Discussion on American hardwoods

Comments   2   Date Arrow  January 13, 2008 at 3:45pm   User  by Christina

As I mentioned in my previous post, we looked at many options for wood flooring and chose quarter sawn white oak.

Sources of wood, tree farm practices, FSC, SFI, etc. have been an ongoing source of discussion with my father since our family has a managed tree farm. Typically LEED and all the organizations promoting green building only promote FSC woods. My father has said that this was a biased promotion or an option that needed further investigating. Thus I asked him for a few recommended web sites and to write a brief statement on his views of woods from managed farms. Web sites:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17332316

http://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/

http://www.treefarmsystem.org/His statement:

I think FSC was set up as part of the movement to discourage destruction of the tropical rain forests by certifying that products came from plantations and sustainably managed forest in the tropics. Then they have tried to transfer the same method to support sustainable forestry in the US. Ironically they oppose the same practices here that they strongly encourage in the tropics such as intensively managed plantations. SFI and the Tree Farm System were established by industries as a standard for certifying industry owned and managed land and private non-industrial land. Both programs are now managed by independent boards, but they still have the association with forest products industries whereas FSC is associated with environmental groups. There is a lot of “turf war” between the two groups and accusations of deception by both groups against the other. The standards are actually pretty close to the same as far as I can tell but FSC puts more emphasis on social welfare derived from their effort to protect rights of indigenous people in the tropics. My objection to FSC is that they are encouraging people to buy products with their certification when they actually do not have a significant amount of land certified or products produced that can be traced to their certified lands so to buy wood with their certification you are going to have to buy wood produced in Sweden or New Zealand. This is not encouraging to US landowners to maintain their land in forests by providing a market for their trees. As the last paragraph of the NPR article points out, this is really the best way to preserve forests as a renewable resource. FSC really does not even have a system for certifying small private landholdings which typify US forests, especially in the east and its standards are directed toward management of large public forests. The only land in Tennessee that is FSC certified is the State Forests but even there there is no premium paid for the trees because they are certified and no method set up to trace the wood from the state forests to the final product. So I think FSC is really being deceptive if it is representing that buying products it certifies supports sustainable forestry. For reasons that seem to be completely political the LEED Green Building Code people only recognize FSC as a valid certification so that causes me to question the legitimacy of the whole program. As far as I know FSC is a legitimate system for certifying tropical forest products, but it seems to me it is a better practice to use local products that support sustainable forestry at home instead of using tropical products at all.

Tagged   the house

2 Comments

  • #1.   Thera 11.29.2008

    Can’t seem to read/make out the blue print here. Has anyone else commented or had this problem?

  • #2.   Christina 12.01.2008

    I changed the text to make it easier to read. Thanks for drawing this to my attention.

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