing 5 or less old growth trees per acre?

(An acre is a very small piece of land, how many old growth trees can you fit in an acre? To achieve this requirement, 30 OG trees would have to exist on 5 acres. Furthurmore, residual Old growth trees and groves are extremely rare on TPZs, and the chance of finding 6 or more OG trees on one acre is extremly low).

-Who determines the "significant wildlife value" of residual old growth trees? (Besides wildlife surveyors, who else but the MRC?)

Our old growth may be safer if MRC takes over, but they better get up, walk, and clump together in a central location. Saftey in numbers, right?

Anthony needs to get a grip. Never have I or Ecological Internet's end ancient forest campaign suggested FSC Australia supports ending ancient forest logging. We generically listed the Friends of the Earth movement in the forest alert because many national groups do indeed support primary forest logging, and it would have taken several pages to list each member organization's decision on the matter. The truth of the matter is the UK FSC affiliate has since announced it is no longer recommending FSC and is considering pulling out. It is unacceptable for a movement as important as FOE to have ad hoc, conflicting national policies and thus the entire movement is a target.

Anthony, it was never suggested in the alert that at one time I did not believe FSC may be a force for good. I worked for years doing small scale community forestry in Papua New Guinea. This is what we had in mind for sustainable forestry -- local communities with small hand held mills felling a couple trees a hectare under a rigorous ecological management plan and tied to large-scale protection nearby. As we know it has instead become something far less ecologically rigorous, essentially warmed over industrial best management practices.

Your behavior towards me is bizarre and shrill. The last resort of a bereft ideology is to attack the messenger on peripheral issues not central to the claim that most large NGO have sold out ancient forests. This is not about me, it is about your FOE movement supporting ancient forest logging.

If my behaviour is bizarre and shrill then how do you react when you are falsely labelled as being a liar? How do you feel for instance when someone labels you as a hypocrite?

Could you please provide the methodology you used to determine that 'many' FoE groups support ancient forest logging? Could you also provide the final list? Are the many FoE groups listed simply because of their membership of FSC or are there other factors involved (ie consumer countries in Europe)?

In terms of your work in PNG, where were you operating and over the years how many hectares of ancient forest were eventually logged? Was your work certified by FSC? Has your work in PNG in any way opened up PNG forests to further logging by wokabout sawmills? Do any communities that you worked with, now support larger scale logging after initially getting involved in logging via wokabout mill projects?

It is a shame that people are taking things personally.

From an Irish perspective we have tried the FSC process to the bitter end. FSC ignore our valid concerns and have found over the last eight years that the process is basically industry led.

In Ireland FSC certified forestry practices continue to damage soils, water and biodiversity and benefit the big industries not local communities.Ireland is a wealthy country. I dont like to think what forestry practices go on in poor countries.

FSC may have been a good idea and have had the best of intentions but it is failing and on the ground FSC certificaiton certianly doesnt represent sustainable forestry.
Therefore I support the call for groups to remove their support for FSC.

Caroline

This discussion is absurd. So easy to criticise our people in southern countries with a nice northern living standard, education, welfare and pension plan. You in Europe and North America destroy your biodiversity decades/centuries ago and now you make up by trying to dictate to us, what we must do or not. Remember that it is not southern people, which are the biggest burden to this planet - it is you in the north. You are emitting most of CO2, you consume the earth natural resources, you close markets to southern products, you leave little economic choice for people in the south, and your activities destroy most of the natural diversity and social conditions in our part of the world. I can not stand your self righteous, northern bullshit about saving the planet any more.

Barry, Counsell, Lang, and colleagues are making a nice living in the safety and luxury of northern countries by selling the stories about our misery. Did they ever think about equitable sharing their consultancy fees, fees for photos of indigenous people or communities, their fundrsaising donations with the communities or peoples they write about/photograph or otherwise abuse? Not likely.

Counsell is financed by singer Sting - why do we not campaign about Sting dictating to southern people what to do. Why do we not write to Sting a invoice about the jobs lost to Counsell's camapigns.

