By Glenda Anderson
Ukiah Daily Journal
November 27, 2000
The Forest Stewardship Council last week certified that Mendocino Redwood Co. is a responsible forest manager.
"Mendocino Redwood Co. and its owners, the Fisher family of San Francisco, have successfully begun the process of transforming the management of these forests from traditional industrial practices to the high standards of the FSC and deserve recognition," said FSC Executive Director Hank Cauley.
The Forest Stewardship Council is an international, independent non-profit organization backed by environmental groups like the World Wildlife Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Wilderness Society.
Its certification allows Mendocino Redwood to label its wood products as coming from well-managed forests.
Certification also places conditions on Mendocino Redwood to ensure continued improvement of its forest management practices.
Mendocino Redwood Chairman Sandy Dean said he's happy with the certification, which the company has been seeking for more than two years.
Last year, the stewardship council commended Mendocino Redwood's efforts, but denied it certification.
Dean said he's hoping certification will dispel contentions by environmentalists that the company is no better at managing forests than its predecessor - Louisiana-Pacific, from which it bought 232,000 acres in Mendocino and Sonoma counties in early 1998. L-P had admitted prior to selling that it overcut its timberlands.
Local environmentalists, who have ongoing protests against the timber company's harvest plans, are unlikely to be placated by the certification.
"The fact these very badly cut-over forests can be certified as being sustainably harvested seems like a contradiction," said Linda Perkins.
However, she said she hasn't seen the conditions of the certification.
It's possible, she said, that the certification will move the company toward more sustained harvest practices.
However, Perkins said she still doesn't think certification should be given on a promise of doing better in the future.
"It seems to make a mockery of the certification," she said.
Mendocino Redwood Co. is not the first California timber company to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, but it's the biggest, Dean said.
He said the conditions placed on the company include a continuing policy of preserving old-growth redwood trees that are more than 200 years old and 48 inches or bigger in diameter. He said that's been a policy since the company bought the land.
The company also is being required to continue its process of creating smaller parcel plans, so that individual stands can be evaluated.
"On a given 100 acres, ultimately we'll be able to tell you what's going to happen over the next 50 years," Dean said.
Other conditions of the certification can be found at the certifiers' Websites.
Two certifiers evaluated Mendocino Redwood Co. for the certification program.
They were SmartWood, which can be found at www.smartwood.org; and Scientific Certifications Systems, which can be found at www.www.scscertified.com.
Mendocino Redwood's Webpage also will be posting links to those sites. It can be located at www.mrc.com.