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Tony Rotherham offers response to FSC Canada

Feb. 26, 2016 - In his letter to CFI magazine dated Feb 24, 2016, Francois Dufresne states in reference to Motion 65 that: "FSC has no intent to overstep any government regulation authority. We do not develop caribou recovery plans or design systems of protected areas, all we do is to set the standards for voluntarily certified forests in Canada and elsewhere".

Motion 65 directs national FSC organizations and auditors to develop, modify, or strengthen auditable standards to ensure FSC certification is safeguarding Intact Forest Landscapes in areas that are FSC certified."

"Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs) are defined as unbroken expanses of natural forest ecosystems showing no signs of significant human activity, and large enough (minimum 500 km2 or 123 000 acres) that all native biodiversity, including viable populations of wide-ranging species, can be maintained."

This sounds very much like a protected area.

When the provincial Minister responsible for the management of public forest land approves the area of forest contained within the boundaries of a forest management license, he clearly makes a decision on the use of that land - active management in compliance with provincial regulations. The Minister is legally empowered by provincial legislation and the Canadian Constitution to make these decisions.

The Hon. Laurent Lessard, Quebec’s Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, clearly had the same impression I had regarding the intent and impact of Motion 65. In the January 8, 2015 Le Quotidien, he is quoted as calling on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) International to clean up its own act, and reiterates to Executive Director Kim Carstensen that the government of Quebec will not allow a "third party" to dictate its course of action in the management of public forests, nor will it participate in mediation to resolve the growing certification crisis in Canada.

It should be noted that the "certification crisis" noted by Minister Lessard involves only the FSC and not CSA or SFI.

In his letter Francois Dufresne also states; "Furthermore, it is important to understand that there is certainly no immediate threat in the application of Resolution 65 on Intact Forest Landscapes in Canada. Since last year, FSC Canada has put in place and started applying a robust process in order to establish pragmatic and well-balanced solutions to the application of this resolution in Canada, from coast to coast".

The details of Motion 65 do allow some wriggle room but as to the robust process put in place by the FSC- who knows what the outcome will be.

But here is an indication.

The final bit of text in Motion 65 states:

"If by the end of 2016 a relevant standard has not been implemented, a default indicator will apply that mandates the full protection of a core area of each IFL within the management unit. For this purpose, the core area of the IFL will be defined as an area of forest comprising at least 80% of the intact forest landscape falling within the FMU".

How would you interpret the intent and impact of the Greenpeace International Motion 65? Forest land use planning? Or?

Tony Rotherham BScF UNB 1962.
President of CIF/IFC 1992/3 (Tree of Life Awarded in 2014)
Registered Professional Forester (RPF) BC and Ontario (retired)

February 26, 2016  By Tony Rotherham

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