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New forest certification standard promises better protection for woodland caribou

June 3, 2019

Photo AWA Files © C. Olson

Today, the Forest Stewardship Council of Canada (FSC Canada) released a new FSC Standard that will guide Canada’s forestry sector. FSC Canada aims to incorporate sustainability into responsible forest management. Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) congratulates FSC for developing a progressive national standard that incorporates conservation measures for species at risk, including a habitat indicator for endangered woodland caribou.

“We are encouraged to see that FSC Canada considered sound science and Indigenous knowledge as the basis of their approach to protecting endangered woodland caribou,” said Carolyn Campbell, AWA Conservation Specialist. “The proposed SARA-compliant caribou range planning included in the new Standard is a step forward for supporting species at risk in the boreal forest where no protection currently exists.”

Woodland caribou are federally-listed as endangered under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), with habitat loss and fragmentation among the primary causes of population decline. With the implementation of the revised FSC Standard for Canada, FSC-certified companies may play an important role in caribou range protection where provincial range plans have not yet materialized.

“The work has barely begun for managing Canada’s woodland caribou,” continues Carolyn. “We have some concern about giving certificate holders this degree of responsibility. However, this is potentially the most progress that forest certification has seen for a woodland caribou indicator.”

“FSC Canada has been a leader in placing conservation, Free, Prior and Informed Consent for Indigenous Peoples, and species protection at the core of sustainable forest management,” adds Cliff Wallis, AWA Board member. “The standard stems from the opportunities for dialog and consultation created by FSC Canada.”

AWA is hopeful that the new national standard will increase conservation efforts in the forestry sector in such a way that benefits of communities, economies and, importantly, forest ecosystems.

Read the new FSC Standard for Canada here:

For more information:
Carolyn Campbell, Alberta Wilderness Association, 403.283.2025
Cliff Wallis, Alberta Wilderness Association, 403.607.1970

We have spectacular wilderness in Alberta, much of it under some form of protection. Every square millimetre of it has had to be fought for - will always have to be fought for, forever and ever. The struggle to retain and repair wilderness is conducted not just by a few individuals, but by large numbers of committed people, from all walks of life, all working in various ways toward the same end. We need to be grateful to all of them.
- Dave Mayhood
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