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Environment PDF Print

Re-planting Forests for the next Generation:

treePublic awareness about environmental issues is at an all-time high, and increasingly, consumers are doing their part by choosing products that have a minimal impact on the environment. Fortunately, the facts are clear: Wood products, including solid wood flooring is the only flooring option available that is completely sustainable. In addition, wood flooring also has the smallest impact on our environment. It is carbon-neutral, uses fewer fossil fuels in its production, has less water consumption in its production and has the longest service life of all flooring options. As a member of the NWFA, Bedson Timbers recommend that you take a look at the NWFA Industry Research Foundation's Life Cycle Analysis for Solid Hardwood Flooring conducted by the University of Wisconsin. The study analyzes the environmental impact of wood flooring and several flooring alternatives. Each flooring type is compared for harmful air emissions, water consumption, total primary energy consumption and product life expectancy. To see the full report and the supplemental analysis, go to www.nwfa.org and click on the "What's New" link. Or contact the NWFA at 800/422-4556 (U.S.), 800/848-8824 (Canada) or 636/519-9663 (local and international) or by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Bedson Timbers has expanded its business and acquired 2000 hectares of prime land in Uruguay a while ago for the growing of Eucalyptus species, in an effort to secure future demand for the South African and international markets. The investment formed part of a 300-year sustainable project. The planting process followed strict rules of the FSC's procedures and guidelines.

Oscar Bupo, CEO of Bedson underlined the strategic importance of this project: "Uruguay and Argentina, countries where we have part of our investments, provide fertile forestry soils, adequate rainfalls, extremely good growth rates and a steady economic growth as reflected by the presence of neighbours such as Shell, Botnia, Storaenso, ENCE, Weyerhaeuser and several other international giants".

More recently South African blue-chip Companies have been investing in Argentina and Uruguay, showing clear confidence into the future of these two South American countries. These synergies create opportunities for the future and forests will always contribute to the reverse of global warming.

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Protecting Water Quality Through Forests

Forests offer many invaluable benefits. Forests help remove nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. Forests also provide clean drinking water, flood control by interception of rainfall, erosion control, and habitat for aquatic species. Forests insure proper watershed function by regulating water flow into streams after heavy rains and by supporting base flow of water slowly released from the soil between rains. Bedson Timbers, in their effort of forest plantations for the next 300 years, support and contribute to all the key aspects of water quality contribution as mention above.

A recent study of Caryn Ernst, Richard Gullick and Kirk Nixon at the American Water Worx, also shows a very close relationship between forests and clean water and the resulting effects on treatment costs. Changes in land use can affect source water quality and, thus treatment costs. Efforts to protect standing forests and natural lands from development or intensive agriculture will help communities avoid increases in treatment expenditures. Improving land use practices and protecting lands that serve as natural filters for contaminants, such as forests, riparian areas, and wetlands, is critical to reducing pollutants that reach our raw water sources. 

A growing understanding of the role that forests and natural lands play in filtering pollutants and maintaining water quality has led many municipalities and water suppliers, particularly those in growing communities, to consider land protection for forests, as part of a multiple-barrier approach to providing safe drinking water. Bedson Timbers proud themselves in contributing to the benefits of cleaner water for the generations of tomorrow.

Managing Nature

Early national forest management was concerned primarily with resource security, as it turned out, a contribution to the later dimensions and intensity of multiple use. National forest area in America alone (where Bedson Timbers currently have their forrests) grew from 75 million acres in 1905 to 172 million by 1910. The record burn of 5 million acres in 1910 was reduced by fire control to 600,000 acres per year. Burns were reforested as promptly as funds permitted. By 1908 every national forest had a working plan to limit cutting to a sustainable level, although the timber resources of the national forests were then seen as a reserve to be held while private forests were being harvested. Law enforcement and predator control quadrupled big game populations. The nation's first wilderness was designated in a national forest in 1924, and by 1945, 8.5 Percent of the national forests had been administratively withdrawn as wild and wilderness areas.

treesResource protection proved a foundation and an incentive for multiple use, but no guide to usage was integrated. Repeated reductions in grazing allotments were unpopular and made only minor improvements in the range. Fuel buildups resulting from fire control required prescribed burning, a slap in the face of Smokey Bear. Timber sales, pushed by markets and a favorable Congress to 92 percent of the allowable cut, were believed to be scientifically permissible and desirable, yet clearly were impinging on the quality of the other forest resources. Game numbers grew beyond carrying capacities and called for unpopular control measures. Recreational visits grew from one million in 1919 to 236 million in 1981, exposing management problems to ever closer public scrutiny.

