Sustainable Forest Policy and Certification

Seminar Series, 2003


  • 2:30 pm, Wednesday, April 9
    Linda Coady, WWF Canada
  • Noon, Wednesday, April 16
    Mike Conroy, Ford Foundation
  • 2:30 pm, Wednesday, April 16
    Mike Conroy, Ford Foundation
  • 2:30 pm, Wednesday, April
    Cathryn Harrison, University of British Columbia

• download PDF ( 1.7 M)


Forest Stewardship Council Assessor Training Seminar
April 25 through 28th, 2003

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Assessor Training Seminar for 2003 allows over 20 students to get hands-on experience with the standards and criteria for FSC forest certification. The students have been required to prepare for the training by reading management documents and an ecological, economic, and social history of the land that they will assess during the training. Great Mountain Forest, located in Litchfield, CT, is the location of this years training, and has submitted a request for FSC auditing. The training will serve as a 'draft' assessment for the actual assessment this summer. The Child's family has generously donated the facilities for the three-day seminar.

After reading preparatory documents regarding the land and surrounding town, students are required to familiarize themselves with the organizations of SmartWood, the Rainforest Alliance, and FSC. They must study the 10 standards and criteria and their indicators for certification under FSC in order to be prepared for landowner and stakeholder interviews. Students will also have the opportunity to verify on-the-ground forest management. On the last day of the training, the students will learn about the requirements for Chain of Custody (CoC) certification. Students will visit a FSC certified flooring mill, Green River Mill in Greatbarington, MA, and will have a guided tour of the facilities to see how they handle the tracking of certified wood products from the forest to the market.

Each portion of the assessment seminar will be completed in groups of four or five students. SmartWood emphasizes that teamwork is the way to a successful assessment. Each of the students will be assigned the role of a forester, social economist, or ecologist in order to make an appropriate assessment from a truly interdisciplinary perspective. Two of SmartWood's most senior trainers have been designated to run the training seminar and guide students in these tasks.

This year there will be an opportunity for up to four students to work on a completed draft assessment document at the end of the training seminar. These students would act as contractors to SmartWood and their assessment would operate as the draft for the actual audit completed by SmartWood contractors during the summer. Students have been invited to the assessment in order to explain and defend the decisions that were made in the draft assessment.


Yale FES Program on Forest Certification Attends the FSC General Assembly in Oaxaca, Mexico

Text by Margaret Francis, February 11, 2003

From November 20-26, 2002, FES masters students Emily Noah and Margaret Francis, along with Graeme Auld, Research Associate, and Professor Ben Cashore, Program Chair, attended the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) General Assembly in Oaxaca, Mexico, on behalf of Yale's Program on Forest Certification. They had two key goals. First, they sought to understand better the emerging and evolving forest certification governance institutions and how international decisions affect national and local sustainable forestry efforts. Second, they sought to highlight the Program on Forest Certification with key members of the forest certification policy community.

Both goals were achieved. The FSC general assembly provided them with an excellent opportunity to gather data and perspectives first-hand from the diverse and dynamic representation of FSC members who came from all corners of the globe to attend this important event. FSC General Assemblies are the "supreme authority of the association" and are held once every three years. The purpose of the assembly is to bring together FSC membership to review workplans, principles and criteria, the Association's budget, amend or propose of new statutes, and to appoint the Board of Directors (Forest Stewardship Council, 2002). Located in the quaint and colonial city of Oaxaca in south-central Mexico, the FSC General Assembly brought together at least 200 of its members from around the world for this critical decision-making event. Masters students Margaret Francis and Emily Noah observed and participated as scholars studying the intricate facets of forest certification policy processes. In addition to being funded by the Program, they received generous support from the Yale Masters Student Travel Fund, administered by Assistant Dean Gordon Geballe at Yale FES. Emily Noah, an December FES graduate noted that "it is difficult to truly appreciate the innovative nature of the FSC until one witnesses how forest companies, landowners, environmental and social non-governmental organizations, indigenous peoples, and others come together to pull their strengths and work through their differences in order to further build a private, voluntary environmental governance system for sustainable forest management".

Professor Cashore and Graeme Auld connected with FSC members from around the world to further the Program's research on the evolution of the FSC and its efforts to gain broader support. Graeme Auld characterized his experiences as "(an) invaluable opportunity to place three years of research in context," adding that the Assembly's proceedings were "an eye-opening look at an organization grappling with the real issues of democracy, sustainable livelihoods, and environmental conservation."

Professor Cashore was also asked to act as a "raporteur" to the market linkages workshop, where he presented his research (with Auld and Newsom) and analysis on "legitimacy" and forest certification. As Cashore summarized: "the Oaxaca trip proved to be a watershed in the emergence of the Program on Forest Certification. We were able to demonstrate our research, outreach and educational role, and just as important, the rigorous analysis we presented was received favorably by practitioners who continue to make critical strategic choices about the future of forest certification"

Works Cited

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) 2002. FSC General Assemblies. FSC: Oaxaca, Mexico.


Ben Cashore and Emily Noah in Oaxaca

The magnificent "El Tule Tree"