Friday, March 28, 2008

Report: Local Control Saves Forests

Go to OneWorld original
NEW YORK - There will likely be fewer wildfires and more trees for future generations if loggers abide by a set of international rules on forest management, says a new study by independent environmentalists.

In releasing the 18-page study, the New York-based Rainforest Alliance said minimal deforestation and few wildfires occurred in areas managed according to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification standards.

Focusing their research on the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala, the study’s authors said they found the tropical rainforest covered by FSC certification to be much safer than areas that were not covered by the certification.

“These findings confirm that communities will indeed manage their land responsibly rather than destroy it if it makes economic sense to do so,” said Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance.

“In this case,” she added, “that incentive is a market for responsibly harvested timber and non-timber forest products.”

FSC certification indicates that a forest is responsibly managed. The certification process requires third-party auditing to ensure international standards are met for the rights of indigenous groups and workers, biodiversity conservation, the protection of ecologically important areas, and a range of other environmental, social, and economic criteria.

Much like the Fair Trade logo for coffee, chocolate, and other food products, the FSC logo on wood products — from toilet tissue to lumber — indicates to consumers that their purchases support the interests of forest-dwelling communities and the environment.


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