In May of 2004, all MassWildlife lands under the agency's management control were first certified (also referred to as Green Certification) under the international Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) criteria for sustainable forestry . FSC is an international organization that reviews and "certifies" sustainable forest management around the world. For information on the original 2004 Massachusetts Forest (Green) Certification, click on the 2004 Report in the Quick Links box above.
This initial five-year certification expired in April of 2009 and MassWildlife lands and management practices went through a comprehensive re-certification audit that began in March 2009 and was completed in August 2009. (Complete 2009 Audit Report). The audit was conducted according to the Forest Stewardship Council's Northeast Standard.
The 2009 re-certification audit report established two major conditions or Corrective Action Requests (CAR) that MassWildlife must comply with before any state wildlife lands can be re-certified. From Oct - December of 2009, MassWildlife asked for public input on actions it is taking for re-certification. More information regarding re-certification efforts, and public comments gathered and DFW response to those comments.
FAQs about Forest (Green) Certification
- What is Forest Certification?
Also reffered to as Green Certification, Forest Certification is a professional acknowledgement of a landowner's responsible forest management deemed environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable through independent audits of landowner practices, and requires extensive public review of the forest management planning process.
- Who determines the Standard for Certification?
FSC is an international organization that evaluates, accredits, and monitors independent forest product certifiers. Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) is accredited as a certifier by FSC and was contracted by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) to audit state lands in Massachusetts. SCS uses an accredited set of standards based on the FSC principals and criteria in its evaluation activities.
- What are the steps required in the SCS Certification Evaluation
A full evaluation of the land under consideration is conducted following the steps below:
- Assemble evaluation team of natural resource professionals;
- Publicize upcoming evaluation and standards to be used;
- Determine evaluation scope, collect and analyze data;
- Consult with stakeholders;
- Score the operations performance relative to the standard;
- Specify pre-conditions, conditions, and recommendations; and
- Write report and have results peer reviewed.
- What are the Evaluation Criteria used by SCS?
- The generic certification criteria of the SCS Forest Conservation Program, accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The criteria are organized into three program elements: Timber Resource Sustainability, Ecosystem Maintenance, and Financial, Socio-Economic, and Legal Considerations. The generic criteria are contained in the SCS Forest Conservation Program Operations Manual, available upon request from SCS.
- The FSC Principles & Criteria, specifically the Northeast Regional Standard (www.fscus.org/images/documents/2006_standards/ne_9.0_NTC.pdf ), to which the SCS generic criteria have been harmonized.
- What is Timber Resource Sustainability?
The timber resource sustainability program element is concerned with the manner in which the timber inventories of an ownership are managed for continuous production over the long run. The evaluation considers the degree to which:
- Forest stands are maintained or restored to fully stocked, vigorous growing condition, occupied by high-valued tree species;
- Steady, significant progress is made, over time, in "regulating" the age and/or size class distribution of stands (even-aged management) or trees or groups of trees (uneven-aged management);
- Standing timber inventory is built up to levels associated with optimal stocking;
- Temporal harvest patterns at the ownership level (or the working circle level, for larger ownerships) generally exhibit stability and absence of wide fluctuations; and
- Management is oriented towards yielding high-valued timber products.
- What is Forest Ecosystem Maintenance?
This program element is concerned with the extent to which the natural forest ecosystems indigenous to the ownership are adversely impacted during the process of managing, harvesting, and extracting timber products. The evaluation considers:
- Forest community structure and composition;
- Long-Term ecological productivity;
- Wildlife management actions, strategies, and programs;
- Watercourse management policies and programs;
- Pesticide use - practices and policies; and
- Ecosystem reserve policies.
- What are the Financial, Socio-Economic, and Legal Considerations?
This program element is concerned with three non-biophysical issues. First, it addresses the financial viability of the ownership structure and management program. Second, this program element addresses the socio-economic dimension of sustainable forest management - the human dimension of forestland use and the goods and services yielded from the forest. Special emphasis is placed upon sustaining the historical patterns of benefit, particularly to local and regional populations (including employees, contractors, neighbors, and local communities). Lastly, this program element addresses the legal and regulatory context in which forest management operations are conducted. The evaluation considers:
- Financial stability;
- Community and public involvement;
- Public use management;
- Investment of capital and personnel;
- Employee and contractor relations; and
- Compliance with relevant laws, regulations, treaties and conventions.
- Where can I obtain additional information?
For more information, check the Forest Stewardship Council and Scientific Certification Systems websites. Information about State of Massachusetts forestlands can be found on the EOEA website.
SCS Contact Person: Dave Wager, Director of Forest Management Certification Mailing Address: SCS, 6107 Skyview Drive, Missoula, MT 59803
Phone: (406) 251-7049