Certification bid forces Vic Forests rethink

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Originally published at: 

An assessment of Vic Forests has found it currently fails to meet a basic standard for sustainable management, triggering speculation that it could change old growth logging practices.

The preliminary assessment was conducted on behalf of the Forest Stewardship Council, a group which works globally to endorse companies if they meet environmental and social responsibility standards.

Vic Forests is seeking certification to help with marketing its products.

David Walsh of Vic Forests says its not surprising that the preliminary report found areas that require change, and all the identified shortcomings can be addressed.

'One of them will obviously be old growth harvesting, as a high conservation value it's something we need to be monitoring and managing appropriately,' he said.

'But there will be a whole range of other things that will come up, things along the lines of protected species, protection of habitat for those species.

'And other social and environmental values that are provided by the forests.'

The Forest Stewardship Council remains at arms length from the assessment process to ensure no conflict of interest.

But FSC Australia chief executive Natalie Reynolds says the auditors report does list a number of areas that Vic Forests will need to improve.

'There's a lot of environmental things that come out here ... lots of issues about the classification of old growth and making sure that is compatible with FSC's guidance,' she said.

Listen to the audio file at http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bushtelegraph/vic-forests/5581406