Can forest certification do for logging what organic certification did for tomatoes? A cutting-edge program at the Conservancy’s Ellsworth Creek Preserve is aiming to try.
The Ellsworth Creek program has just passed a major milestone: the forest management operations at the preserve have been certified by the Forest Stewardship CouncilTM, an independent nonprofit established to promote responsible management of the world’s forests.
This is the first Conservancy-owned forest west of the Mississippi to achieve this certification. With the certification, logs from the preserve can be sold as certified wood to FSC®-certified mills and ultimately made into FSC-certified products that can be purchased by consumers (to be precise, FSC License Code FSC-C008225).
Forest Management at Ellsworth
Forest management at Ellsworth Creek is designed restore the diversity and complexity of this 8,000-acre coastal rainforest, of which all but 300 acres have been logged over the past 100 years.
Carefully, over the next century, the Conservancy plans to thin the forest to an average density of 70 to 80 trees per acre. The thinning will be done by commercial loggers under contract to the Conservancy. The logs will be sold to help fund ongoing restoration work on the preserve.
This project can provide a model for ecological restoration that can be replicated in forest communities around the world, said Tom Kollasch, Willapa program director for the Conservancy.
How Does FSC Certification Fit In?
“At Ellsworth, the goal is to restore the forest,” Kollasch said.
“Extracting timber is a by-product, but also a means to that end. By entering into the certification process, we not only meet our own restoration goals, but we also help support a system that can improve forest practices around the world. Think of the influence the organic produce certification system now has. We want to do that for working forests.”
Products carrying the FSC label are independently certified to assure consumers that they come from forests that are managed to meet the social, economic and ecological needs of present and future generations, a system that aligns with the Conservancy’s values.