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Operational Plan for Forest Certification Third Party Audits by roq91753

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									     Background on the
National Forest System Lands
  Certification Test Project

         October 12, 2005




         Doug MacCleery, Project Manager, (202) 205-1745
         Jennifer Plyler, Communication Contact, (202) 205-1777
         Richard Cook, EMC Contact, (202) 205-1275
                                                         National Forest System Lands
                                                           Certification Test Project

                                                                   Table of Contents

Background on the NFS Certification Test Project
      Introduction ................................................................................................. 3
      Third Party-Certification in the U.S. ........................................................... 3
      Brief History of Forest Service Consideration of NFS Certification .......... 4
      Existing Forest Service Policy on NFS Certification .................................. 4

Operation Plan for NFS Certification Test Project
       Scope of the Study ....................................................................................... 6
       Methodology ............................................................................................... 6
       Roles and Responsibilities ........................................................................... 7
          Forest Service ........................................................................................ 7
          Pinchot Institute ..................................................................................... 7
          Auditors ................................................................................................. 7
       Deliverables ................................................................................................ 7
       Key Messages, Talking Points, and Q’s & A’s ....................................... 8
       Q’s and A’s (general)................................................................................... 8
       Q’s and A’s (auditing related) ................................................................... 10
       Communication Products .......................................................................... 12
       Contacts ..................................................................................................... 12

Appendix
      Forest Certification Overview .................................................................. 14
      Forest Certification Programs in the United States ................................... 14
      Forest Certification and EMS .................................................................... 15
      Facilitating a Collective Commitment to Conservation Forest Service
      Associate Chief Sally Collins, 2005 Forest Leadership Conference ......... 18




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                             Background on the NFS Certification Test Project
Introduction

The Forest Service believes that independent, third party certification to externally developed standards1 is a
valuable, market-based tool that can encourage sustainable management of both private and public forest lands.
Over the last decade, the area of forests in the U.S., including public forests, which have successfully been
certified under various certification systems has increased dramatically.

Many of the administrators of the public forests that have become certified have cited a variety of benefits from
certification, including management improvements, increased transparency and public support, and improved
employee morale.

Only a few federal forest lands have become certified in the U.S. Because of this, the Forest Service is
planning to evaluate over the next two years the implications of the application of third-party certification on a
number of national forests. These tests will give the Forest Service information to assess the potential benefits
and costs of the possible application of third-party certification to portions of the National Forest System lands.

Initially, one national forest (Allegheny National forest in Pennsylvania) and one management unit (Lakeview
Federal Stewardship Unit, Fremont-Winema National Forest in Oregon) will be evaluated against FSC and SFI
standards. Preliminary field audits on these two units will be completed this fall and the full audits will be
completed early next year. Other national forest evaluations are expected to follow as funding becomes
available.2

Third-Party Certification in the U.S.

The role of independent third party certification of forestlands has grown rapidly during the last decade. Forest
certification is a marketplace tool used globally to encourage responsible management of forestlands.
Advocates for third party certification feel that forest conservation goals can be advanced through independent
verification of forest ownerships as ―well managed‖ or ―sustainably managed.‖

From a relatively modest beginning largely outside the United States in the early 1990’s, certification has
become one of the most significant emerging developments in forestry over the last decade. Certification of
state lands with large forest management programs, concerns from NFS timber purchasers and local


1
  ―Independent third party certification‖ indicates certification to standards derived by a group external to the organization being
audited. Forest Service ISO described on page 19 will require independent third party certification to standards developed through
the forest planning process with public involvement. The key difference is the source of the standards.
T
   There is informational PowerPoint on the NFS Certification Test project that can be downloaded from the Reference Material
section of the WO PAO Intranet site: http://fsweb.wo.fs.fed.us/pao/. Additional web-based information is available at:
www.fs.fed.us/projects/ and on the Pinchot Institute for Conservation website at www.pinchot.org/certification.htm.



3
communities, and congressional interest make ongoing questions about application of forest certification to
national forests a major issue.

In addition, certified forest products have become increasingly prominent in the marketing of forest product
retailers and their suppliers in the United States. Retailers, including entities such as Home Depot, Lowes, 84
Lumber, Kaufmann and Broad home builders, and a host of other businesses have developed policies that state
their intent to give preference to ―green‖ certified products. There is also a hope that consumers will express a
preference for forest products from certified ownerships or will even pay a premium for such products.

Certification systems found in the United States include the Forest Stewardship Council, the Sustainable
Forestry Initiative, the American Tree Farm System, and the National Forestry Association’s ―Green Tag
Forestry‖ program. Each system has independently developed standards and criteria that are used to evaluate
performance. Landowners have the option of seeking certification under more than one system.

See the appendix for a brief description of the main certification systems in use in the U.S.

Brief History of Forest Service Consideration of NFS Certification

In February 1997, Collins Pine and World Wildlife Fund approached the Forest Service about carrying out
some pilot tests of FSC certification of national forest lands. After reviewing the issue, the NFS acting deputy
chief issued direction to the field (May 8, 1997) not to pursue certification pending further review of its
implications. The following year, the community of Lakeview Oregon created a national stir on the
certification issue when it sought to explore the possibility of FSC certification of the Lakeview Federal
Sustained Yield Unit (LSYU). Some environmental NGOs strongly opposed FSC certification of NFS lands.