By the 1960s the public was aroused. The Bitterroot study in America had uncovered unquestionable overcutting. A computer had challenged the cutting rate for several companies and these issues had become public through well covered media releases. The Timber industry subsequently made strong moves to respond to public concerns. Despite threats from the timber industry it was proclaimed publicly that National Forest programs were out of balance with emerging environmental preferences and that an ecosystem approach to the management of national forest issues was needed. Public relations training was given to fifteen hundred key employees. A review of the timber land base led to its eventual reduction from 75 million acres to 53 million by 1993. Reduction in clearcuts and involvement of the public early in their planning were ordered. The world's largest team of landscaping talent developed visual constraints on timber sales on every national forest.

Today, strict adherence to sustainable forestry is expected by all timber companies and forest services. The FSC set very strict guidelines and assist industry players to ethical conduct when it comes to managing nature. (Factual information, courtesy of Environmental History -  Frank Wadsworth. )

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Sustainable Forestry

Bedson Timbers has applied for membership of the Forest Stuartship Council (FSC) and is proud to support  their objectives and goals.
FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. www.fsc.org/about.fsc.html 

      There are so many labels. Why should I buy FSC?

Trying to do the right thing and buying sustainably produced products can be confusing. The FSC label makes it easy to make the right choice when buying timber or paper products. Here is why choosing FSC makes a       difference:

  • Only FSC
  • prohibits conversion of natural forests or other habitat around the world
  • prohibits the use of highly hazardous pesticides around the world
  • prohibits the cultivation of genetically modified trees (GMOs)
  • respects the right of indigenous peoples around the world
  • controls each certified operation at least once a year – and if they are found not to comply, the certificate is withdrawn

This is why FSC is the only forest certification system that is supported by all major environmental groups. And a number of certification assessments, such as the US and the Australian green building council only accept FSC as proof of sustainability.

The range of FSC products grows every day. Today, almost every product is available in FSC quality and generally they are not more expensive than non-certified products, but often better quality. To find FSC products, check out the FSC Certificate Search or contact the FSC office near you.

What is the Forest Stewardship Council?

FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. 
It provides standard setting, trademark assurance and accreditation services for companies and organizations interested in responsible forestry. 
Products carrying the FSC label are independently certified to assure consumers that they come from forests that are managed to meet the social, economic and ecological needs of present and future generations. 
FSC has offices in more than 45 countries.

What is the problem and what solutions does FSC offer?

Forests provide us with clean water, fresh air and they even help combat global warming. They also provide food, medicine and important natural resources, such as timber and paper. If managed responsibly, forests and plantations benefit forest people and the global community. However, in some countries as much as 80% of the timber is harvested illegally. This often involves violation of human rights and destruction of protected forests.

FSC certification offers forest managers rewards for managing their forests the FSC way – following the highest social and environmental criteria there are. In some instances rewards can be in the form of price premiums. But increasingly, FSC certification is rewarded with improved access to environmentally sensitive markets. Also, more and more governments and leading businesses specify FSC certified materials in their purchasing programs.

How does FSC certification make a difference in the world’s forests?

All FSC certified forests must comply with FSC’s rules about how the forests should and should not be managed. When a forester decides to become FSC certified, he or she will make changes to comply with the relevant FSC requirements and become FSC certified. This is how FSC has a direct and permanent positive impact on the world’s forests and the people living from, in and around the forest.

Why should I become FSC certified?

Being FSC certified shows that you comply with the highest social and environmental standards on the market. As public concern about the state of the world’s forests and timber resources increases, FSC provides you with a simple solution to complex environmental and social issues. The FSC label is an effective way to get public and consumer recognition of your sustainable practices. This gives you credibility with customers and business partners as well as financial institutions and watchdog organizations.

FSC certification helps to protect your brand and reputation and it allows you to access highly environmentally sensitive markets. Increasingly, governments and other organizations specify FSC certified products in their purchasing programs.

Because FSC is the only globally valid standard it is also the only standard that is no barrier to trade under the Word Trade Organization (WTO).

Who makes the FSC rules?

The overarching FSC Principles and Criteria were adopted by the FSC membership and can only be changed or amended by a vote of the FSC membership. Everybody interested in the fate of the world’s forests can become an FSC member. FSC members meet at least every three years to a General Assembly. The FSC General Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the FSC.

