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Northeastern Area of State and Private Forest Certification

note_pin.gif (247 bytes)  Green certified forestry" -- An oxymoron?

How can forestry be green if  one standard wood-framed home consumes over one acre of forest (Center for Sustainable Development, U.S. Dept of Energy)?

Well-managed forests are based on the goal of sustainability.   They will include ecological, economic, and social factors in their management plans. The U.S. Forest Service works in partnership with State foresters to establish certification programs and eco-labels, but there is little support by the current administration for more regulations.

The Society for the Prevention of New Hampshire Forests conducted its first green certified timber harvest this winter (Forest Notes, Spring 2001). An inventory of wood and wildlife was conducted, no-cut natural areas like vernal pools are set aside, high-quality trees are left behind to protect riparian areas and provide wildlife corridors.   

Even more can be done to limit impacts. Logging roads can be so narrow that they resemble trails. Where streams, wetlands, or other water bodies are present, they must comply with Clean Water Act requirements. Slash and snags can be left to prevent erosion and benefit wildlife. Openings from cuts within the forest are limited in size.

Source:  Univ. of New Hampshire Sustainable Forest Program

While Federal and state government agencies have standards for determining   whether a forest is well-managed, there are no government-sponsored forest certification programs in the United States. However, some states, counties, and municipalities in the Northeastern Area have certified
public land.

The Northeastern Area of State and Private Forestry serves as a  clearinghouse for information on forest certification to assist forest
managers, landowners, and others. The role of the Northeastern Area in  forest certification focuses on education and information dissemination.

Forest Certification Overview

Forest certification, or green certification, is an attempt to identify forestland that is well managed toward a goal of 'sustainability.'
Sustainability includes the ecological, economic, and social aspects of  managing forests.

Certification of public and private forests is an issue that goes beyond the forests of the Northeastern Area. It is a major topic of discussion
both nationally and worldwide. Environmental groups view forest certification as a way to verify a landowner's or firm's commitment to
sustainable forestry. Industrial forest companies and some government agencies hope to use their certification to get credit with the public for
conservation efforts. Wood products companies hope to capture new markets and gain market advantage by showing 'eco-labels' to their customers as
proof of good environmental performance.

New certification systems are developing, and older ones are changing. Companies, landowner groups, and others are lining up behind their
favorite systems. Only time will tell which systems survive and what form they will take. Certification of some sort, however, will likely be with
us for some time to come.

Come back and visit soon as additional information on forest certification links will be added.

For more information contact:
Sustainable Forest Coordinator Connie Carpenter
USDA Forest Service; NA, State and Private Forestry
271 Mast Rd., Durham NH 03824

Forest Products Specialist Stephen M. Bratkovich
USDA Forest Service; NA, State and Private Forestry
1992 Folwell Ave. St. Paul, MN 55108

ph:(651) 649-5246
fax:(651) 649-5238

Last Modified: 1/12/2001