In June 1997, the NFS deputy chief reaffirmed the Forest Service’s position of not actively seeking
certification, but expressed the intent to cooperate with outside parties who wish to review management
practices on national forests, and recognized the potential value of the forest certification concept on non-
federal lands. In July 1997, after a major, multi-party conference, the community of Lakeview dropped its
pursuit of FSC certification of the LSYU, but agreed to an independent third party audit.

The NFS certification/auditing issue reemerged in the fall of 2000 when the chief operating officer requested
the Policy Analysis and the Sustainable Development Issues Team (SDIT) in the WO to reexamine the issue of
third party certification and/or environmental auditing of NFS lands. This process, which was assisted by Yale
University, involved meetings with environmental NGOs, AF&PA, FSC, certifying organizations, wood
product retailers, and others. It also involved internal meetings and updates, including briefings with the Inter-
Regional Ecosystem Management Coordinating Group and NLT. The strong consensus arising out of these
meeting was that independent third-party environmental audits could have some significant benefits to the
agency and the public.

The latest initiative is to evaluate over the next two years the implications of the application of third-party
certification under SFI and FSC on a number of National Forests. The study will give the Forest Service



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information to assess the potential benefits and costs of the possible application of third-party certification to
portions of the National Forest System lands.

Existing Forest Service Policy on NFS Certification

Current policy for National Forest System lands directs Regional Foresters to ―…refrain from making any
commitments to, or pursuing any agreements with, third party certifying organizations on national forest
lands.‖ However, this policy certainly does not prevent outside parties from evaluating NFS practices.

The Forest Service will cooperate with outside parties who wish to review management practices on individual
national forests. Such reviews could use FSC, SFI, or whatever basis they wish to evaluate national forest
management practices. A review may find that the national forest unit being reviewed meets the standards
being applied. Alternatively, it may identify and recommend possible changes in the management practices
being applied.

If the Forest Service feels the recommendations for management changes that flow from such a review are
valid, it would consider making such changes. If such action necessitates amendment or revision of the
existing forest plan, it must, of course, be done with full public involvement and following all required
procedures under NFMA, NEPA, and other applicable laws.




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                             Operation Plan for NFS Certification Test Project
Scope of Study

The NFS Certification Test Project will explore what could be learned from testing third party auditing to both
SFI and FSC standards and help the agency determine what policy and management changes might be needed
if the Forest Service elects to pursue third party certification to externally developed standards3 of its national
forests and grasslands. Actual certification of national forests is outside the scope of this study.

The goal of this study is to examine the consistency of current land and resource management activities on
national forests with the requirements of the two major forest certification programs now operating in the U.S.,
utilizing independent third-party assessments to examine current management standards and the application of
these standards in the field.

The Pinchot Institute is a partner in carrying out this study along with auditors who will be contracted by the
Institute to conduct a third party independent assessment of NFS lands on six national forests and one
management unit in comparison to standards set forth by SFI and FSC. These forests include:

        Allegheny National Forest (PA)
        Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (WI)
        Medicine Bow National Forest (WY)
        Mt. Hood National Forest (OR)
        Siuslaw National Forest (OR)
        National Forests in Florida (FL).
        Lakeview Federal Stewardship Unit on the Fremont-Winema National Forest (OR)

Methodology

The Forest Service and the Pinchot Institute have signed a joint venture agreement to evaluate the potential
consistency of certification with the Forest Service’s existing mission to conserve and sustainably manage
Federal public lands.

Through planned site visits to the seven locations on NFS lands, interviews, and reviewing forest documents,
auditors will evaluate the current management practices on public lands with those of standards established by
SFI and FSC.



3
  ―Independent third party certification‖ indicates certification to standards derived by a group external to the organization being
audited. Forest Service ISO described on page 19 will require independent third party certification to standards developed through
the forest planning process with public involvement. The key difference is the source of the standards.




6
The Pinchot Institute will then analyze the auditors’ results and submit a final report to the Forest Service after
each forest visit. The Institute will also evaluate lessons learned with Forest Service field staff involved in the
field audits for this project.

The Forest Service selected these study areas based on several criteria, including stakeholder inquiries about
certification and the ready interest of forest supervisors and regional offices. Also, it is important that the study
areas represent diverse geographical, socio-political, economic and ecological settings.
The Pinchot Institute will work independently, but in consultation with the Forest Service and other partners, to
develop the financial support to carry out the study.

Roles and Responsibilities

The following are specified roles and responsibilities for the various parties involved:

Forest Service
    Identify six national forests and one management unit to study
    Review all outside funding proposals received by the Pinchot Institute
    Determine the auditors to be used for each review
    Serve as the spokesperson for the agency on the study
    Set up the schedules for audits in coordination with the forests and the Pinchot Institute
    Contribute funds for this project.

Pinchot Institute
    Coordinate with the Forest Service to identify national forests for the project
    Contract with approved third party auditors
    Provide coordination between the Forest Service and auditors
    Review and evaluate the auditors’ reports: prepare final reports
    Work with the Forest Service to conduct briefings of results with interested parties
    Respond to inquiries as determined by the communication plan
    Work to secure third party funding for audits

Auditors
    Conduct audits on six national forests and one management unit of current management practices in
       relation to FSC and SFI standards: Provide a written report.

