23rd October 2014

The WA Government logging agency, the Forest Products Commission (FPC), has submitted false and misleading information and gained an environmental tick of approval from the world's leading timber certifying body, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), environment groups said today.

The WA Forest Alliance (WAFA) expressed shock and dismay that FSC’s high standards have been ignored. 

“We have shown the certifying body that the information provided by FPC is demonstrably false. This is the wrong decision and FSC needs to withdraw the certification in order to maintain its credibility in Australia,” said WAFA spokesperson Jess Beckerling.
 
“FPC’s mapping of ‘two-tiered’ high conservation value forests provided for this application is rife with errors that misled the certifying body and the public.

“Woodchipping 600 year old karri trees and destroying habitat for endangered species is in no way sustainable, no matter how FPC tries to spin it.
 
“We have found ancient nesting hollow trees, critical for the survival of Black Cockatoos, destroyed while the forest was being logged.
 
“At least 15 threatened fauna species including Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, Mainland Quokkas and Chuditch lose vital habitat during karri logging operations. The FPC’s logging practices are paving the way to extinction for these animals that exist nowhere else on earth.

 “The certifying body cannot accept the loggers’ claims without properly verifying them. The failure of the certifying body to check the facts undermines the whole FSC accreditation scheme.
 
“FSC accredits forest products if they meet its criteria for sustainable and ethical forest management. It is seen as the international ‘gold standard’ for forest certification. This time FSC has got it wrong and needs to take action to correct the mistake.
 
“The customers of the company that take this wood, including Nippon Paper Industries (owners of the WAPRES woodchip operation near Manjimup), need to know that the wood from WA’s karri forests is no way sustainable,” said Ms Beckerling.

Environment groups have committed to ensure this decision is overturned and the high standards of FSC are maintained.

FACT FILE:
* FPC failed to adhere to FSC consultation requirements.
* FPC mapping submitted to the certifying body, Soil Association Woodmark, was littered with errors. This has misled the certifying body on the key issue of ‘Type 2’ Old Growth protection.
* FPC seriously underestimated the extent of ‘Type 2’ Old Growth as defined by FSC.
* WAFA highlighted these errors and were still awaiting a response from the certifying body when the certification decision was announced.

FSC credibility on the line after certifying karri clearfelling