Forestry certainly has the ability to change the earth's landscape over time, and for that reason (among others) there is a lot of interest in the sustainable development of Alberta's forests. But how do you know if the wood product you're buying is from an endangered rainforest, or from a
sustainable, managed forest? Well, right now you have no way of knowing, but in the future you might have the ability to selectively choose your lumber to buy only from companies who are committed to ecological responsibility. The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is working on a proposal that would see forestry companies pressured to measure up to the standards set by the CSA and then be formally approved for all consumers to see. After all, vacuums and certain household items need to be approved, so why not wood products?
Because of the fragile nature of our forests, forestry has been under the watchful eye of the public and environmentalists alike for many years. Many are concerned that forestry companies aren't doing all they can to ensure that the the forest (that is, the trees and all other living and non-living things that live in the forest) and not just the trees are being ecologically managed.
The objectives that would need to be met for the CSA stamp of approval would be determined by a CSA technical committee. In order to ensure that all viewpoints would be considered, the committee would be made up of as many stakeholders as possible. Representatives from the industry, the scientific community as well as the government and environmentalists would work together to hammer out a set of objectives that would need to be met in order to meet the CSA standards. The system would be monitored for effectiveness and then changes made if necessary.
Despite the optimism this approval system has garnered in the hearts of some, there are still skeptics who believe the certification may be too weak. Listen to this issue's
EcoFile to get the whole story and learn more about the CSA certification process.