Forest Stewardship Council Fails to Protect Strzelecki Rainforest

August 13 2013


Environmental organisations Friends of the Earth and Friends of Gippsland Bush today released a detailed case study investigating the impacts of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification on the rainforests of the Strzelecki Ranges. The case study investigates key issues pertaining to management and recommendations made during Forest Stewardship Council audits over the past decade. The certification of Hancock Victorian Plantations (HVP) in 2004 was the first FSC accreditation given to an Australian Timber company. HVP remain certified with the certifying body, Smartwood/Rainforest Alliance despite a litany of problems.

The case study has found that FSC certification, regarded as the world's greenest forest certification system has failed to lead to greater protection for rainforests of the Strzelecki's.

Friends of the Earth spokesperson Anthony Amis said “The case study is worrying as it is evident that FSC has been unable to withstand the tactics and influence of the pulp and paper industry in terms of getting sound ecological outcomes. Because the certifiers are paid by the company being audited it would be fair to suggest that the system is not fairly balanced to safeguard ecologically significant areas such as rainforests. This is extremely disappointing. It would appear that business interests are outweighing environmental interests.”

“It is also concerning that it would appear that similar interim standards to those used in the Strzelecki's, will be used in regards to the recent Tasmanian Forest Agreement. Interim Standards are set by the certifiers, and operate when there is not a national standard in place. Various stakeholders have input into the National Standard, but not the Interim Standards. Australian FSC standards may not be implemented until 2015, whereas the Tasmanian Agreement has to be completed by late 2014” Mr Amis added.

“Since FSC certification in 2004 industry has continued to convert native forests to plantation, remove regenerated forest, habitat links, old growth and High Conservation Value Forests with apparent impunity from FSC”.

According to Friends of Gippsland Bush spokesperson Susie Zent “In terms of rainforest specifically, FSC has allowed logging to occur in rainforest ecotones against the best advice of scientific experts. FSC has also sided with industry against the long term ecological integrity of the Strzelecki Ranges, by allowing logging in close proximity to rainforest, thereby increasing the risks of damage to that rainforest by threats including wildfire, the disease myrtle wilt, buffer disturbance, weeds etc. FSC has also allowed for destruction of stands of Strzelecki Warm Temperate Rainforest, the most endangered Ecological Vegetation Class in the Strzelecki Ranges.”

For more information contact Suzie Zent on 51 691 588 or Anthony Amis on 0425 841 564

The report can be downloaded at: