Stop the Forest Liars: "Certified" Old-Growth Rainforest Logging Does NOT Protect Biodiversity, Ecosystems or Climate



Rainforest Portal a project of Ecological Internet March 5, 2008

TAKE ACTION Outrageous support by big environmental groups for first-time industrial logging of primary and old-growth rainforest wildernesses based upon vague claims that FSC certification makes it sustainable, well-managed and now even "carbon positive" is a big lie and must end

Many of the world's largest environmental groups continue to support Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) "certified" industrial logging of the world's last primary and old-growth forests. They have fallen for, and now espouse, the big lie that first time logging of ancient forests containing centuries old trees can be done in an ecologically well- managed and sustainable manner. These otherwise well-regarded organizations should know better, yet there is no chance ancient forest logging will ever end when they continue their misguided greenwashing of "certified" ancient forest destruction.

This is not a minor policy difference: whether and when old-growth logging ends will critically determine the likelihood of the Earth's climate, species, ecosystems and human livelihoods being maintained. Please join us in calling upon Greenpeace, WWF, Rainforest Action Network, NRDC, Forest Ethics, Friends of the Earth and Rainforest Alliance to immediately end their support for first time logging of primary and old-growth forests. These groups must withdraw from FSC, commit to working to end ancient forest logging as a keystone response to the biodiversity and climate change crises, and support local sustainable community development based upon standing and intact forests.

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Update of the "Stop the Forest Liars: "Certified" Old-Growth Rainforest Logging Does NOT Protect Biodiversity, Ecosystems or Climate" still current and able to be sent at:

March 26, 2008
OVERVIEW & COMMENTARY by Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet

Mongabay reports below that the Forest Stewardship Council
(FSC) is coming under increasingly harsh criticism. Ecological Internet (EI) and many others believe FSC is imploding as claims of environmental and social benefits of ancient forest logging and industrial monoculture plantations are exposed as myths. FSC's future (if it is to have one) depends upon changing its guidelines to end support for both business as usual old-growth logging and large-scale monoculture plantations.

If unwilling to end their involvement in ancient forest logging, FSC and supporters must be protested until they are shutdown. Global ecological sustainability depends critically upon strictly protecting all remaining relatively natural ecosystems, particularly primary forests. All ancient forests are of high conservation value. There is no alternative to continued logging of centuries old trees found in primary forests. The era of ancient forest logging must end if global ecological collapse is to be averted.

There may be a role for certification of plantations and regenerating forests, yet these FSC certifications are also troubled by conflicts of interests by certifiers, flawed certifications in violation of guidelines, and terribly insufficient standards for industrial monoculture-based plantations. Only management of natural mixed species, toxic free and community supported secondary and planted forests is worthy of claims of being environmentally and socially beneficial.

It is ludicrous to expect the public to differentiate FSC certification from other "green" seals and business as usual industrial ancient and plantation logging. A much more truthful, ecologically sufficient and accessible public message is that all ancient forest logging must end as a matter of planetary survival, and we must meet our needs for wood products from regenerating, ecologically managed natural forests for the benefit of local peoples.

Once united behind a goal of ending ancient forest logging, the forest protection movement can work to end all industrial destruction and gain permanent protections for all remaining primary and old-growth forests (with appropriate compensation and continued small scale use for local peoples), promote the ecological restoration and certified management of regenerating and planted natural forest ecosystems, and assist local peoples with community based eco-development projects based upon growing secondary and standing ancient forests. This is the sufficient, ecology and people based forest protection agenda, and the only one worthy of your support. g.b.

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Title: FSC has 'failed the world's forests' say critics Timber certification body under attack from environmentalists for slipping standards
Source: Copyright 2008, Mongabay,
Date: March 26, 2008
Byline: Jeremy Hance

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has come under increasingly harsh criticisms from a variety of environmental organizations. The FSC is an international not-for-profit organization that certifies wood products: its stamp of approval is meant to create confidence that the wood was harvested in an environmentally-sustainable and socially- responsible manner. For years the FSC stamp has been imperative for concerned consumers in purchasing wood products. Yet amid growing troubles for the FSC, recent attacks from environmental organizations like World Rainforest Movement and Ecological Internet are putting the organization's credibility into question.

