This situation is confusing to most people. The simple test of an "expert" is to discern if the person is speaking & writing from personal business experience, or just giving a book report or describing observations of someone else. If you are starting a business - get help from someone who is in the business and be very careful when listening to any government or university "expert" who sits in an office most of the time. These artificial "experts" have actually discouraged forest management on private lands for decades.
State, federal, and university forestry "experts" have all been a continuous antagonist and discouragement for 30 years as I have developed our forest to finished flooring business and Full Vigor Forestry.
Another Great Idea is Co-opted
This is similar to the experience I had with FSC Certification. One of the U.S.'s most famous naturalists - Aldo Leopold - described eco-labeling of wood products back in the 1940s. The Round River - 1948, compiled from his journal writings contains:
"Why is it that conservation is so rarely practiced
by those who must extract a living from the land?
Take forestry as an example:
the lumberman says he will crop his timber
when stumpage values rise high enough,
Forest devastation goes on as before.
What to do? I think we should seek some organic remedy--
something that works from the inside of the economic structure.
If exploitation-lumber and forestry-lumber were each labeled as such,
would we prefer to buy the conservation product?
The trouble is that we have developed,
along with our skill in the exploitation of land,
a prodigious skill in false advertising.
I do not want to be told by advertisers what is a conservation product.
The only alternative is consumer-discrimination...."
The founders of FSC must have read this book, and developed this great idea into their new certification system that has spread round the world. I heard about FSC in 1997 and thought it might be the answer to help me encourage good forestry here in Wisconsin. Timbergreen Farm was the first FSC certified private woodlot in the Midwestern U.S. and Timbergreen Forestry was the first FSC certified resource manager in the region. We were immediately flooded with calls from all over the world that wanted to buy shipping container-load quantities of "top-quality" FSC certified wood at "rock-bottom" prices. (What an oxymoron) I watched as the whole system was taken over by the same traditional forces that destroyed the Sustainable Woods Cooperative vision. We found that FSC certification actually discouraged good forest management on private woodlots and dropped it.
At Timbergreen Farm, we now simply tell our own story in our local community. We show our customers how we work with wood and help them become discriminating consumers. This is much more effective than paying for a global eco-label.