By: The Working Forest Staff
A critical milestone is reached as the Standards Development Group and FSC Canada Board of Directors reach historic consensus on Forest Management Standard in Canada.
In February 2018, the FSC Canada Standards Development Group and Board of Directors reviewed and approved the final draft of the National Forest Management Standard. FSC Canada’s forest management standard revision process was undertaken to help address key 21st century forest management issues such as free, prior and informed consent, and the management of species at risk, such as the woodland caribou, while maintain reliability and quality of its certification system.
“Our goal was to be able to find consensus from diverse aboriginal, environmental, economic, and social interests on what responsible forestry is in 2018”, said François Dufresne, president, FSC Canada “we are proud that after four years of intense and lengthy discussions, that we were able to find consensus and provide a final draft for approval.”
Scientific researchers, members of First Nations as well as economic and environmental representatives reviewed and commented drafts of the standards to assist in furthering its development. In total, FSC Canada received over 800 pages of comments from these experts over a period of 2 drafts and field testing of the standard. “We are currently facing some of the most important issues in Canadian forest management history. It was important to involve a diversity of expertise and interests to establish viable norms that can be adopted across the entire forest industry over the long term,” states Julee Boan, chair of FSC Canada’s Board of Directors.
FSC Canada initiated the standard revision process in 2012 to align to the new international generic indicators and merge all four regional standards into a single National Forest Management Standard that properly reflects the realities of forestry in Canada in 2018. Draft 1 of the standard was released for public consultation in 2015 and a second draft was released in 2016 for a 60-day public consultation. The draft standard was then field/desk tested in spring 2017.
“It’s been a long process but a worthwhile one. Without the countless members, stakeholders and volunteers reviewing and providing their feedback, we wouldn’t be where we are today” said Dufresne. “This is a moment to celebrate this historic accomplishment.”
The final draft has now been sent to FSC International for final approval. The Standard and accompanying documents are under review by FSC International’s Policy and Standards Unit (PSU) that will ensure the quality of content and rigor of process. Upon recommendation by PSU, the Standard will be sent for review and approval to the FSC International Board-appointed Policy & Standards Committee. Upon completion of this review process, the standard may be approved or returned with criteria to address. FSC Canada anticipates having a final version of the standard approved in fall 2018.