Deliverables

The deliverables include:

       Auditors’ reports
       Assessment of auditors’ reports
       Lessons learned from audits



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                             Key Messages, Talking Points, and Qs and As
Key Messages and Talking Points

    1) The Forest Service will not be certified under either FSC or SFI under this test project.
         Actual certification of national forests is not the objective of this effort, and is explicitly outside the
           scope of the study.
         The study will better inform the Forest Service about the ways its current management on the
           national forests is and is not, consistent with the requirements for certification.
         If at some future time the Forest Service determines there is sufficient public value associated with
           actual certification, the agency will develop or modify its policy.

    2) Certification has become an effective and powerful mechanism to guide and demonstrate
    commitment to sustainable forest management.
         The Forest Service’s early support for the premise of these efforts continues unabated, but now is
           about to take on an additional dimension.
         The agency has begun preliminary steps to field test, on selected national forests, the possible
           practical application of forest certification using the Forest Stewardship Council, and the
           Sustainable Forestry Initiative certification systems.
         We will employ the services of auditors familiar with these certification systems.

    3) The certification studies will provide the opportunity to learn about both the schemes involved and
    the third party auditing processes associated with those schemes and will allow us to evaluate how
    our approaches align with these systems.
         The agency’s current goal is to employ these tests to help us better understand the certification
            program, and the process of independent third party audits.
         The national forests selected are located around the country to represent a variety of interests,
            ecosystems, and geographic diversity.
         National forests selected for the study include the Allegheny (PA), Chequamegon-Nicolet (WI),
            Medicine Bow (WY), Mt. Hood National Forest and Siuslaw National Forest (OR), the National
            Forests in Florida (FL), and a management unit on the Fremont-Winema National Forest (OR).

Q’s and A’s

General Qs and As

Q. What is forest certification?
A. Forest certification is a non-regulatory, market-based means of promoting responsible forestry practices.
Forest certification provides an independent third-party assurance that a forestry operation meets standards set
by a certification program. Landowners apply voluntarily. Certification is focused on the forest management
unit level and is often associated with eco-labeling and chain-of-custody certification for forest products
removed.



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Q. Is certification compatible with ecosystem restoration given that so much emphasis has been placed
on the market aspects of forest certification?
A. Yes. Certification is designed to assure the public that a landowner is following a given set of standards that
promote sound forest stewardship, which includes ecosystem restoration. Certification requirements seek to
integrate ecological, socio-cultural, and economic objectives in the management of individual forest units.

Q. When will the study be completed?
A. Completion of the study depends on funding, scheduling, and other factors. At this time, it is difficult to
specify a completion date. We do expect completion of each test within one year of initiation.

Q. How much will it cost and who will pay for it?
A. Audit costs are variable. In the joint venture agreement, the Pinchot Institute is responsible for securing
funding from third party, non-government sources. The Forest Service will contribute less than half of the costs
not to exceed $100,000 per unit. The Pinchot Institute has secured funding for audits to occur on the Allegheny
National Forest (PA) and the Lakeview Federal Stewardship Unit (OR).

Q. What work has the Forest Service undertaken so far relative to certification processes?
A. Over the past 15 years, the Forest Service has been approached by various outside organizations and
communities about carrying out pilot tests of various certification schemes on national forest lands. Current
Forest Service policy is not to seek certification. However, the Forest Service will cooperate with outside
parties who wish to review management practices on national forests.

In the fall of 2000 the agency revisited its policy on certification of NFS lands. The strong consensus arising
out of these discussions was that independent third-party environmental audits could have some significant
benefits to the agency and the public.

The latest initiative is to evaluate over the next two years the implications of the application of third-party
certification under SFI and FSC on a number of national forests. These tests will give the Forest Service
information to assess the potential benefits and costs of the possible application of third-party certification to
portions of the National Forest System lands.

Q. On what national forests and management unit will the studies take place?
A. The candidate sites are:
    Allegheny National Forest (PA)
    Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (WI)
    Medicine Bow National Forest (WY)
    Mt. Hood National Forest (OR)
    Siuslaw National Forest (OR)
    National Forests in Florida (FL).
    Lakeview Federal Stewardship Unit on the Fremont-Winema National Forest (OR)




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Q. How were these forests selected?
A. The Forest Service selected these study areas based on several criteria, including stakeholder inquiries about
certification and the ready interest of forest supervisors and regional offices. Also, it is important that the case
study areas represent diverse geographical, socio-political, economic and ecological settings.


Q. What are the steps to complete the study?
A. The first step is to secure funding for each audit. As funding is secured, the audits will be scheduled. Once
the audits are completed, the Pinchot Institute will conduct an analysis of the audits and present the results to
the Forest Service.

Q. Will the study lead to forest certification of national forests?
A. Actual certification of national forests is not the objective of this effort, and is explicitly outside the scope of
the study. The study will better inform the Forest Service about the ways its current management on the
national forests is and is not, consistent with the requirements for certification. If at some future time the
Forest Service determines there is sufficient public value associated with actual certification, the agency will
develop or modify its policy.

