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October 16, 2008

RELEASE: Ancient Forest Victory, as Rainforest Action Network Yields, Commits to Review FSC Support

In a major victory for Ecological Internet and the world's ancient forests, RAN acknowledges concerns regarding FSC and commits to campaign to end all primary and old-growth logging

By Earth's Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet
CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org

FSC logging destroys ancient forests(Earth) -- Bowing to a global pressure campaign spearheaded by Ecological Internet (EI), the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has publicly announced they are reviewing their support for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), over concerns regarding FSC's greenwashing of ancient forest logging. In a statement to Ecological Internet, and on their web site, RAN announced they find "certification of logging in such forests extremely problematic" and have "raised the matter with the FSC".

RAN has embraced EI's goal of working to end ancient forest logging [search], written to FSC with their concerns and to request more data, and indicated that FSC's continued certification of ancient forest logging is problematic and threatens their membership. Based upon this progress, Ecological Internet has temporarily suspended the protest campaign. If RAN fails in its commitment to work within FSC in coming months to end its certification of ancient forest logging, and refuses to resign from FSC at that time, EI's campaign will resume immediately.

"Global ecological sustainability depends critically upon protecting and restoring large, unfragmented, and intact forest and other terrestrial ecosystems across the globe to maintain all species, climatic processes, human habitat and the biosphere's functioning. To this end, Ecological Internet's demands to RAN, and other long-time appeasers of FSC's ancient forest destruction, remain simple: either use your membership to get FSC to eliminate their sourcing of certified timbers from old-growth and primary forests, or resign immediately from FSC in protest and to end your complicity in ancient forest greenwash," explains EI President Dr. Glen Barry.

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This is a huge victory for Ecological Internet's Earth Action Network -- who in the past year has been ridiculed and rebuffed by RAN, Greenpeace, WWF and other unquestioning FSC supporters. EI is the only global ecological campaign network committed to an "ecological sufficiency" agenda, including stopping all ancient forest logging, 'certified' or otherwise, to maintain an operable climate and global ecosystems.

Ending FSC's greenwashing, falsely suggesting ancient forest logging can be environmentally beneficial, is an essential first step in the forest protection movement's campaign to end ancient forest logging globally. This is an increasingly accessible goal given overwhelming evidence of abrupt climate change, extinction spasms and general ecosystem collapse. Following successes with RAN and Friends of the Earth, the campaign will be extended to other FSC supporters.

RAN's review must not only access FSC's official data regarding how much of their timber is from ancient forests, but also must look at trends over time and by forest type. Regardless of whether 35% or 80% of FSC's timber comes from ancient forests, it is certainly much higher in primary rainforests, and to be increasing to meet growing demand for "green" timber. RAN's review should be informed by the best science currently available regarding minimum global requirements for terrestrial ecosystem protection and restoration to maintain biodiversity, the climate, and biosphere. After Revel, the hard work begins.

Dr. Glen Barry is a global spokesperson on behalf of environmental sustainability policy. Ecological Internet provides the world's leading climate and rainforest portals at http://www.climateark.org/ and http://www.rainforestportal.org/
Dr. Barry frequently conducts interviews on the latest climate, forest and water policy developments and can be reached at: glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org.


Well done Glen Barry,
go on to hold on!
Jan Diek van Mansvelt

That's great. A victory.

Forestry Tasmania has been discredited, having had it's Ecological status removed from it's tourist ventures because of bad forestry practices. Yet nothing changes. The Weld, Florentine and Wielangta are all under threat, along with the native species that live there. Logging will be carried out in all areas this summer. It is frustrating beyond belief.

I write letters, daily. I despair of it doing any good - it is just I am so angry.

I agree with Ecological Internat's point of view on FSC. FSC does not stop the commercial logging of ancient forests but rather it cuses excuse to continue to allow logging of the ancients forets. I hope RAC will continue not to support FSC as it annouced officially that RAN does not support FSC.

Dr. Barry,

Thank you for your successful campaign to get RAN to review it's support of FSC. I've written to them regarding our absolutely awful FSC certified logging operation here in Manitoba. Tembec in Pine Falls Manitoba make newsprint.

