Timberlands' Eco-Label A Sham
The announcement that Timberlands West Coast has received an 'eco-label' are a sham, says Native Forest Action. "That Timberlands has been given Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification makes a mockery of the supposed consultation process," said Native Forest Action spokesperson Peter Russell. "Every major conservation organisation in New Zealand opposed the certification of Timberlands plantation forests [see following letter]. However, our concerns were ignored by Forme Consulting Group who assessed Timberlands' eligibility for FSS certification for certifying agent SGS Qualifor."
"Improved standards for plantation management are a good thing", said Mr Russell. "But giving Timberlands FSC certification while they are logging old-growth rimu forests in South Westland seriously calls into question the credibility of the FSC 'eco-label'. Timberlands' certification flies in the face of strong opposition from environmental groups. Timberlands CEO Dave Hilliard is wrong to have implied environmental groups support their FSC certification".
In January this year all major NZ environmental groups stated they oppose FSC certification for Timberlands on several grounds. "A major reason for opposing certification was that Timberlands is continuing to log high conservation value rimu forests such as Saltwater and Okarito," said Mr Russell. "This logging is inconsistent with the FSC requirement that 'forest managers shall demonstrate a long-term commitment to adhere to the FSC principles and criteria' [clause 1.6]. These principles and criteria extend to areas outside the plantations under assessment [clause 188.8.131.52]."
"The certification of Timberlands' plantations brings the credibility of the Forest Certification Council into question. We have no choice but to advise the public to be wary of the FSC 'eco-label'. It is a shame that the united concern of conservation groups has been ignored, because improved plantation management standards need to be supported."
The continued logging of South Westland rimu forests by Timberlands until April 2002 has also been condemned by foreign environment groups. At an international meeting of forest conservationists at Lake Rotoiti last December the 'Rotoiti Declaration' was signed by representatives of conservation groups from USA, Chile, Tierra del Fuego, Australia, the Netherlands and Russia [follows]. The declaration stated that Timberlands' logging of rimu forests in South Westland is not ecologically sustainable and must cease immediately.
For further information,
Peter Russell, Native Forest Action spokesperson