Q. Will this test help in addressing questions as to how EMS and certification may relate to one another
operationally?
A. The NFS Certification Test Project could help address three important questions:

    Will the development of an EMS by a NF make it easier and less expensive for that NF later to become
     certified?
    If a NF knows in advance of developing its EMS that certification is an objective, would that or should that
     affect the design of its EMS?
    If a NF has an ISO conforming EMS around forest management with independent third party audits, what
     are the additional benefits and costs of certifying to SFI or FSC standards?

Certification Auditing Qs and As (New)

Q. What is the auditing process and what are auditors looking for?
A. Third party certification is based on onsite comprehensive assessments performed by firms accredited by
the certification body (in the case of the certification test forests, these are, FSC and SFI). The auditing firms
conduct up-front coordination with the units and then make a preliminary site visit. Several weeks after the
preliminary assessment, the auditing firms return and carry out a more comprehensive assessment, which
includes an evaluation of a variety of activities in the forests and whether they conform with the requirements
in the certification standards. The evaluation also normally includes interviews with contractors, and others
who are affected by--or just interested in--how the lands are managed. Through these stages, auditors pay
close attention to the overall management system, including the management plan and monitoring programs, to
make sure that the landowner is capable of tracking and maintaining healthy forests over the long-term.




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At completion of the assessment, the auditing firms submit a certification report, which includes a
recommendation on whether the management unit is ready to become certified. An affirmative
recommendation for certification is often accompanied by requests for changes in management to better
conform to the certification standard. A summary of findings will be made publicly available.

Q. What audit firms will be conducting audits on the Allegheny National Forest and Lakeview Federal
Sustained Yield Unit and how long will it take?

A. The assessments on the Allegheny National Forest will be carried out jointly by two audit firms,
SmartWood and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The assessments of the Lakeview Federal Stewardship Unit will be
carried out jointly by, Scientific Certification Systems and NSF International Strategic Registrations. They will
be working together under contract held by the Pinchot Institute for Conservation, a non-profit partner to the
Forest Service.

In both cases, the preliminary review assessment will be conducted this Fall, with the full audit occurring this
Spring after the areas become readily accessible. The final report should be available to the public by mid-
year.

Q. What role do external stakeholders play?
A. There will be opportunities for public involvement as part of the case studies, so anyone interested can both
learn more about the certification process in each case study area, and comment on the management of the
national forests.

Formal public involvement will occur in two ways, as part of the FSC assessment process. First, in order to
more closely match the requirements of the FSC Federal Lands Policy the selected audit team is required to
conduct stakeholder consultation (see answer to question below). Another stage of consultation will occur
through one or several meeting(s) local to the forest, as is typical of FSC certification assessments. Both of
these processes will be coordinated by the auditors.

Q. How will the NFS specific issues and concerns be addressed?

A. The Forest Stewardship Council in the U.S. requires that a new standard be developed by an FSC-appointed
body for each new federal land base that considers certification.

One set of federal land standards has already been developed for the Department of Defense (DOD) and the
Department of Energy (DOE), for certification of the forests of the Fort Lewis military installation in
Washington State. As part of the certification test project the assessment firms will be required to evaluate
what additional measures of assessment might be necessary for the Forest Service. National forest
management will be assessed against these additional measures, the FSC DOE/DOD federal land standard, and
any FSC regional standards that are applicable to all other landowners in the region.

Stakeholder comments are solicited in this process of formulating a set of additional concerns specific to the
management of national forests, which will be then used as part of the assessment.


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Communication Products

The following communication products are available:

    Key messages and talking points (in draft form in comm. plan)
    Web-based information is available at: www.fs.fed.us/projects/
    Powerpoint (an informational PowerPoint can be downloaded from the Reference Material section of the
     WO PAO Intranet site: http://fsweb.wo.fs.fed.us/pao/ )
    Pinchot Institute for Conservation website at www.pinchot.org/certification.htm.


Contacts

Communication Specialist:
   Jennifer Plyler, (202) 205-1777

Washington Office Subject Matter Experts:
   Doug MacCleery, (202) 205-1745
   Richard Cook, (202) 205-1275

National Forests and Regional Public Affairs Contacts
    Steve Miller, PAO, Allegheny National Forest (PA), (814) 723-5150
          o Sherry Wagner, PAO director, R9, (414) 297-3640
    Michael T Miller and Holly Kulinski, PAO, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (WI), (715) 362-
      1362
          o Sherry Wagner, PAO director, R9, (414) 297-3640
    Nancy J. Clarke, PAO, Medicine Bow National Forest (WY), (307) 745-2300
          o Terri Gates, PAO director, R2, (303) 275-5427
    Glen Sachet, PAO, Mt. Hood National Forest (OR), (503) 668-1791
          o Al Matecko, PAO director, R6, (503) 808-2240
    Joni Quarnstrom, PAO, Siuslaw National Forest (OR), (541) 750-7000
          o Al Matecko, PAO director, R6, (503) 808-2240
    Denise Rains, PAO, National Forests in Florida (FL), (850) 523-8568
          o Angela Coleman, PAO director, R8, (404) 347-7226
    Lisa Swinney, PAO (for F/W NF) Lakeview Federal Stewardship Unit on the Fremont-Winema
      National Forest (OR), (541) 947-6261
          o Al Matecko, PAO director, R6, (503) 808-2240

Regional Subject Matter Expert Contacts
Thomas A. Schmidt (or current acting), R9, (414) 297-3655
    Allegheny National Forest (PA)



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    Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (WI)
Pamela Skeels R2, (303) 275-5153
    Medicine Bow National Forest (WY)
Peggy Kain R6, (503) 808-2662 or Rex Holloway, (503) 808-
    Mt. Hood National Forest (OR)
    Siuslaw National Forest (OR)
    Lakeview Federal Stewardship Unit on the Fremont-Winema National Forest (OR)
Chris Liggett, R8, (404) 347-3183
    National Forests in Florida (FL).