This is not about saving the planet - this is about a few more northern people having found a comfortable market niche. And what does it matter if their campaigns cost some of our people their jobs.

FSC is one of the few concepts which at least tried to let us people in the south decide how we want to run our affairs. It made sure that we were at least partly involved in our affairs and not only dicatated by northerners. It is obvious from these anti FSC campaigns, that this is not good enough for northern interests and campaigners - they want total control. And if they cannot have it in FSC then destroy it.

I remember when Counsell presented himself as advocate of our interests at the founding of FSC. We told him to leave us alone and we tell him again - leave us alone. We and FSC don't need you.

If you and your colleagues do not like FSC, set up a better system. But stop pissing on other people hard work and on the south.

Jose

The greenwashing days are coming to an end, and RAN and Greenpeace and EDF and LCV and the rest of the motley crew better wakeup before they and their funders are targeted even more...

Glen,

Typical Amis dummy spit. He's got little credibility - best ignored!

Excellent campaign, Dr. Barry.

Anthony,
I generally support the work of FOE Melbourne, you do great work and are an excellent community hub. However this quote:

" We are a founding member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in Australia. http://www.fsc.org/en/about"

was taken directly from FOE Australia. Do you take Glen's point? While campaigning so vigourously for so many important environmental issues you continue to support companies such as Hancock through FSC... Please explain.

Glen,

It should also be noted that Forests.org still contains website links under "Forest Protection" to FSC, Rainforest Alliance and Smartwood. Why campaign so vigourously against FSC and co. when your own website links to them??!!

Hi Tristan,

FoE was one of many conservation groups initially involved with supporting FSC in Australia. We thought that it sounded promising and would deliver on environmental outcomes. Some people in FoE Australia still think that and still believe that FSC offers the best in terms of forest certification schemes. Other ENGO's also still think this including Wilderness Society, Australian Conservation Foundation and WWF.

I don't share that view and since 2006 have subsequently stopped having faith in FSC and forest certification schemes in general. That being said FoE has not slammed the door entirely on FSC despite my arguements.

The Hancock certification started off quite well with the possibility of providing some environmental gains. Then the wheels fell off around 2005-2006 and have got progressively worse. Visionless staff and unsustainable logging contracts are the main problem. Hancock have proved that the system is open to abuse and that Smartwood who initially promised the world, delivered bugger all because ultimately they are feeding directly off the destruction themselves.

In terms of supporting Hancock nothing could be further from the truth. Have a close look at;
http://www.hancock.forests.org.au/docs/LoggingIndex.htm

Please explain how my work supports this odious company?
Any time you want to come and have a look at what they're doing in Gippsland give me a call and we'll go for a drive.

AA

My organization Ecological Internet runs a number of premier environmental portals including Forests.org. We make available the first and only true search engines of reviewed external content. The sites that we link to are fed into that search engine and their content made fully searchable. In the interest of completeness of this reviewed search engine, we link all important points of view. Seems odd that being balanced and presenting the other point of view is questioned. Below is our recent press release on this matter which we had hoped would be covered by FSC Watch.
Dr. Glen Barry

PRESS/SOCIAL MEDIA RELEASE
Ancient Forests Absorb 20% of Human's Carbon, Logging and
Other Industrial Destruction of Old Forests Must Stop Now

- The myth that primary and old growth forests should be
"sustainably" managed is dealt a mortal deathblow.
Members and funders of RAN, FSC and others greenwashing
ancient forest logging called upon to withdraw support in
protest

February 19, 2009
By Earth's Newsdesk and the Rainforest Portal
Projects of Ecological Internet
http://www.ecoearth.info/newsdesk/
CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org

(Seattle, WA) -- Ecological Internet welcomes the
emerging science published today in "Nature" indicating
tropical trees in undisturbed forest are absorbing nearly
a fifth of the CO2 released by burning fossil fuels[1].
This is in addition to the long-term carbon sequestered
within old trees' wood and soils. This is the most recent
of several major scientific studies indicating the need
to fully protect all remaining primary and old growth
forests as a keystone response to global climate,
biodiversity and water crises.