They are logging only primary Boreal Forest.

After they were certified, they felt safe to increase their logging by 22% by eliminating their post consumer recycled content in their newsprint.

There are many other problems with this certificate as well.

If you want to know more, or use this certificate as an example, please do.


David Nickarz

Dr. Barry,

Thank you for your successful campaign to get RAN to review it's support of FSC. I've written to them regarding our absolutely awful FSC certified logging operation here in Manitoba. Tembec in Pine Falls Manitoba make newsprint.

They are logging only primary Boreal Forest.

After they were certified, they felt safe to increase their logging by 22% by eliminating their post consumer recycled content in their newsprint.

There are many other problems with this certificate as well.

If you want to know more, or use this certificate as an example, please do.


David Nickarz

Hi Glen

Congratulations on getting to this point in the victory for ancient rainforests. I admire your tenacity and commitment.

Is there a way I can congratulate RAN for taking it on? It is always a huge thing to admit you were wrong and they need some pats on the back for being big enough to do that.

cheers and thanks

Thank you for your kind words Patricia. We did this together! Great idea to send positive emails. Their main response email is answers@ran.org .

congratulations Glen!
RE: "RAN's review must not only access FSC's official data regarding how much of their timber is from ancient forests, but also must look at trends over time and by forest type."
How long will the review go on in order to look at "trends over time"...

Dear Camille,
Thank you for your kind words. We did this together!

The review is expected to take four months. Regarding trends over time, I was suggesting looking at past years to see how the dependence upon ancient forest may be increasing, and certainly will as FSC seeks to certify 200 million more hectares in coming years.
Dr. Glen Barry

Congratualtions Dr. Barry.
Dorene A. Rew

Wonderful news, Glen! Here's hoping the coming months will be even more fruitful.

Hi Glen
Congratulations - real progress in the right direction for our beautiful planet.
Thank you.

Well done!!!

awesome! good going, glenn!

Congratulations Glen - well done!

Thank you for enabling us to help make a difference. Like a poster above, I hope that the coming months and years will produce even more success in protecting rainforests.

Dr. Barry,

Hurray for you! Good job! That really makes me feel good about responding to your alerts!

Yay, a nice piece of work!


this is really great Glen!

Dear Glen,

Well done! Don't go too aggressively after the other culprits - yet. They
may be more amenable now you have had some successes.

I was profoundly shocked to learn that FSC was actually certifying
substantial amounts of primary forest logging. I don't expect perfection,
but there are limits.

Best wishes and good luck with the rest of your campaign,


Dear Dr Barry,

We are a company called Paper Dove and we produce gift cards for charities in what we believe is an ecologically safe manner.
Currently we hold FSC certification, however we are concerned about revelations that the FSC has given certification to companies such as Venao that are illegally logging in Brazil.
I was wondering if you could offer me some advice and information as to the validity of these claims and the extent to which the FSC is not fulfilling it's ethical obligation.
As a company working with charities whose main priority is the ethical process in which we produce our cards, we need to be certain that using FSC products is still the way forward and reassure our customers.

We would be very grateful if you could help us with this matter.

Many thanks,

Kate Williams

This is quite a breakthrough! Very, very hopeful.
Jack Thornburgh, North Saanich, BC, Canada


Thank you for your personal reply. I've been a forest activist here in Manitoba for 18 years. I know bad logging when I see it. Tembec, the FSC-certified newsprint operation in Pine Falls Manitoba is doing worse things to the forest than before they received their FSC certificate.


Clear cutting as sole means of forestry
Use of pesticides with no end in site
Destruction of endangered Woodland Caribou habitat
Logging in only primary Boreal forests.


They are lobbying the provincial government to make bigger clearcuts
They have eliminated their post consumer content in their newsprint
Increased their logging by 22%

It is now much more difficult to protect forests here in Manitoba because Tembec holds a certificate from FSC that says their forests are well managed. They have paid and recieved a good greenwashing.

RAN supports FSC and FSC calls primary forest clearcutting green. Stop supporting FSC!