National Forest Subject Matter Experts on Active Test Forests
Allegheny National Forest
Lois DeMarco, (814) 723-5150 est. 153.

Lakeview Federal Stewardship Unit
Jerry Haugen, (541) 883-6726

Certification Auditors on Active Test Forests
Allegheny National Forest
Dave Bubser , SmartWood, (507) 663-1115

Lakeview Federal Stewardship Unit
David Wager, Scientific Certification Systems,(406) 251-7049


Pinchot Institute
    Al Sample, (202) 797-6580; Will Price, (570) 296-9626




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                                                           Appendix
Forest Certification Overview4

Public attention regarding forests has increased significantly over the last half of the 20th century, and the call
to encourage sustainable development has emerged worldwide. In 1992, the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development (UNCED) - the Rio Earth Summit - prompted a set of international guidelines
for sustainability. Called principles and criteria, these guidelines encapsulated the scope of issues that should
be considered when evaluating forest management and they capture today’s broader definition of sustainability.
Though still very dynamic, the definition has expanded to address the health of the entire forest ecosystem.

Forest management certification arose as a non-regulatory alternative for fostering the improved stewardship of
working forestlands. While there are many regulations governing forest management -- particularly in the
United States -- certification offers a stamp of approval for forest management practices that meet standards
considered to be environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable. Forest certification
has become a tool to distill the broad concepts of sustainable management into measurable guidelines that can
be verified and then communicated to a world market.

Today, development of forestry standards is occurring in 25 countries around the world and 269 million acres
worldwide have been certified. In at least 25 other countries, stakeholders are in discussion about the
establishment of forestry standards.

Forest Certification Programs in the United States

There are four certification programs operating in the United States that distill the broad UNCED principles to
on-the-ground practices. To demonstrate conformance with these programs, each program based their
standards on a set of criteria and indicators. Even though the programs approach conformance to their
standards differently, each of the programs share common attributes. Reforestation is the cornerstone of
sustainable forestry, and each of the standards has measures in place to ensure long-term forest productivity
through reforestation. Specific indicators call for participants to help identify and protect biological diversity,
high conservation value forests, and critically imperiled species. Other indicators call for the protection of
water quality. All of these programs have a formal independent third-party certification process.

The major certification programs in the United States include:

The American Tree Farm System® is a program of the American Forest Foundation, a nonprofit
organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., which operates throughout the U.S. The longest-operating
program of this kind which has been enrolling forest owners and inspecting forests for over 60 years. Its stated
mission is ―to promote the growing of renewable forest resources on private lands while protecting
environmental benefits and increasing public understanding of all benefits of productive forestry.‖ To help
landowners meet these goals, the American Tree Farm System provides outreach, education, and technical
4
    Adapted and summarized from materials prepared for the World Forestry Congress, Quebec City, 2003.



14
assistance. There are approximately 55,000 certified Tree Farms totaling almost 33 million acres of family
forestland across 48 states. Landowners with at least ten acres of managed forestland may seek certification of
their land by the American Tree Farm System. www.treefarmsystem.org

The Forest Stewardship Council, FSC-US’s mission is to promote, through certification, broad-scale
improvements in forest management practices in the US – practices that are: (1) environmentally responsible,
(2) socially acceptable, and (3) economically viable. As of April 2005, the FSC had certified over 15 million
acres of forestland in the U.S. www.fscus.org

The Green Tag program was developed by the National Forestry Association in cooperation with members of
the Association of Consulting Foresters and the National Woodland Owners Association. It aims to support
forestry practices that assure a balance of natural diversity and sustainable forest productivity. Green Tag is
expressly designed for use by private forest landowners and is available in all 50 states. As of June 2003, the
Green Tag program had certified 51,795 acres in ten states. www.woodlandowners.org

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) program was adopted in 1994 by members of the American
Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA). AF&PA is the national trade association of the forest, pulp, paper,
paperboard and wood products industry, which represents over 80 percent of the paper, wood and forest
products produced in the United States. The SFI® program principles call on the United States forest products
industry to practice a land stewardship ethic which integrates the reforestation, nurturing, and harvesting of
trees for useful products with the conservation of soil, air and water resources, wildlife and fish habitat, and
forest aesthetics. The SFI Standard is now managed by the independent 501 (c)(3) multi-stakeholder
Sustainable Forestry Board. As of April 2005, over 45 million acres of forestland in the U.S. had been
independently third-party certified to the SFI Standard. www.aboutsfi.org

The Tree Farm and Green Tag certification programs are designed for smaller, typically non-industrial private,
forest landowners.




15
                                               Forest Certification and EMS

As part of Executive Order 13148 ―Greening the Government through Leadership in Environmental
Management‖ and the 2004 Planning Regulation, the Forest Service has committed to establishing
Environmental Management Systems (EMS) for each unit that conforms to the international standard, ISO
14001.

