Think of it as the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for forests.
That’s the Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC) certification for well-managed woodlands, and AMC’s Maine Woods Initiative (MWI) lands recently attained that coveted distinction. That means wood harvested from MWI land can now carry the FSC label— a sign that AMC’s forest management practices conform to FSC’s stringent standards.
AMC manages more than 70,000 acres of forestland in Maine’s 100-Mile Wilderness region, including the Katahdin Iron Works (KIW) property, the Roach Ponds tract, and Baker Mountain. Those lands are managed for a mix of uses, including conservation, recreation, and timber production. About half of the land is managed for timber, with forestry operations providing work for local loggers and mills while also generating revenue to help cover the costs of land management and ownership. More than one-third is managed as ecological reserve lands, which are off limits to logging, and where natural processes will dictate the forest’s future complexion.
Widely considered the gold standard in forest management certification, FSC certification has been a goal of MWI since AMC purchased the 37,000-acre KIW property in 2003, says David Publicover, AMC’s assistant director of research and the senior staff scientist responsible for forest management on AMC land. The certification requires conformance with FSC’s 10 principles and 56 criteria addressing the ecological, economic, and social aspects of forest management.
AMC earned the certification in association with The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) group certificate, a model allowing several landowners to be included in a single certificate under a group manager. In addition to the MWI lands, TNC’s certificate covers nearly 350,000 acres owned by TNC or its partners in a variety of states.
As part of the certification process, an independent third-party field audit was conducted by the Rainforest Alliance, ensuring that AMC’s practices conform to FSC standards. “We received extensive compliments on the quality of our operations and the knowledge and qualifications of our management team,” Publicover says of the audit process. “We’re proud to know that wood harvested from our property is now eligible to be included in certified wood products displaying the FSC logo.”
AMC’s forestry management consulting firm, Huber Resources Corp., represented by the field forester, Ted Shina, played an integral role in the achievement, Publicover notes. Huber has consulted on all of AMC’s forest management and timber harvesting since AMC’s KIW purchase in 2003.
AMC’s forestry plan “sets forth a management approach that over the long term seeks to create a forest that more closely resembles complex mature natural forests, even while removing timber on a regular cycle,” Publicover writes in “A Decade of Change in the Maine Woods,” published in the Winter/Spring 2016 issue of AMC’s journal, Appalachia.