Massachusetts on the cutting edge? duh...

Joseph Zorzin redoak at
Thu Oct 14 04:27:05 EST 1999

The following message has traveled on the net from the far
corners of the planet, until it reached me. It's all rather
amazing. Amazing that the state would gladly accept a "green
certificiation" award from the largest industrial timber
harvesting association in the world- and brag about it.

[From September 1999 Washington, D.C. Update newsletter of the
Association of State Foresters]

Massachusetts State Forest Lands Get Licensed Under the SFI

The forested lands of the Massachusetts Department of
Management Bureau of Forestry have become the first state forest
lands in
the country to be licensed under the American Forest & Paper
Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), the timber industry's
version of
green certification schemes that measure forest sustainability.

Warren Archey, State Forester of Massachusetts and Chief of the
Bureau of
Forestry, heralded the licensing program by stating, "The
expansion of the
Sustainable Forestry Initiative Program to include state lands
and administration is a welcome opportunity for state lands
As SFI focuses on policy and management practices, we in
Massachusetts see
a great opportunity to highlight many new initiatives such as:
development of enhanced Best Management Practices, old-growth
preservation, municipal watershed protection, biodiversity and

First developed for members of the timber trade association,
AF&PA opened
up their SFI program through a licensing program that has proven
in recruiting forested lands outside of member ownership. The
Bureau of Forestry brings in a total of 285,000 acres under the
of the SFI, the complete acreage of forest land owned by the
state. With
the Massachusetts addition, the SFI program now represents 56.5
acres of private, county and state lands. There is currently a
total of 737
million acres of forested lands in the United States.

In a press release, the State announced that "the key elements
in (forest)
management are a continuing balance struck between environmental
values and
the capacity of the resource to sustain use for various purposes
to aid
rural economies." The SFI licensing agreement was signed by
State Forester Warren Archey and Department of Environmental
Commissioner Peter Webber.

The SFI program began in 1994 and represents a comprehensive
system of
principles, objectives and performance measures designed to
responsible forest management. Simply put, it is designed as a
way for
participants to show the buying public that their forest
practices are in-line with sustainable forestry principles.
Members of
AF&PA must subscribe to the SFI's principles in order to retain
membership in the Association. The SFI program takes advice from
an expert
review panel which includes three State Foresters.

The SFI program is but one of six forest certification programs
in the 1999 Report on Forest Management Certification by the
Society of
American Foresters. A major criticism of the SFI program has
been the lack
of any third party verification that standards are being met. In
terms, participants are allowed to establish their own policies
procedures for complying with the principles and guidelines
under SFI. AF&PA has maintained that public scrutiny through
media and
press outlets will allow the public to check the veracity of SFI
but has responded to outside pressure and now provides
participants options
for SFI verification.

To date, eight States have recognized the program through a
resolution or proclamation. The States endorsing the SFI program
in one
form or another include Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, New
New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

To learn more about some of the things the MA Bureau of Forestry
is up to,
visit their homepage at>.
information about the AF&PA's SFI program can be found on their
webpage at
<>. The SAF report
on forest
certification programs can also be found on the web at

Joe "Che" Zorzin

The Politics of Forestry

"A little rebellion now and then is a good thing. It is a
medicine necessary for the sound health of government. God
forbid that we should ever be twenty years without such a
Thomas Jefferson

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