"This is huge -- not only do ancient rainforests reliably
store massive amounts of carbon, as we have known for
sometime, but they continue to remove enormous amounts of
carbon every day they remain standing and are non-
degraded. The study partially solves the mystery of where
human carbon pollution has been going, and in so doing
supports the need for avoided deforestation payments,"
said Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet's President.

It was found that remaining tropical forests remove a
massive 4.8 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions from the
atmosphere each year. This includes a previously unknown
carbon sink in Africa, which mops up 1.2 billion tonnes
of CO2 a year. Over the past 40 years, each hectare of
intact African forest was found to have annually trapped
an extra 0.6 tonnes of carbon. This builds upon last
year's studies that found old-growth forests are "carbon
sinks" and continually absorb carbon dioxide, and that
their first time logging releases 40 percent of their
carbon[2].

"We are receiving a free subsidy from nature," says Dr.
Simon Lewis, a Royal Society research fellow at the
University of Leeds, and the lead author of the paper.
"Tropical forest trees are absorbing about 18% of the CO2
added to the atmosphere each year from burning fossil
fuels, substantially buffering the rate of climate
change."

Dr. Lee White, co-author on the study, said "to get an
idea of the value of the sink, the removal of nearly 5
billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by
intact tropical forests, based on realistic prices for a
tonne of carbon, should be valued at around £13 billion
($USD 18.7 billlion) per year. This is a compelling
argument for conserving tropical forests."

### MORE ###

The findings critically demolish claims by groups as
diverse as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), World
Bank, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Greenpeace and WWF
that "well-managed, responsible and low-impact" logging
in the world's dwindling ancient forests can ever have
environmental benefits. Over the past two years, each has
been the target of Ecological Internet's campaign to end
old growth forest logging, which is "certified" by FSC as
being "green".

Late last year RAN agreed to review their long-time
support for first time industrial logging of ancient
forests[3]. When Lafcadio Cortesi, RAN's new rainforest
campaigner, was asked to comment upon the Nature report,
he replied it is a "bit of a stretch and certainly
premature to link... the nature paper findings with RAN
and the FSC." He refused to answer the question "how does
logging 500 year old ancient trees protect rainforests
and the climate," continuing two years of RAN
stonewalling on the most basic of questions regarding
their support for FSC ancient forest logging.

EI President, Dr. Glen Barry, said "the science has never
been clearer: global ecological sustainability depends
critically upon protecting and restoring old forests. How
much longer can RAN and the world dither? Our demand of
RAN remains the same: either use your membership to get
FSC to eliminate their sourcing of certified timbers from
ancient forests, or resign immediately from FSC in
protest. Sadly, our campaign resumes after failure by RAN
to keep their earlier promises."

"We call upon RAN members to resign, and their funders to
stop their support, in protest of America's leading
rainforest group supporting -- against a growing body of
ecological science -- first time industrial destruction
of primeval forests. EI will be taking further protest
action at a place and time of our choosing."

### ENDS ###

[1] Nature, "Increasing carbon storage in intact African
tropical forests", February 19, 2009, Vol 457.

Study press release:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090218135031.htm

[2] Old-growth forests as global carbon sinks. Nature
455, 213-215 (September 11, 2008).

Green Carbon: The role of natural forests in carbon
storage. ANU E Press (July 2008).

[3] "Ancient Forest Victory, as Rainforest Action Network
Yields, Commits to Review FSC Support",
http://www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2008/10/release_ancient_forest_victory.asp#more


DISCUSS RELEASE:
http://www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2009/02/release_ancient_forests_absorb.asp

Ecological Internet provides the world's largest and most
used climate and environment portals at
http://www.climateark.org/ and http://www.ecoearth.info/ .
Dr. Glen Barry is a leading global spokesperson on
behalf of environmental sustainability policy. He
frequently conducts interviews on the latest climate,
forest and water policy developments and can be reached
for comment at: glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org

Ecological Internet's projects include:

EcoEarth.Info -- http://www.EcoEarth.Info/
Climate Ark -- http://www.climateark.org/
Forests.org -- http://forests.org/
Water Conserve -- http://www.waterconserve.org/
Rainforest Portal -- http://www.rainforestportal.org/
Ocean Conserve -- http://www.oceanconserve.org/
My.EcoEarth.Info -- http://My.EcoEarth.info/
New Earth Rising (new e-zine) -- http://www.newearthrising.org/

Further... I encourage you all to actually read the paper referred to above (I can send it to you if you email me at glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org). In two years we have gone from the long held notion that primary forests were carbon neutral. That is, that their role in relation to carbon was largely limited to storing large amounts of carbon, but did not remove much if any new carbon. So might as well clear them and plant new plantations of young growing trees to that do (so says industry)!

Last year a major paper (referred to in release) showed that in fact old forests continued to act as a sink for new carbon. A revolutionary finding that overturned decades of thought. And this new Science paper now quantifies this and illustrates that 20% of industrial emissions are ending up in old forests. This partially solves a long held climate mystery of where much of human carbon has been going. Too bad about the satellite that blew up that was going to try to find the rest.

So by protecting old forests, you keep the carbon that would be released out of the atmosphere (about 20% of emissions as we all know) AND you remove 20% of the remaining 80% from fossil fuels. So that is a net swing of some 35% of anthropocentric carbon being kept or removed from the atmosphere by protecting and restoring old forests. This would appear to be second only to ending use of coal as a one shot action to address climate change.

THIS IS A HUGE FINDING. It validates our long held contention that logging and other industrial development of primary and old growth forests must end as a keystone response to climate change (to say nothing of biodiversity and water). Feel free to use this information in any of your write ups.

Regards,
Dr. Glen Barry

Given the debate about forests and carbon, its interesting to note that few people in the environment movement have had a go at dealing with the amount of carbon lost through bushfires each year, particularly in fire prone areas such as south eastern Australia. The recent disaster in Victoria has burnt out 400,000ha of forests, including old growth, rainforest, regrowth etc. Hancock lost about 20,000 hectares of plantations - will these still qualify as carbon sinks? In 2003 over one million hectares of forests burnt in Victoria.

If forests are used as carbon sinks to ward off the effects of climate change and companies are granted carbon credits to 'leave these forests alone', will the carbon credits have to be 'paid back' if the whole lot goes up in flames? Sounds like a risky investment to me, particularly if we get more bushfires due to the effects of climate change.

Whatever the politics behind the following article there are some interesting points to be made.

Bushfires release huge carbon load

The Australian Feb 13 2009

VICTORIA'S bushfires have released a massive amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - almost equal to Australia's industrial emission for an entire year.

Mark Adams, from the University of Sydney, said the emissions from bushfires were far beyond what could be contained through carbon capture and needed to be addressed in the next international agreement.

"Once you are starting to burn millions of hectares of eucalypt forest, then you are putting into the atmosphere very large amounts of carbon," Professor Adams said.

In work for the Bushfire Co-operative Research Centre, he estimated the 2003 and 2006-07 bushfires could have put 20-30million tonnes of carbon (70-105 million tonnes of carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere.

"That is far, far more than we're ever going to be able to sequester from planting trees or promoting carbon capture," he said.

The 2003 and 2006-07 bushfires were burning land carrying 50 to 80 tonnes of carbon per hectare. "This time we are burning forests that are even more carbon-dense than last time, well over 100 tonnes above-ground carbon per hectare," he said.

Professor Adams said it was vital that more research was done into bushfires and carbon. "Not all of what is in the vegetation goes up, but you also lose much of the carbon in the litter and understorey and also some of the soil carbon," he said.

Carbon emissions from forest fires are not counted under the Kyoto Protocol. But he said he thought it likely they would be in future agreements.

"All informed scientific opinion suggests that whatever new protocol is signed (at the UN summit) in Copenhagen or elsewhere will include forest carbon, simply because to not do so would be to ignore one of the biggest threats to the global atmospheric pool of carbon dioxide, the release of carbon in fires."