Last week the World Rainforest Movement released a scathing press release calling a decision by the FSC to certify eucalyptus plantations in Brazil its "death certificate." The eucalyptus plantations are owned by Veracel, a partnership between Aracruz Celulose of Brazil and Stora Enso of Sweden- Finland, which has a shaky environmental record. The press release alleges that Veracel "has a very well known record of harmful actions, including violating local communities' rights over land, to environmental pollution, water depletion and ecosystem destruction." World Rainforest Movement's greatest concern, however, is that by certifying Veracel's eucalyptus plantations, the FSC is stating that large-scale monoculture plantations are environmentally sound, socially responsible, and beneficial to local people. Whereas research has shown that monoculture plantations support little biodiversity, result in CO2 emissions relative to natural forests, and undermine the efforts of local people to manage forests in a sustainable manner. In calling this decision the FSC's "death certificate" the World Rainforest Movement asserts that "the certification of Veracel is not an isolated fact, but the last piece in a chain of failures."

As this press release emerged, the FSC was already under criticism by another environmental organization, Ecological Internet. In early March Ecological Internet began a campaign stating that the FSC's support for logging old-growth forests was completely at odds with its purpose. The campaign targets some of the world's most influential environmental and well- respected NGOs, asking them to withdraw their support from the FSC. These include Greenpeace, WWF, Rainforest Action Network, NRDC, Forest Ethics, Friends of the Earth and the Rainforest Alliance. Ecological Internet claims that, much like supporting monoculture plantations, the support of ancient forest logging diminishes biodiversity, causes net carbon losses, and harms the forest's ecology.

"It has become evident to environmentalists in the know that FSC has become an obstacle to ending ancient forest destruction, addressing climate change and biodiversity loss, and promoting desirable ecologically based practices in regenerating and planted forests," Ecological Internet founder Dr. Glen Barry told "The organization is plagued with conflicts of interest, poor quality assurance mechanisms, and generally has failed the world's forests. As such, we are in the uncomfortable position of protesting greenwashing NGO FSC supporters, who are finding it quite difficult to acknowledge they have been critical in creating and maintaining the FSC myth."

Dr. Barry's criticism of NGOs that support the FSC has touched off sharp debates within and without these organizations. The situation has become so tense that the Rainforest Alliance— usually a group that does the pro-forest campaigns—recently faced environmental protesters at a 'Green Leaders' cocktail party for their support of the FSC and old-growth logging. The Rainforest Alliance has said they will join in a debate regarding their support of old-growth logging.

Both of the reports emerged after face-saving efforts by the FSC in Indonesia where an inquiry by The Wall Street Journal last year prompted the organization to effectively revoke certification for a Singapore-based Asia Pulp & Paper Co. (APP) project on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The admission, which environmentalists said showed the FSC had relaxed its certification standards to the point at which APP could qualify for the eco-label despite a poor environmental record, threatened to undermine the credibility of its labeling scheme.

A report released this week by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Telepak on illegal logging in Southeast Asia has provided further trouble for the FSC. The report uncovered that corporations are getting away with lying about certification. Furniture companies and Kybotech Ltd. both claimed that all their products were FSC certified when the claim was patently untrue. Both companies sell wood furniture that has never received FSC certification. According to the report, Kybotech Ltd. when pressed admitted that "certain furniture sets were not actually certified."

Such reports of FSC's difficulties—both globally and locally— are not being ignored. In what may be the beginning of a large-scale abandonment of the FSC, last Tuesday the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) withdrew its long-time support of the FSC. In a statement the SSNC said that the "FSC functions badly in Sweden. The standard is weak, the lack of observance is substantial and the forest companies will to improve FSC is weak." Sweden is not alone. Certification practices in the FSC in Ireland and the US have come under increased scrutiny, causing outcry amid many local environmental groups. Last year Norway went as far as banning use of all certified wood products in public buildings.

While its future seems increasingly precarious, the FSC still possesses widespread support from large environmental global players. Further no one has yet proposed a viable replacement for the FSC should the organization not survive rising criticism.

In the meantime consumers are left increasingly in the dark when trying to purchase environmentally-sustainable and socially-responsible wood products. Caught in an environmental Catch-22, eco-conscious consumers who want to avoid supporting large-scale monoculture plantations and old-growth logging, seem forced to avoide both FSC certified and non-certified furniture.

The FSC did not reply to Mongabay's request for comment.


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