Some large businesses (200,000 acres or more) and government lands (many of the state lands have had the costs of certification paid by charitable foundations) may afford to be certified, but small woodlot owners and community based business must pay the high costs out of pocket, and are put at a severe disadvantage. Even in the UK where there is a strong local demand for FSC certified wood, small forest owners are not able to afford certification.
FSC needs to immediately deal with this situation on small woodlots. A practical common sense system that is affordable must be produced. I keep hearing that "we are working on that....." The focus of getting big business and big government lands FSC certified to supply the mega discount stores flies in the face of the small woodlot owner who lives in the local community. Those of us who have tried to make the current system work on small woodlots are going broke - and hearing "we are working on it" does not pay our expenses.
If FSC Standards were practical and affordable, then groups of forest owners joining together in community based value-added cooperatives would be the ideal vehicle to make certification truly successful on private woodlots. Group certification really makes sense if a common management program is used that is supported by a profitable forestry business that sells manufactured products direct to consumers.
This would be very good!
Local Value-added direct marketing cooperatives certainly are the best hope for small woodlot owners to ever achieve good sustainable forestry, low impact logging, and get a good price for harvested trees. In the UK (and Canada!) - where stumpage markets are quite poor from the forest owners point of view - there is even more incentive for forest owners to move into this completely different marketplace where they can find many advantages in utilization and marketing.
This too would be very good!
Everyone uses wood everywhere - everyday!! Look for the local demand and fill
the need. We now have the tools to do this on a small scale in the community.
Come on woodlots owners - give this a try!! It Is Good!
What happens next in Great Britain may lead the way for the rest of us. They have been working on FSC certification longer than we have and the issues are quite focused at this time. "The UK is an enormous wood consumer, we make a large effect in the international market," summarized Paul Hill-Tout.