Foresters should tell the wood from the Trees
It is in their own best interest for owners to join forces to afford the costs of certification
Two weeks ago, I summarised the background to forest certification, the rise of the two principal internationally recognised schemes -- the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) -- and the need for owners to appreciate that outlets for uncertified timber are steadily decreasing. Today I will look at the situation in Ireland and offer some advice on getting started.
It must be understood that our principal markets for wood-based products increasingly demand certified material.
However, it matters little that Ireland already has a highly regulated forestry industry, and that the felling licence system ensures that very little illegal homegrown timber enters the supply chain.
Consumers demand verification that the wood they use comes from sustainably managed sources and this requirement is met by third-party certification schemes.
Sustainable management is defined as meeting economic, environmental and social criteria without compromising the needs of future generations.
At the moment, forest owners tend to view certification as a costly bureaucratic imposition. Rather, they should regard it as a positive aid to better management. Professional implementation of a detailed and thoughtful management plan will increase profitability, and ultimately the capital value of the woodland.
In Ireland we are fortunate now to have a choice between the two principal schemes. Ireland's forest certification standard, PEFC, was fully endorsed by PEFC International in December 2011, and in May this year FSC International informed FSC Ireland that its standard met the requirements: formal endorsement is expected shortly. Owners should look at both standards before deciding which one best suits their needs.