David Nickarz
Winnipeg, Manitoba

I just forwarded a "well done" message. You may be interested that our state government here in Tasmania has facilitated the logging of our old growth forests by reclassifying them. A neat trick - if you don't have a wish for a future. George

Wonderful job! Well done! George

R.A.N.'s earlier (much heralded) CitiGroup campaign for sustainable investments. . .


Citigroup Commended For Enforcing Environmental Policy
U.S.–Based Bank Requires Southeast Asian Timber Client to Obtain Independent, Third Party Certification

no timelines/schedules/binding commitments. . .

any delivery on these promises?

Citigroup CEO Chuck Prince's announcement this week that the bank is persuading Rimbunan Hijau to improve its logging practices in Southeast Asia is a tangible demonstration that these policies can make a real difference and can help protect endangered regions and long-term shareholder value at the same time.

Jennifer Krill
Campaigns Director
Rainforest Action Network

Dear Jennifer,

I am SO pleased that we managed to get some interim resolution to the situation. Please do keep me informed of steps to implement RAN's FSC review and subsequent decisions. You may have noted Ecological Internet is now your neighbor, as we have moved to Seattle ( http://www.ecoearth.info/blog/2008/10/release_ecological_internet_mo.asp ). Perhaps once RAN's raw nerves have calmed, we will be able to work together to protect rainforests and end ancient forest logging.

I hope RAN's Revel was a success. Please be cognizant this is the last RAN public event that will go unprotested as long as RAN is a member of FSC, and FSC promotes ancient forest logging.
Dr. Glen Barry

Great job! The enablers needed to be called out and embarrassed publicly. A huge victory for EI!

I think that this issue has been blown out of proportion and has not been approached from the right direction. It appears that people on the website are against logging in general, and do not understand forest ecology and silviculture as a means of stand improvement. This appears to be a case of the typical 'crunchy' crowd versus 'logging' crowd. Truth be told, the dichotomy is not as strong as many would like to believe. Both kinds want what is best for forests, they only disagree on the importance of human influence. Proper silvicultural techniques will increase biodiversity, enhance or diversify habitat types and create tangible values and commodities faster in a stand and across the forest landscape.

There is really no doubt that logging needs to happen, so the argument is how it needs to happen. If you don't believe that logging has to happen, I would suggest moving to a a cave and keeping yourself warm by jumping jacks, no downed wood for you.

FSC is the most robust forest certification body in the world, so by working to (I'm not even sure what you are proposing ...), you essentially state that instead of improving forest practices, you want the companies to do nilly-willy cutting, which goes against at least two of the criteria of FSC certification.

I am not as familiar with FSC certification in the tropics as I am in the US, but it appears that there is a huge jump between 'primary forest cutting' and 'bad practices', which no one here addresses. 'Primary forest' logging may not be detrimental, and the ability of small disturbances to diversify the species mixture is astounding. Of course, there is a difference between single-tree/patch-hybrid uneven-aged systems and even-aged systems (such as shelterwood/seed-tree cuts or clear cuts) in creating diverse habitats, and this may be what many of you are worried about. If you do not know the difference, I argue that you should not be either pro or against FSC, simply because you do not have the knowledge to judge what is happening. If you do what these systems are and their specific benefits and drawbacks, then you probably know enough to not be against FSC.

I do have to add that mistakes could be made, and unethical people do exist. So despite what I said, there could be problems in specific examples of FSC certification (supposing accreditation to forest companies that do not deserve it). However, this should be decided on a case by case basis, with specific revoking of accreditation for particular lands and potentially the assesors. This should not be an issue of blanket (and blind) action of non-stakeholders to detract from a working and effective system.

Transmission out.

Thanks for the note. Unfortunately, RAN still pronounces FSC wood as "good wood" on their website. I understand that this may take time for them to actually make a public announcement, but I wouldn't hold your breath.

RAN made two public announcements on their web site (look in the blog) and a public statement to Ecological Internet that they were reviewing their FSC membership and taking up the concerns with FSC. We have made clear the campaign is only suspended, and if after four months they have not made progress in getting FSC to stop certifying primary forests, or they themselves have withdrawn from the organization, the the protest will recommence.
Dr. Glen Barry