The Rainforest Alliance Certifies Coast Forest Conservation Initiative in British Columbia to FSC Standards

December 11, 2009

The Rainforest Alliance announced today that the Coast Forest Conservation Initiative (CFCI) has received Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) forest management certification for forest tenures within the Mid Coast Timber Supply Area (TSA). The certification covers 846,395 hectares (2.09 million acres) of forestlands near Bella Coola, on the central coast of British Columbia (BC), making it the largest FSC certification on the coast of BC. The certified lands within the Mid Coast TSA include tenures held by British Columbia Timber Sales (BCTS), International Forest Products Limited (Interfor) and Western Forest Products Inc. (WFP).

This is a group certificate held by the CFCI Society representing five coastal businesses: BCTS, Catalyst Paper Corporation, Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Ltd., Interfor and WFP. The certification is valid for five years subject to the results of annual surveillance audits.

"The certification process for these forest units started with a workshop in 2007, followed by a preassessment in 2008, an assessment a few months later in 2008 and a pre-condition verification assessment in 2009," said Richard Donovan, senior vice president and vice president for forestry at Rainforest Alliance, "This work included intensive field work, engagement with environmental organizations, First Nations, British Columbia provincial authorities and many other individuals and organizations. The process has proved challenging due to the requirement that CFCI functions as a group to manage the Mid Coast TSA. Also, the FSC standard for BC has strict requirements for baseline environmental conditions and the high conservation values and implementation of those measures takes time."

"As with all FSC procedures, we welcomed inputs and comments from First Nations, stakeholders and other concerned parties throughout the year," said SmartWood Canada general manager for the Rainforest Alliance Alexandre Boursier. "Annual audits will be conducted during which any concern presented to us will be evaluated in the light of the FSC standards and corrective actions will be imposed on CFCI as needed."

"This certification is an important milestone for CFCI as we implement the Coast Land Use Decision and ecosystem-based management in the coastal temperate rainforest within the region," Gerry Fraser, Interfor's manager, sustainable forestry said. "Achieving FSC certification will add value to our efforts to balance conservation and development within the Great Bear Rainforest, a globally significant region. In pursuing certification we are taking up the challenge of testing the FSC standards operationally on the ground in BC."

FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world's forests. The CFCI received its certification from the Rainforest Alliance's SmartWood program, an FSC-accredited certifier.

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