FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL OF CANADA (FSC) FOREST OPERATION CERTIFICATION PROGRAM AND SASKATCHEWAN; A PROPOSAL FOR CONSIDERATION BY FSC AND GOVERNMENT
The FSC Criteria and Indicators provide a sound basis for forest certification across Canada and in Saskatchewan. The National Boreal Standards Process has invited regional involvement in the development of the Canadian version of Criteria, Indicators and Verifiers for the FSC Program of third party forest certification.
A study of the May 21, 2022 "Forest Stewardship Council of Canada Working Group, NATIONAL BOREAL STANDARD Discussion Draft" document has led a group of Saskatchewan reviewers to propose the following general considerations for Saskatchewan.
- In Saskatchewan nearly all of the forest eligible for certification by FSC standards is held by the Crown on behalf of the public of Saskatchewan.
- Commercial use of Saskatchewan's forests is by way of various FMA lease agreements between the Government of Saskatchewan and various commercial enterprises.
- While some of these enterprises are large operations such as Weyerhaeuser Canada, other forest operations are small scale.
- Only the very largest commercial lease holders could be expected to meet the certification Criteria and Indicators required by FSC Canada, and as a consequence, only part of the forest operations are likely to meet these FSC standards with the subsequent benefits to the businesses, to the community and to the environment.
- The Government of Saskatchewan, through its Forest Management Area Land Use Planning Committees and Environment and Resource Departments, is already engaged to a significant degree in much of the work required to meet FSC certification standards.
- It appears to be a reasonable consideration for Saskatchewan, through its governmental processes, to strive to meet FSC certification standards on all of its crown forest lands, and then to require all lease holders to comply with these criteria as a condition of becoming a licenced operator in the forest. In addition any lease holder on Crown forest lands should be obligated to follow the same quality of forest operation on all of their non-crown forest operations within Saskatchewan. This latter consideration would, in effect, extend the same kind of forest protection to a majority of privately held forest lands since many of these parcels are harvested by companies that also operate with leases on Crown lands.
- Such a "global approach" would ensure forest practices in all of the Boreal Plain and Boreal Shield in Saskatchewan that meet the strict and desirable standards of the FSC, instead of a piece-meal process where initiatives to meet certification standards are left to individual commercial lease holders. With the variety of forest certification standards available to the forest industry, we could not expect any uniform high level of environmental, economic and socially desirable standards to be applied.
- Without a uniform certification standard that applies to ALL Saskatchewan forest products, Saskatchewan forest producers will fail to gain the universal recognition for high production standards that would be able to be achieved by a consistent and universal certification applied to all Crown forests. The international recognition of high quality forest practices that comes with FSC Certification, generates economic benefits and environmental benefits that are much more likely to survive the impacts of changing governments and changing political and short-term budget considerations.
- Much of the certification data collection and background work is already underway by different Saskatchewan Government agencies, and it would be logical for this to be brought to completion with the aim of meeting FSC requirements. This would be to the gain of all forest operators, to the forest communities, and to the whole provincial community. The people of Saskatchewan depend on healthy forests and sound forest operations for so much of the quality of life we experience and for much of our economic base.
- We urge FSC Canada to rethink its traditional approach of encouraging the certification of individual commercial forest operations (which makes sense where forests are privately owned as they are in much of the world), and to work to encourage the government of Saskatchewan to act as the sole owner/steward of these forests, and to seek certification of the entire public forest area of Saskatchewan. (Since FSC standards require effective consultation with, and support of Aboriginal and other affected communities, a FSC certification process would respect the claims and concerns of these communities.) This would be a significant win / win / win situation for the FSC, for the forest industries in Saskatchewan, and for the Saskatchewan public interest.
This document represents the general conclusions reached by members of the Forest Fringe Citizens' Coalition and the Prince Albert Earth Advocates who are members of the Saskatchewan Eco Network, whose good services facilitated our involvement in the FSC document study. Comments relative to specific Criteria, Indicators or verifiers will follow in a separate communication from the Forest Fringe Citizens' Coalition. It is our understanding that other Saskatchewan-based environmental groups have not yet concluded their study of the FSC Draft Documents and will not be ready to add their comments to this document in time to meet FSC deadlines. As a consequence, this document is being forwarded in its current form to the following:
Forest Stewardship Council of Canada, attention Marc Thibault, National Boreal Standards coordinator email@example.com
Government of Saskatchewan, Minister Environment, Hon. Buckley Belanger , firstname.lastname@example.org
Government of Saskatchewan, Deputy Minister of Environment, Terry Scott TScott@serm.gov.sk.ca
Saskatchewan Party Environment Critic, Carl Kwiatkowski,
Darryl Wiberg, Sask Party MLA for Sask Rivers, email@example.com
Liberal Party of Saskatchewan, Leader, David Karwacki , firstname.lastname@example.org
Jack Hillson, MLA Battlefords, email@example.com
New Green Alliance Party of Saskatchewan, Leader, Ben Webster, firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted by Gerald Regnitter on behalf of the Forest Fringe Citizens' Coalition, email@example.com
Forest Fringe Citizens Coalition (on behalf of SEN) Recommendations regarding FSC Principles and Saskatchewan Forests
See also document on FSC Principles