Developing and implementing an ISO conforming EMS requires that a systems approach be used so that
environmental performance is continually improved. In the FS approach to ISO (FSISO), the ISO systems
approach is linked to performance goals derived from forest planning.5

Because ISO is a systems approach that requires documentation, developing an ISO conforming EMS arranges
key information that can be used in audits by SFI and FSC.

There are both similarities and differences between the FSISO and the SFI and FSC systems.

Similarities include:

    FSISCO, SFI and FSC all require that the management units are following applicable legal requirements.
     In addition to compliance with legal and regulatory standards, FSISO audits for compliance with FS
     directives and desired conditions, objectives and guidelines developed with the public involvement in forest
     planning.

    FSISO, SFI and FSC all are, or will be, audited by third parties (The Forest Service is working on
     developing an independent certification body for FSISO to audit land management EMSs developed under
     the new planning regulation).

Differences include:

    SFI and FSC both audit forest management units to specific performance standards developed by those
     organizations.6 Under FSISO, performance standards would be developed by the individual management
     unit to meet local needs, rather than having a required set specified by an external organization itself.

    As contrasted with FSISO, neither SFI or FSC have requirements for minimizing the environmental
     impacts or sustainable management of activities such as grazing, recreation or different kinds of mineral


5
  As part of land management planning, the EMS is used to document and audit compliance with environmental regulations and
statutes, as well as efforts to achieve environmental improvements through desired conditions, objectives, and guidelines developed
as part of the forest planning process.
6
  A difference among the systems is that SFI has a national standard: FSC has regional standards (each with different kinds of public
involvement), and FSISO encompasses standards that are national and regional (directives) as well as more local standards derived
from agreements with regulatory agencies, through the forest planning and EA and EIS processes.



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     and oil and gas extraction. FSISO encompasses legal compliance and continual improvement for all of the
     activities on a forest, prairies or grassland that may impact the environment.

    ISO is a systems approach and so focuses to a greater extent on continual improvement of the management
     system. For that reason, some forestry organizations have dual certification with ISO and either or both
     FSC or SFI.

The NFS Certification Test Project could help address three important questions:

    Will the development of an EMS by a NF make it easier and less expensive for that NF later to become
     certified?

    If a NF knows in advance of developing its EMS that certification is an objective, would that or should that
     affect the design of its EMS?

    If a NF has an ISO conforming EMS around forest management with independent third party audits, what
     are the additional benefits and costs of certifying to SFI or FSC standards?




17
                                                Forest Leadership:
                             Facilitating a Collective Commitment to Conservation
                                    Forest Service Associate Chief Sally Collins
                                        2005 Forest Leadership Conference
                                        Toronto, Canada—February 2, 2005

It’s a pleasure to be here. This Forest Leadership Conference is a welcome forum for discussing the future of
forests and forestry, and I’m grateful for this chance to make some remarks on behalf of the U.S. Forest
Service.

For those who might not know, first a little background. The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres—
about 77 million hectares—of public land called national forests and national grasslands. That’s an area about
the size of Chile, or about 8 percent of the land area of the United States.

But our mission is much broader. We have the leading U.S. research and development organization for forest
and rangeland sciences. We are also responsible for promoting the sound management of all the nation’s
forests, both public and private, which we do by offering support and assistance for state, tribal, and private
forestry. And, because today’s forestry issues are increasingly global, we have strong international programs.

Learning from Our Past
We also have a relatively long history. This year, we are a century old, and we kicked off the year with a
Centennial Congress in Washington, DC. Hundreds of people came from all over the country and from Canada
as well as other countries. It was an occasion for celebrating our conservation roots, but also for reflecting on
the daunting challenges ahead. The participants met in groups and came up with dozens of recommendations.
There were three major ones:

        The first one had to do with the way people appreciate and value the ecosystem services provided by
         forests. On our national forests—on public lands—that means ensuring that we have clean air and
         water, abundant wildlife and fisheries, and opportunities to enjoy these. On private lands, the
         participants encouraged us to look for ways to attach market value to ecosystem services as a way to
         help private forested lands stay forested in the future. These services have traditionally been provided
         for free, including carbon sequestration, soil and water protection, biodiversity, and outdoor recreation.
         We are looking into this and encourage you to discuss these ideas with Pete Roussopoulos, who will be
         presenting a little later on today.
        A second major recommendation had to do with better engaging the public in conservation, for example
         by improving our school curricula to better address ecological issues.
        A third major recommendation involved improving opportunities for partnership and collaboration, for
         example by simplifying our processes and broadening our authorities.

The issues all focused in one way or another on partnership—on facilitating a collective commitment to
conservation, and I’ll come back to that. But I’d like to start by giving you a brief overview of our history at
the Forest Service to put all this into context.


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Where We’ve Been
In the past century, we have been through three very different eras of national forest management, and now we
are moving well into a fourth. A century ago, our nation faced a crisis caused by the unrestrained exploitation
of our natural resources. Conservation grew out of that crisis. A national system of forest reserves was
established in 1891, and the Forest Service was charged with managing it in 1905, when it became the National
Forest System. For the first time, we put uses like grazing and timber under careful management. We also
protected the game and started to get the fires under control.

