Member companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) have agreed to follow an innovative approach to sustainable forest management that takes its cue from nature. The approach, known as Natural Range of Variation (NRV), is aimed at recreating natural landscapes by harvesting in patterns that are similar to the impact of wind, fire, insects and other natural disturbances. FPAC members committed to follow this approach after working collaboratively with environmental groups under the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. The pledge to implement NRV is considered a major step towards the environmental and industry CBFA goal of making Canada a world leader in sustainable forest management.
For the first time, FSC certification is now an option for National Forests, after the final approval in March 2019 of the supplementary requirements to the FSC US Forest Management Standard. These requirements have been incorporated into an updated version of the Standard which is available on the FSC US web site.
Should a National Forest choose to pursue FSC certification, the process would apply both the regular FSC Forest Management Standard and the newly approved supplementary requirements. These additional requirements recognize the unique role of National Forests in the United States, holding forest management on these lands to a higher level of expectations.
The supplementary requirements include an emphasis on ecological integrity, including both restoration and maintenance of ecosystems; extra protections for forest workers, including workers employed by contractors; additional requirements associated with carbon stocks, climate change and wildfire; extra requirements for assessing the landscape of the National Forest, including both the federal and non-federal lands; additional requirements associated with infrastructure, such as roads, road-crossings, and culverts; and higher expectations for consultations, including those with the public and tribes that have rights within the forest area.
The process to develop the supplementary requirements followed FSC normative procedures, including input and oversight by a chamber-balanced and consensus-based working group and technical experts, and opportunities for broad stakeholder engagement. The supplementary requirements and associated procedures for certification bodies were taken through three rounds of public consultation prior to being approved by FSC.