At the FSC International Secretariat, a group of international specialists develop the FSC policies and standards. All policies and standards are derived from the FSC Principles and Criteria.  And again, it is the members who ultimately define what rules need to be further developed or reviewed and through their representatives on the FSC Board of Directors have final say in what rules are adopted. All policies and standards go through at least two rounds of public consultations. In these consultations everybody interested in the fate of the world’s forests can comment.

The FSC Board of Directors unanimously adopts FSC rules and procedures. The FSC Directors are appointed by vote of the FSC members.
In a number of countries, FSC has national representations. They can initiate and facilitate a national standard setting process – again, involving all members and members and interested public. National FSC standards are adaptations of the international FSC rules to more specifically address the national situation.

What changes do FSC rules require foresters to make?

The FSC Principles and Criteria describe how the forests have to be managed to meet the social, economic, ecological, cultural and spiritual needs of present and future generations. They include managerial aspects as well as environmental and social requirements. In fact FSC rules are the strictest and FSC’s social and environmental requirements the highest.

The 10 principles and 56 criteria form the basis for all FSC forest management standards. Based on these 10 principles, the FSC has developed further rules (called policies or standards) that further define and explain certain requirements stipulated in the 10 principles.

Here is a summary of some of the points the FSC Principles and Criteria require. Many of the points listed below will appear almost basic – but in many places, even these basic requirements are not fulfilled. This is where FSC can have the biggest positive impact.

  • Prohibit conversion of forests or any other natural habitat
  • Respect of international workers rights
  • Prohibition of use of hazardous chemicals
  • Respect of Human Rights with particular attention to indigenous peoples
  • No corruption – follow all applicable laws
  • Identification and appropriate management of areas that need special protection (e.g. cultural or sacred sites, habitat of endangered animals or plants)

More info about the FSC Principles and Criteria

Who can become an FSC Member?

Everybody who supports the idea of improved forest management around the world can become an FSC member. FSC members are divided into Social, Environmental and Economic chambers. Each of these chambers is divided in Economic North (industrialized countries) and Economic South (developing countries). Each chamber carries the same vote. This guarantees that no one interest can dominate.

Why was FSC created?

FSC certification is widely regarded as one of the most important initiatives of the last decade to promote responsible forest management worldwide. Why is this and what prior efforts have been made? 
Concerns and large-scale public debates about the state of world’s forests escalated globally in the 1980’s and led to a gridlock between different stakeholders fighting about environmental, social and economic interests. Initiatives from governments and international organizations did not manage to reduce forest destruction worldwide and the need to substantially improve forest management practices persisted. 
In the late 1980’s, tropical timber boycotts proclaiming to save the last tropical forests, not only failed, but worse, caused opposite effects in many cases. Conversion of forests to more economical land uses continued and in some cases accelerated.
The clear need for an effective mechanism to improve forest management and conservation worldwide was further emphasized in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. The World Summit in Rio de Janeiro agreed that progress towards sustainable development is the shared responsibility of social, environmental and economic interests although no legally binding commitments were agreed.
Disillusioned by the continuous failure of international negotiations progressive forest industries, social groups and environmental organizations came together to develop an alternative solution. Rather than boycotting poor practices, they wanted to use market forces to promote socially beneficial, environmentally appropriate and economically viable forest management. 
For the first time, leading social, environmental and economic players from the Global South and Global North joined in an international process with equal and equitable voices, decision-making powers and responsibilities and founded FSC. To this day, FSC provides a platform for these different interest groups to work together in a dynamic environment where each interest group has a voice and an equal say. 
Since its inception countless stakeholders around the world have worked with the FSC in its equitable participatory processes in support of responsible forest management. However, also since its early days, FSC was often criticized by conservative industries which did not believe in sharing decision-making with social and environmental stakeholders. Much like conservative industries, some environmental stakeholders believe that confrontational campaigns are a more appropriate conservation tool than equitable participatory solutions-oriented approaches. FSC will continue to try to engage conservative industries as well as confrontational NGOs in its approach. 
FSC believes that it is part of the solution for the conservation of natural forests and that a full set of different complementary conservation strategies are necessary to protect and maintain the world’s forests.

How is FSC funded?

Currently about 60% of FSC (International) funds comes from the support of charitable foundations, government donors and business contributions. The other 40% are collected from fees (membership, accreditation and others) and services rendered.

Over the next few years, FSC will reverse the ratio between donor funds and commercial funds to 60% income from commercial activities and fees and 40% from donations.

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