EMERYVILLE, Calif., Feb. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Third-party certifier SCS Global Services has awarded Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) responsible forest management certification to Green Diamond Resource Company for its California operations, covering 400,000 acres of forestland in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties on the North Coast.
"Green Diamond Resource Company has undergone a lengthy and rigorous assessment of its forest management practices, broadly defined, and have demonstrated a level of conformance to the FSC Standard that merits award of certification," said Dr. Robert J. Hrubes, Executive Vice President of SCS. "Building upon many exemplary policies and practices already in place such as their Habitat Conservation Plans, the FSC certification process, conducted by a strong interdisciplinary team of natural resource experts, has triggered and will continue to trigger a number of improvements in Green Diamond's management system and practices. And FSC certification will require ongoing improvements, as confirmed through annual surveillance audits."
To achieve FSC certification, Green Diamond implemented a number of improvements in forest management policies and practices that were required by the FSC US Forest Management Standard and the SCS audit team, including:
- Increased levels of green tree retention within even-aged harvest units and reduced use of clear cutting. Tree retention within harvest units will include a variety of sizes and ages of trees and will approach 30% of pre-harvest basal area, on average, and no less than 10% in any one harvest unit.
- Completion of an eco-regional gap analysis of protected areas and establishment of four new representative sample areas, reserving the following habitat types: Douglas-fir/western hemlock, un-entered old growth redwood stands, prairie in the Bald Hills, and the serpentine chaparral area on Rattlesnake Ridge.
- Completion of an analysis for the presence of areas with high conservation values (HCV) on the property, utilizing input from external experts and stakeholders and a commitment to conserve these areas.
- Enhanced stakeholder input and consultation procedures.
- Completion of a comprehensive Forest Management Plan addressing all subject areas required by FSC. Green Diamond has exceeded FSC's transparency requirements by publically posting the entire plan on their website.
- More comprehensive and regular public summaries of monitoring activities and results.
Additional changes will be incorporated into Green Diamond's management system throughout 2013. These changes include:
- Enhancing the extent and ecological condition of oak-woodlands on the certified forest.
- Completing an assessment for the presence of rare ecological communities, including those containing threatened and vulnerable species.
- Implementing improved methods for periodically assessing social impacts of management activities.
- Enhancing the site-based ecological appropriateness of redwood planting decisions.
- Implementing procedures to control exotic plant species.
- Implementing enhanced adaptive feedback mechanisms for monitoring attainment of management plan objectives.
- Fully aligning Green Diamond's chemical use practices with FSC requirements, including eliminating use of prohibited pesticides such as Atrazine.
A public summary of the certification report, detailing the audit findings, is available at www.info.fsc.org.
"FSC certification is a key milestone for Green Diamond Resource Company," said Neal Ewald, the company's Vice President. "We decided to pursue FSC certification because its standards were well aligned with the values of our company, and earning certification allows us to demonstrate those values publicly."
Some of the responsible forestry practices that the company had implemented prior to the certification audit include an extensive monitoring, research and reporting program assessing both timber and biological resources. The company has also implemented a 50-year Aquatic Habitat Conservation Plan, a Sensitive Plant Conservation Plan, and a 30-year Northern Spotted Owl Habitat Conservation Plan.
"At its core, this is a story about the power of the marketplace to drive positive change in the forest," said Corey Brinkema, president of the Forest Stewardship Council's US national office. "As a member-led democracy, FSC brings together diverse interests to set robust environmental and social standards that go far beyond what is required by law. It's encouraging to see the market demanding forest stewardship," he added.
SCS Global Services (SCS) has been providing global leadership in third-party environmental and sustainability certification, auditing, testing, and standards development for nearly 30 years. Its programs span a wide cross-section of industries, recognizing achievements in green building, product manufacturing, food and agriculture, forestry, retail, and more. SCS provides accredited services under a wide range of internationally recognized certification programs. SCS is a chartered benefit corporation and Certified B Corp™, reflecting its commitment to socially and environmentally responsible business practices.
SOURCE SCS Global Services