FSC Protects Forests for Future Generations
FSC Protects Forests for Future Generations
Guest post by Ian Hanna of EarthShare member Forest Stewardship Council – U.S.
Pause for a moment to imagine a thriving forest. Maybe it’s
a forest from your childhood or a landscape from your travels. Look up and see
the tops of the trees. Take a deep breath to inhale the fresh forest air – the
perfume of pine needles and moss. A stream of cold, clear water rushes past you
as yesterday’s rainfall still drips to the forest floor.
People are a forest species. We come from the forest and
rely on forests for clean water to drink and air to breath. Forests regulate
our planet’s climate, air, soils and water and provide homes to wildlife. Around
the world, forests support 1.6 billion people and provide habitat to 70% of the
world’s terrestrial animals and plants.
No natural system is as diverse or iconic as a forest.
Yet the forests of our childhood memories may be just that,
memories. 30 million acres of forest are lost each year – 36 football fields
every minute. Deforestation is responsible for 18% of all greenhouse gas
emissions – more than the entire transportation sector.
We need to take better care of our forests.
Enter the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a nonprofit
organization that sets standards for responsible management of the world’s
forests. Founded in 1993 by progressive businesses and environmental groups,
FSC is a member-led organization that uses the power of the marketplace to
protect forests for future generations. With groups such as WWF, Sierra Club,
The Nature Conservancy and Rainforest Action Network as members, FSC represents
the gold standard for forest management.
At FSC, we know that forests can be managed
in a way that protects, and even enhances, ecosystem values and benefits to
local communities. FSC standards everywhere in the world are renowned for their
comprehensiveness, including the following key concerns:
the rights of indigenous people
the rights of the local workers
high conservation value forests
habitat for wildlife including rare, threatened and endangered species
water resources, soils and fragile ecosystems
the use of hazardous chemicals and GMO’s
conversion to plantations or non-forest uses
When you see the FSC logo on a product you buy, it means
your purchase is directly supporting healthy forests.
Today, more than 400 million acres of forest (170 million in
the US and Canada) and 26,000 companies are certified to FSC standards. These lands
are protected from deforestation and are maintained as healthy, working
In the US, much of our forestland is private. If landowners
can’t earn a living from these forests, they will inevitably cut them down for
farms, ranches or real estate development. While total acreage of forests in
the US remains relatively stable, certain parts of the country are seeing
declining forest coverage. For example, the Southeastern US is projected to
lose 31 million acres of forest by 2040.
By creating demand for products from responsibly managed forests, FSC is
helping protect forests for future generations. In fact, today, more than
40,000 American family forest owners are FSC certified. When we purchase
products with the FSC logo, we are saying to the landowner, “thank you for
taking care of your forest.”
Like many nonprofit organizations, FSC relies on support
from donors to do its work.
Current efforts focus on bringing more family forest owners
into the FSC system, to protect forests as they change hands from generation to
generation, especially in the Southeastern US.
FSC is also working to promote wood from FSC certified
forests as a green building material. Unlike concrete or steel, wood sequesters
carbon for the life of the building. And when it comes from a well-managed
forest, it is arguably the most sustainable building material.
Donor support helps FSC grow programs like these, creating
demand for responsibly managed forests. This translates into cleaner air and
water, protected habitat for rare and endangered species, fewer toxic
pesticides used and overall improvement in the health of our forests.
Through Earthshare, you can do your part to help ensure the
health of the world’s forests – through individual donations and by looking for
the FSC logo when purchasing wood and paper products.
To learn more about FSC, visit our website at www.fsc.org.
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