The Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) an international timber plantation management certification body, has announced the imminent start of the technical phase of the much-publicised FSC Plantations Review.
Established in mid-2005 due to concerns raised by various stakeholders in the international timber industry on certain issues relating to the previous FSC plantation management certification process, the final report on the Plantations Review has offered recommendations on overcoming these concerns and problems. “The FSC board of directors has approved the final recommendations from the Plantations Policy Working Group on the Review for the technical phase of the review to be implemented,” said FSC spokesperson Sarah McKay. ”FSC is now looking for interested individuals to actively participate in this final technical phase by volunteering as a technical expert.”
According to the FSC, the approved recommendations highlighted the need for further clarification and guidance on FSC requirements regarding stakeholder consultation, social issues, chemical use, ecosystem integrity, and conversion of natural forests to plantations. The board of directors also pointed out the need for an overall review of the FSC system in order to reduce unnecessary complexities, increase revenue, strengthen the role and support for national initiatives, ensure high quality and transparent certification assessments and auditing of independent certification bodies, and to develop a clear strategy and vision for the FSC. “The technical phase of the Plantations Review will require 16 technical experts who will be working on specific issues in smaller teams.
These teams will further develop the recommendations into final technical solutions. Outcomes of the technical phase will include revised requirements and practical handbooks, models, best practice guidelines, and online tools and resources for improved timber plantation management and certification,” McKay continued. he FSC added that technical experts would be required to have in-depth knowledge and experience of various aspects relating to plantation management, as well as of community and indigenous people’s rights, forest worker issues, corporate community relations, integrated pest management, ecosystem conservation, and conversion of natural ecosystems to plantations. – Lloyd Phillips E-mail Sarah McKay at [email protected]. Visit www.fsc.org/ plantations to read the report on the Plantations Review.