Professor Adams said the counter argument had always been that new forests took up the carbon lost to the fire. "That is true to a point, but if the long-term fire regime changes -- we are now starting to have more fires -- we may completely change the carbon balance of the forest."

Carbon could also be sequestered in the soil as charcoal, and he said recent research had found most Australian soil carbon was actually charcoal.

"That really does change the way we think about soil carbon. We should be investigating the effects on fires in converting biomass into charcoal.

"One of the big unknowns is how fires interact with biomass carbon to produce charcoal and ash, and how long that charcoal and ash lives in the soil."

He argued it was more important to investigate bushfires and the carbon cycle than it was to study carbon capture from coal-fired power stations.

"I think we are ignoring critical areas of research in favour of a technological solution. In this case, we need to better understand the natural cycles."

Scientists had recorded steep increases in global carbon dioxide emissions as a result of bushfires in Indonesia and Siberia, he said

Hi Anthony and Glen
Thanks for your replies. The bushfire/CO2 thing is very interesting, considering most ecologists will argue against reducing a fire regime below ecological frequency, and fire authorities will certainly not be keen to cease or reduce controlled burning regimes. Frequent burning seems inevitable in Australia's south-east given increased temperatures and dryness. It could be a huge driving factor in biodiversity reduction and feeding the climate change cycle.

Anthony, In reference to yourself, FOE and Hancock, I dont think your personal work supports Hancock, quite the opposite from your article. But by retaining memebership of FSC Aust., FOE supports them. Its that simple.

EG, If you were a lay person interested in building a 'sustainable' house, you do your research by going to a trusted ENGO like FOE and trying to find out where to source sustainable timber. The website states its membership to FSC, you follow the link and there you are, buying rainforest and endangered species destroying timber for your house.

If the 20,000 hectares of Hancock's plantations that have gone up in smoke were FSC certified, does that mean that there are now X million tons of FSC certified CO2 in the atmosphere??

John, FSC can now proudly say that they are helping warm the planet. Nice images here:
http://www.hancock.forests.org.au/docs/09feb.htm


Tristan

If you did a bit more research you would also find the Good Wood Guide which FoE also published last in 1999. It's located on the Forest Network site which was FoE Melbourne's forest collective 1993-2002. I still refer alot timber queries to this somewhat dated guide that does need a revamp.
http://www.forestnetwork.net/GoodWoodGuide/GoodWoodGuide.htm

Maybe you can write a new guide for people wanting to build sustainable houses and then we can compare the two.

Some people in FoE Australia believe that FSC can be reformed and improved and can offer leverage against dubious logging operations elsewhere. For this reason these people still hold a glimmer of hope and remain involved in FSC. Other FoE people are totally pissed off and want nothing more to do with it. FoE Melbourne is currently working on a position paper that will attempt to bring these two opposing views together. It is not as simple as you make it sound and to suggest that because FoE is a member of FSC that we support what Hancock is doing is just plain wrong. We've had them under boycott for some years!?

So what does that mean "boycott"? Oh, FSC, you've been a bad boy. Please don't certify these people again or... or... we'll write you a letter! A cop out is what it is.
Re: The Wood Guide - I would start by removing the misleading information that particular species should be avoided. Many SE Asian species are simply labelled as 'mahogany' and stained becuase lay consumers wouldn't know what those timbers look like. Many Australian rainforest timbers are being grown in (relatively) sustainable, multi-species plantations which should be encouraged, not boycotted, and there are no (or negligible) subtropical or tropical rainforest ecosystems being logged in Australia. Yes it is outdated.

So maybe you are like Peter Garrett, trying to change the party's policy from the inside? Good luck to you.

Any news on FSC certifying old-growth in East Gippsland?

Like I said earlier Tristan, write a new Good Wood Guide the old one is dated. Then publish it on 100% post consumer paper (non FSC of course). I'm sure one or two people might be interested in what you have to say.

East Gippsland Old Growth is already certified by the Australian Forestry Standard. FSC is circling at moment despite the protests from ENGO's. I suggest you set up some forest blockades and don't include any East Gippsland timber in your new timber guide, unless you are a big supporter of AFS!

aa

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