Georgia-Pacific and The Forest Stewardship Council U.S. Form a Field Tests Partnership

By: Bubbajunk.com

ATLANTA, GA. April 14, 2005 -- The Forest Stewardship Council -US (FSC-US) and Georgia-Pacific Corporation (GP) announced today the formation of a partnership to field test FSC standards and programs on private family forestlands in the South. The Turner Foundation is also providing financial support of the Field Tests project.

Forest conservation and environmental responsibility are important topics today, and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a pioneering force in supporting environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world's forests. In 2004, FSC adopted a new program to assist small landowners in achieving certification. The partnership will help FSC-US and Georgia-Pacific better understand how the FSC program can apply to private landowners in the Southeast United States who are interested in certification of their good forestry management practices.

Private landowners own almost 60 percent of the forestland in the United States. Of that 60 percent, 88 percent have fewer than 50 acres, but together these landowners own a total of 21 million acres. The remaining 12 percent have plots up to 1000 acres, totaling 42 million acres when combined. That's why Georgia-Pacific and the FSC-US formed the partnership, which provides a great opportunity for discussion with some of those private landowners about good forestry practices and certification.

The new Field Tests partnership will focus on three areas. First, it will evaluate the viability of FSC's Small and Low Intensity Managed Forests (SLIMF) program for these landowners, which have stands of varying sizes. Second, it will show how FSC's Controlled Wood standard applies to family forest landowners in the Southeastern United States. Finally, it will allow the landowners - who are already part of Georgia-Pacific's Forest Management Assistance Program (FMAP) - and Georgia-Pacific to understand the application of FSC's standard on forest plantations. These field tests are not assessments, are not being conducted by FSC-accredited auditors and will not lead to FSC certification.

A host of experts will be involved in the Field Tests partnership. Technical experts will include wildlife specialists, silviculturists and scientists. A project council made up of representatives from major conservation and environmental groups, and people from every aspect of forestry from landowner to manufacturer to customer, will review the results.

The Field Tests partnership is expected not only to provide input into a review process by FSC, but also to help promote dialogue between parties interested in forest certification and certification programs useful to the family forest landowner.