Wood is one of the few natural resources that is not limited. The growth of natural resources is generally measured in terms of millennia. Forest growth is measured in terms of decades. The emphasis in sustainable lumber production is "Forest Health," thereby providing timber for the future, as well as the biodiversity necessary for good water, healthy birds, fish, wildlife and insects, all essential to the health and survival of our earth and all its inhabitants.
In more recent years, people who are specialists in the field of conservation and forestry, as well as business and civic leaders have come together to research methods which will significantly decrease the environmental impact of harvesting timber. Their research has shown that harvesting trees in such a way as to allow the forest to regrow itself naturally is not only possible, but strongly advisable.
Forest owners are certified according to harvesting methods and forest management practices. Participants are reviewed yearly to see that they continue to meet specific environmental standards. These programs are not run by the government or private industry, but by private citizens interested in the preservation and care of our forests so that timber can be a viable legacy to all future generations rather than an ancestral memory.
In 1993, twenty-five countries came together in Toronto, Canada, to form an organization called the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The goal of this council was to establish an international standard for harvesting timber and managing forests that is both ecologically and socioeconomically sound. This international group was comprised of representatives from forest industries, environmental organizations and business communities. The result of this conference was the development of an international accrediting organization. It established ten principles of stewardship which are meant to safeguard the integrity and biological diversity of forests, protect the rights of those communities dependent on these forests and to conserve the economic values of these forest.
Since this original conference, several independent certification organizations have been accredited throughout the world. At the present time Sweden is the only country which has adopted the FSC certification criteria as a national standard for all of its forests.
For the building project at MCD, wood was obtained through Forest Trust, a local non-profit, non-governmental organization, which is a facilitator for certification standards for the Southwest wood industry. Their "Good Wood Guarantee," program has set the following Environmental Harvesting Standards:
- No clear cutting
- No endangered species impacted
- No high grading
- No harvesting on slopes over 30° grade
- Minimal soil compaction
- Snags left for wildlife
- Reforest if necessary
- No old growth removed
- No cultural or historic sites destroyed
- No species depletion
- Minimal damage to residual trees
- Minimal residual fire hazard
- Sensitive management areas preserved
- Temporary road and trails water barred
In addition to good harvesting standards, good forest management techniques are needed to insure a continued healthy growth of our forests.