CAN/CSA Z804 SFM standard for woodlots and small forest areas smaller than 4,000 ha., initiated by Canadian Federation of Woodlot Owners and developed by CSA, could be approved by PEFC in spring 2011

GENEVA, Switzerland , October 26, 2010 (press release) – The Canadian Federation of Woodlot Owners (CFWO) reports significant progress in the development and implementation of CAN/CSA Z804 – the Sustainable Forest Management Standard for Woodlots and other Small Area Forests.

The standard was developed by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Technical Committee on SFM, working under the Chairmanship of Dr. Peter Duinker of Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS. The main requirements of this "Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Standard for Woodlots and other Small Area Forests" are based on the Criteria and Indicators for SFM approved for Canada by the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM).

The new woodlot standard takes into account the practical realities of managing small private forests and allows for group certifications led by woodlot associations. The Canadian Federation of Woodlot Owners (CFWO) initiated the development of the woodlot standard and contributed significantly to it. "Its seven years since woodlot owner associations in Canada set out to develop a Certification Standard that was designed specifically for family forest owners. We had come to the conclusion that trying to squeeze ourselves into one of the existing Standards, all of which were designed for large-scale industrial forests, was not a great fit. It's very satisfying to see our efforts now being put to use."

The standard is designed for application to forest properties smaller than 4000 hectares in area, and may be applied to individual woodlots or group certification to achieve economies of scale.

The Woodlot standard, approved as a National Standard of Canada by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) in December 2009, will be administered and audited under the umbrella of the SCC SFM Program.

This standard complements the CAN/CSA Z809 SFM standard by providing an audit and certification programme for woodlots across Canada that together produce approximately 15% of the Canadian wood supply. Wood harvested on woodlots that have been certified to the requirements of CAN/CSA Z804 can be added to wood from other forests certified under the CSA and SCC SFM Programmes when making claims related to the sustainability and legality of wood used to produce lumber, wood-based panels and pulp and paper. CAN/CSA Z809 has been endorsed by the PEFC.

Application for recognition by PEFC
PEFC International is a global grouping of national forest certification programmes, which has endorsed 29 national SFM standards. These 29 PEFC members have a combined total of 226 million hectares of certified forest. PEFC is by far the largest forest certification programme in the world.

The CAN/CSA Z804 standard has been submitted to the PEFC for a thorough assessment by third party consultants. If confirmed to meet the rigorous requirements of the PEFC, the CSA Woodlot standard will be approved by PEFC International's Board of Directors for mutual recognition by the 29 PEFC member certification programmes in the spring of 2011.

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is also one of the 27 standards approved by PEFC. The SFI programme is widely used in both Canada and the USA. When endorsed by PEFC, wood harvested from woodlots certified to the requirements of the CSA Woodlot standard can be counted as meeting SFI requirements when SFI participants make claims of sustainability and legality.

Nova Scotia leads the way
In 2009 the government of Nova Scotia provided funding for a pilot project to test woodlot certification. Organized by the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners (FNSWO), 53 woodlots varying in size from 20 to 1000 ha with a combined area of 4250 hectares have been certified as meeting the requirements of the CSA woodlot standard. The 53 woodlots are located throughout Nova Scotia and represent all forest conditions found in the Acadian Forest Region. Management plans were prepared in conformity with the requirements of the woodlot standard, landowner training programs have been provided and changes to operating procedures have been made where necessary. Woodlot owners are impressed by the programme. Applications from additional woodlot owners will bring the programme to almost 11,000 hectares by the spring of 2011.

The audit was carried out in July 2010 by a third-party audit team accredited to the SCC SFM program. News of the successful audit and certification to the requirements of the CSA Woodlot Standard was announced on Oct 29th by the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodlands Owners.

"We're extremely proud of this accomplishment," stated FNSWO Project Coordinator Mike Hutchinson. "We are now in a position to help landowners responsibly manage their woodlots and give credit to those who are already doing a good job."

"This is a milestone achievement for sustainable forest management in Canada", said Peter Duinker, professor of resource and environmental studies at Dalhousie University and Chair of the CSA's Sustainable Forest Management Technical Committee. "I'm so proud that the first woodland certified to Z804 is right here in my home province".

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