The next era came with the Great Depression in the 1930s, which strengthened our commitment to social
responsibility. Through the Civilian Conservation Corps, we gave jobs to thousands of unemployed Americans,
who built a lot of our public forest infrastructure—roads, trails, campgrounds, ranger stations, and so on.
During World War II, the era of social responsibility continued through the war effort. A lot of our employees
enlisted, and we ramped up timber supplies needed by our troops.

The 1950s were a period of transition into the timber era. From the 1960s through the 1980s, every
administration, with strong congressional support, called for more timber from the national forests. In those 30
years, we went from producing very little timber to meeting a large share of our nation’s need for wood. We
helped millions of our citizens build homes. During the same period, the courts became much more active in
determining forest policy due to conflicts among the various uses.

Under our multiple-use mission, we also protected and delivered other values, goods, and services, including
range for livestock, water, fish and wildlife habitat, wilderness, and outdoor recreation. But by the 1990s, under
the combined pressures of delivering all this while still producing a great deal of timber, our ability to meet
public expectations was overwhelmed.

For the past decade, timber production on national forest land has been a relatively small program. Where we
once met more than 25 percent of our national need for wood, today it’s less than 5 percent and most of that is
byproduct from projects for other purposes, such as forest health protection or habitat enhancement. Today, we
decommission 12 miles of road for every mile constructed, and timber is no longer the reason for most what we
build—it’s access to recreation. Our main focus today is on ecological restoration and outdoor recreation. Our
goal is to integrate the social, economic, and ecological components of sustainability in all that we do.

Focusing on Important Issues
These shifts in what we’re doing on the land today reflect a whole new set of challenges facing us in the 21st
century. Consider:

        In the last 4 years, we’ve had our worst fire seasons in 50 years, and five states have had their biggest
         fires in history. We’ve lost dozens of lives and a record numbers of homes, and we’ve had record
         firefighting costs.
        Nationwide, invasive species have cost our citizens billions of dollars while contributing to the decline
         of up to half of our imperiled species, and the rate of new introductions has been growing.




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        We are rapidly fragmenting our forests and losing open spaces. Every minute, our citizens lose more
         than 4 acres—one-and-a-half hectares—of open space to development. Again, the rate of loss is
         growing.
        Recreational uses have been rising so fast that we haven’t kept up. In particular, we’re seeing
         unacceptable resource damage from the unmanaged use of off-highway vehicles.

In addition to these four threats, we also know that climate change at various scales is undeniable. For example,
we’re in a much drier period in the western part of our country than we were 30 years ago. This has huge
social, economic, and ecological implications.

These are all enormous and growing challenges, yet our citizens are too often caught up in debates from the
past. Getting people to focus on these important issues of the future is one of the main challenges we face.

As we turn our attention to these threats facing us, it is clear that they are truly international in scope. Fire and
fuels issues, invasive species, unmanaged recreation, the loss of open space, and climate change are hitting
most nations, in different ways, perhaps. But for us in the U.S. Forest Service, it means opening our minds to
some new ideas and approaches, which I’ll turn to in a moment.

Global Trends
For me personally, this journey really started during my second year as Associate Chief. In 2002, I had the
opportunity to attend the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. Prior to
the conference itself, I visited three mills owned by a U.S. company in the northern part of South Africa.

The mills had equipment that was decades old. In addition, they were required by post-apartheid law to bring
management under black leadership by a certain deadline, one that was fast approaching. So the company was
funding a huge training program, and the workforce wasn’t stable. Close to 30 percent was HIV-positive, with
a high death rate since drugs were few and living conditions were extremely poor. In this context, the company
played an important social role, providing medical care and family and personal counseling.

You can imagine all the costs and difficulties associated with all this. Nevertheless, these mills were exporting
FSC-certified wood to the United States, and they expected to be producing a
profit within 3 years. And yet in the United States, with all the advantages we have in terms of equipment and
infrastructure and social conditions and proximity to markets, so many mills have closed that there are very
few left in some parts of the country, such as southern California. That’s a primary concern for us because
thinning trees for fuels reduction is critical for community safety in many parts of the country. Without mills to
process the material, it’s tough to get it out of the woods.

From this trip, I finally began to understand that global economic trends had caught up with forestry. We are so
challenged in the United States by a whole range of social, economic, environmental, and other issues that it
can actually be cheaper to operate overseas and import the wood than it is to operate in the United States and
sell on our own markets. When our citizens buy softwood lumber, four boards in ten now come from other
countries.



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This has huge implications, both at home and abroad. If forest owners in the United States can’t make it pay to
manage their forests sustainably, then they tend to stop trying. And if it pays more to sell their land to
developers—and often it pays much, much more—then they are sorely tempted to do so. The southern United
States is still the single biggest wood-producing region in the world, but southern states like Florida and North
Carolina are actually seeing net forest losses to development. As this happens, we are losing forest values and
benefits we desperately need.

This also has implications abroad. Public forests in the United States enjoy some of the greatest protections in
the world. At the same time, we are by far the world’s biggest consumer of wood. Our per-capita wood
consumption is three times the world average, and our consumption of softwood lumber has set new records in
6 of the last 8 years. To my mind, that raises an important question: We are confident of sustainable forest
management in North America, but as we import more and more wood from overseas, some of it is coming
from places with relatively few environmental protections. When we do that, are we fueling unsustainable
practices in some countries … deforestation … illegal logging?

