Conservation & Environmental Matters

------ Forwarded Message
From: Phillip Owen <>
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2005 18:19:19 +0200
To: <>
Subject: Re: Moratorium on FSC Certification of Industrial Timber


Dear All
We had received the following notification from SSNC regarding the
letter asking for moratorium on certification of industrial timber


To whom it might concern,

By a grave mistake SSNC has been put as one of the signatories of a
letter asking for moratorium on certification of industrial tree
plantations. Please find the letter enclosed as an attachment a well as
below in this email. The letter was sent on September 27 by WRM,
Uruguay, to the following receivers:,,,, och

I would kindly like to ask you to remove SSNC as a signatory of the
letter as SSNC hasn't taken any decision regarding a moratorium on FSC
certification of industrial plantations.

I'm sorry for the inconvenience this might have caused. If any
questions, don't hesitate to contact me.

Best regards,

Maria Rydlund

Tropisk skog/Tropical forest, International Department
Svenska Naturskyddsföreningen, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation


We are hopeful that SSNC will make a decision to support the moratorium
letter. We are equally hopeful that the letter will act as a strong
signal to FSC that if there is to be certification, let there be proper
certification, well justified certification, leading to true
environmental / social and financial sustainability.

Signatures are being gathered around the world to send another letter to
the Plantations Review Committee before their next meeting on November
7, in Madrid, Spain. This letter makes an urgent “call for the full
withdrawal of the FSC from plantation certification”, and also reaffirm
the demand for a moratorium on certification of plantations. The letter
is available at: . Organizations that
would like to adhere can sign on the web page or send their adhesions to
Ana Filippini ( before October 27, 2005.

Additional information about FSC and certification can be read at the
FSC web page: or at the WRM web page:

GEASPHERE supports FSC certification of indigenous forest systems, which
contributes to more sustainable utilization of the worlds Forests.
However, with regards to the certification of Industrial Timber
Plantation Monocultures we re-affirm endorsement of the letter below.
Philip Owen
October 3, 2005

Open letter asking moratorium on certification to FSC

We, the undersigned environmental and social justice organisations,
call on the FSC to immediately institute a moratorium on the
certification and re-certification of industrial timber plantations,
until the findings and recommendations of the present "Plantations
Review" have been incorporated into the FSC certification system and
are being properly implemented.

Industrial timber plantations established as large scale chemical and
mechanical intensively managed monocultures, have a wide range of
negative environmental and social impacts that have not yet been
adequately assessed and comprehensively quantified, and that cannot
therefore be meaningfully mitigated against.

The problems caused by industrial timber plantations are often more
acute in the south, where trees grow fast and high yielding alien
plantations have rotation cycles as short as seven years. These short
rotations result in abnormally high depletion of soil nutrients,
leading to long term soil impoverishment, together with accelerated
top-soil losses.

In South Africa, more than 1 million hectares of industrial timber
plantations have been certified by the FSC and timber companies use
the FSC label to promote their products as "environmentally
friendly". Yet these plantations have been responsible for major
impacts on the scarce local water resource, lowering the groundwater
table and drying out countless wetlands, fountains and streams -
which severely limit land use options and thereby jeopardise rural
people's livelihoods. All industrial timber plantations in South
Africa have been established in areas with the highest rainfall and
deepest soils, replacing valuable grasslands, and disrupting or
displacing the traditional communities that occupied those areas.

Such problems are not confined to the south. In Ireland, the FSC has
certified extensive plantations comprising 90% exotic species, mainly
Sitka Spruce from North America - with apparent disregard for
ecological impacts and nature conservation principles.

The negative impacts associated with timber plantations (and FSC
certification thereof) have come increasingly under the spotlight
during the past decade. As early as 2001 the FSC position on
plantations was listed as an issue which needed clarification. In
May, 2002 Tim Synott produced an FSC Plantation Policy Draft, which
acknowledged that "Disputes have arisen around plantation
certification, and some of the disagreements and confusion has been
caused by different interpretations of the FSC Principles and
Criteria and other policies." At the FSC general assembly in
November, 2002, FSC members passed a motion which stated that "The
current version of the FSC Plantation Policy Draft (30 May 2002) is
not clear enough and needs improvement." The motion continued to
state that FSC should produce a revised plantation policy "after a
broad consultation with the membership" to give "concrete guidance on
the interpretation of P10 [principle 10]". This was to have taken
place within 18 months, i.e. by May 2004. In September 2004 the FSC
launched the present plantations review in Bonn.

Please provide full details of the area of Industrial plantations
that has been certified since November 2002 when the organisation's
membership passed a motion which clearly stated that the FSC policy
on plantations needed improvement.

There is growing and justified opposition to the spread of industrial
timber plantations world-wide, and we cannot endorse continued FSC
certification of industrial timber plantations using the current
flawed principles and criteria. Therefore, the FSC board of directors
must suspend certification of industrial timber plantations until the
review process has been finalised and the broadly approved findings
and recommendations incorporated. It is essential that the social and
environmental concerns of the non-industry stakeholders are fully
addressed in this process. Continuing to certify industrial timber
plantations while the Review is in progress undermines the legitimacy
of the review and the reputation of the FSC.


Leonie van der Maesen
Native Forest Network,
FoE, Australia

Lydia Bartz
Urgewald, Germany

Peter Gerhardt
Robin Wood, Germany

Chris Lang
WRM Plantations Campaign, Germany

Simone Lovera
Friends of the Earth International, The Netherlands

Philip Owen
Geasphere, South Africa

Godfrey Silaule,
Geasphere, South Africa

Wally Menne
Timberwatch Coalition, South Africa

Ricardo Carrere
World Rainforest Movement, Uruguay

Francis Darvall
Five Assegais Country Estate, South Africa


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