The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) was created in 1993 to “promote responsible management of the world’s forests”. Yet FSC has failed miserably, with massive ecological impacts, as it exists primarily to greenwash primary forest logging as being acceptable. FSC efforts support “sustainably” logging tens of millions of hectares of primary and old-growth forests – hundreds of year old trees in millions of year old naturally evolved ecosystems – for lawn furniture, toilet paper and other throw-away consumer items. Many environmentalists initially supported FSC, expecting it would reduce logging of primary and old growth forests, and result in more community based eco-forestry. Instead, by building a massive market for primary forest timbers, FSC has become a major cause of old forest loss and diminishment.
Ancient, ecologically intact forests – rainforests in particular - are the ultimate expression of life, evolution and ecology. Primary forests logged industrially for the first time – FSC certified or otherwise – are destroyed and what remains is permanently ecologically damaged in terms of composition, structure, function and dynamics. Logged primary forests' carbon stores, biodiversity and ecosystems will never be the same in any reasonable time-span. Selectively logged rainforests become fragmented, burn more and are prone to outright deforestation. While other certification schemes are even worse, this is not the issue, as primary forest logging cannot be done ecologically sustainably and should not be happening at all. Ecological Internet is NOT the only organization concerned, as the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation – a FSC co-founder – recently resigned from FSC over these very ecological concerns - joining a growing list.
Best estimates are FSC has already certified the first time industrial logging of sixty million hectares (about 150 million acres) of primary and old-growth forests, and an equal amount is threatened in FSC's plans for coming years. This is nearly 460,000 square miles of primary and other old forests destruction – an area the size of South Africa, or nearly two times the size of Texas! But no one really knows the full extent of the problem, as FSC says it does not compile how many old forests it certifies for first time heavy industrial logging (how convenient). After years of stonewalling by FSC and member organizations, FSC must respond to the following questions: 1) how many hectares of primary forests has FSC certified for industrial logging, and how much more is planned 2) and how does logging primary forest protect them?
FSC must commit to ending its certification of any primary forests. In light of current and emerging ecosystem, biodiversity and climate science; as well as evident abrupt climate change and the ongoing biodiversity extinction crises, it is clear that FSC certification for industrial primary and old-growth logging is antiquated and dangerous. FSC should meet market demand for well-managed forest timbers by certifying only 1) small scale community eco-forestry practiced by local peoples in primary forests, 2) regenerating and aging secondary forests, and 3) non-toxic and mixed species plantations. The forest movement has to commit to fully protecting and restoring old carbon, species and ecosystem service rich forests as a keystone response to achieve global ecological sustainability, or risk becoming irrelevant.
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FSC primary forest logging in Sweden. To solve climate change, biodiversity, ecosystem and biosphere crises need old forest protection & restoration.
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