EMERYVILLE, CA - Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), a leader and pioneer in independent, third-party auditing and certification of forest management operations around the world, has awarded the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) endorsed certification for "well-managed" forests. This certification, good for five years, verifies that New York's State Forests are well-managed according to the rigorous international standards of the FSC.
The certification covers 762,898 acres of New York's State Forest system. Like other multi-use forest lands, the DEC balances the goals of conserving forest land, while supporting economic activities, and providing recreational opportunities.
"We congratulate Governor Spitzer and the Department of Environmental Conservation for achieving FSC-endorsed certification," says Dr. Robert Hrubes, SCS senior vice-president and head of SCS's FSC-accredited Forest Conservation Program. "This demonstrated conformance with the rigorous FSC standard assures the public that New York State is practicing exemplary forest management."
SCS convened a multidisciplinary team of specialists to audit DEC's forest management practices against the demanding principles and criteria encapsulated within the Forest Stewardship Council standard. In the course of 37 auditor-days over a several-month period, the team collected and analyzed written materials, conducted interviews with regional and local stakeholders, and completed a field audit of DEC managed properties around the state.
"To say that you manage a 'green' forest may sound redundant, but it is a designation that few have earned," notes DEC commissioner Pete Grannis. "We're very proud of this recognition. It validates the state's efforts to practice forestry in a way that is economically, environmentally and socially responsible. Another benefit is that certification adds value to our forest products."
"The rigorous independent assessment that formed the basis of the certification process has helped our State Land Management team improve the way we manage our magnificent forest resources," adds State Forester Robert Davies.
In 1991, SCS established one of the world's first independent certification programs to recognize responsible forest management practices. Subsequently, the company was an early and substantive supporter of the creation of the FSC, a coalition representing economic, environmental and social responsibility stakeholders. SCS was among the first certifiers to become accredited under the FSC program.
About the Department of Environmental Conservation
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) manages approximately 762,000 acres of State Forests, which include Reforestation Areas, Multiple-Use Areas, Unique Areas, and State Nature and Historic Preserves, throughout New York State. These lands are highly valued for the recreational opportunities they provide and for their contributions to ecosystem health. The New York State Forests are a growing part of the state's forest industry, which according to DEC, employs more than 57,000 people and directly contributes some $7 billion in shipments of forest products from New York annually. For more information, visit www.dec.ny.gov/lands/40672.html.
About the Forest Stewardship Council
FSC is a nonprofit organization devoted to encouraging the responsible management of the world's forests. FSC sets high standards that ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable way. Landowners and companies that sell timber or forest products seek certification as a way to verify to consumers that they have practiced forestry consistent with FSC standards. Independent certification organizations are accredited by FSC to carry out assessments of forest management to determine if standards have been met. There are currently more than 20 million acres of FSC-certified forestland in North America and more than 100 million acres globally. For more information, visit www.fscus.org.
About Scientific Certification Systems
SCS is an independent certifier of environmental, food quality and food purity claims. Since 1984, SCS has developed internationally recognized standards and certification programs aimed at spurring the highest level of environmental and quality performance. Programs span a cross-section of the economy, recognizing accomplishments in the fields of agricultural production, food processing and handling, forestry, fisheries, energy, green building, retail, and manufacturing. To date, SCS has certified more than 25 million acres of natural forests and plantations, and has issued more than 1,000 FSC-endorsed chain-of-custody certificates in the wood and paper products sector. For more information, go to www.scscertified.com.