Community-Based Forestry
On national forest land and on state and private lands in the United States, we have to understand the global
context we live in. For us, that means paying close attention to the signals coming from all around us—and
today they are coming from all around the world. But if we find ourselves focusing on the past—on the debates
that mattered yesterday—then we miss the signals we’re getting today.

At the Forest Service, we’re trying some new approaches in response to the challenges we face, particularly in
light of global trends. We don’t have all the answers, but we believe that it’s our responsibility to take some
initiatives, see what works and what doesn’t work, then adjust our methods accordingly. And some are not
without their share of controversy.

First, we’re trying some new ways of involving communities more actively in the planning of our work. A
hundred years ago, the first Forest Service Chief, Gifford Pinchot, recognized the need for working in
partnership with local communities if we were to succeed. More and more governments are similarly engaging
communities in managing their local forests because they see that the best caretakers are those who know and
depend on the land the most. We’re seeing a global trend toward community-based forestry, with parts of
Mexico being stellar examples.

Something similar is going on in the United States. In many of our rural counties, residents eke out a living on
the margins of some of our richest forests, which are often on public land. Our local communities know local
forest conditions better than anyone else, and they have strong traditions of caring for the land—provided they
have a stake in the outcome.

One response to this trend has been the evolution of a new tool called stewardship contracting. Traditionally,
we would contract for particular projects—for a timber sale, for stream restoration, and for trail reconstruction,
for example—with separate contracts in the same geographic area. And the timber sale was the primary vehicle
for commercial timber. With a stewardship contract, we work together to outline the broad landscape outcomes
we want on the land, then leave it up to the successful bidder, potentially NGOs or community groups—and


21
we’ve had both, as well as industry groups—to figure out the details and get the outcomes we want. With the
products they sell, they can reinvest in the other restoration work on the land. The focus is on what you leave
on the land, not on what you take away. It’s a great way to involve the community in managing the land and
taking local ownership, and it is already dissipating public concern in some places over traditional timber sales.

Second, we’re taking a hard look at some of our fundamental planning tools to make them more responsive to
conditions in the 21st century—bringing in new technology as well as the public’s desire to be involved, and
recognizing the threats facing our forests and the need to respond to them quickly. Most prominently, we’ve
reformed the guidelines that our national forests use to make long-term management plans.

The new guidelines—called a planning rule—will allow us to focus on future issues quickly and more adeptly,
such as increased recreational use, invasive species, big fires, and ecological restoration. The planning rule also
provides for quickly incorporating the best available science into planning as we learn. By reducing the time it
takes to complete a plan—from about 7 years to about 2 years—it encourages more upfront public
participation. And, finally, it requires a system of independent third-party audits to make sure not only that we
deliver what we say we will, but also that we truly are improving the environment. The audits use
environmental management systems for certification by the International Organization for Standardization, and
we will have them in place by 2008. This will increase not only our accountability, but also the transparency of
our monitoring process, something our publics and communities have wanted for decades.

We are also considering a field test of forest certification, looking at both the Forest Stewardship Council and
the Sustainable Forest Initiative simultaneously to learn more about third-party auditing processes and see how
our approaches align with these systems. We have many details to work out and more conversations to hold,
and while this test won’t result in certification of a national forest directly, it will help inform us and others on
the value of possibly taking that step later.

You might ask, why now—especially since I have already told you that most of the timber produced on
national forests today is a byproduct of restoration work and that the focus of our programs has changed from
timber to ecological restoration and outdoor recreation. We’ve seen third-party forest certification grow from
almost nothing 15 years ago to become a major global contributor to third-party monitoring for sustainable
forestry, and we want to do what we can to encourage that trend. In the last 15 years, we’ve joined the
international dialogue on sustainable forestry through the Montreal Process and other forums, and we’re firmly
committed to continuing that dialogue based on the use of criteria and indicators of sustainable forest
management. For more information on testing for certification, you can talk to Elizabeth Estill, who is here all
week.

Finally, over the past 2 years we’ve put all of our senior leadership through seminars on global forestry trends,
for most of the reasons I’ve talked about today. From that came many of our ideas about independent audits,
examining markets for ecosystem services, and the market niche that forest products have in a global context.
We know that rich, biologically diverse, unfragmented, healthy forests in the United States depend on a rich,
vibrant, healthy forest products industry. Unless we take the time—like we are doing here this week and like
we’ve been doing for several years with our senior leadership—we will miss the opportunity to intervene in
these larger issues that truly affect the course of the future of our world’s forests.


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Hope for the Future
Our first Forest Service Chief, Gifford Pinchot, often talked about his trips to Europe and Asia. In fact, he
envisioned conservation as a global peacemaker. He reasoned that if we can conserve our renewable natural
resources worldwide, then we can eliminate one of the biggest incentives for waging war: to plunder the
resources of other countries.

In this spirit, I have great hope for the future. All of us forest managers face what appear to be overwhelmingly
large challenges in the years ahead; yet we have developed a global framework for sustainable forest
management. We’ve moved forward on many issues in our international dialogue, and we have many
opportunities to work together across borders and boundaries. We have a lot to offer each other, but, more
importantly, we have so much to learn from each other as well.

                                                        #




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