Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Lanark County Forest Certification Project

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
April 23, 2002
Submitted by Cliff Bennett

Lanark County Forest Certification Project

Forest FernA small but enthusiastic group of members of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists met at the Almonte United Church on April 18, to receive an update on Forest Certification. Guest presenter was Scott Davis, coordinator of the Lanark County Forest Certification Project. This meeting was a follow-up to an initial forest certification meeting held by MVFN in October of 2000. MVFN members are always concerned about what happens to our forests.

Scott Davis opened the session with a visual presentation explaining what forest certification was and how the Lanark County Group Forest Certification Project was organized. The Lanark Forest Group Project is a function of the Eastern Ontario Model Forest.

Forest certification is based on the concept of sustainability and provides for 3rd party verification that forest management practices comply with established standards. The programme is voluntary and market based in order to give consumers choice. Through the purchase of certified forest products, the buyer makes the statement of supporting forestry practices that ensure wildlife habitat needs and the environment are not compromised. In Europe, demands for certified forest products greatly exceed the supply.

Scott went on to explain the formation of the Lanark Group Project was to test the feasibility of group FSC forest certification for owners of small woodlots. Funding for the project comes from the Richard Ivey Foundation and is the first of its kind in Ontario. One aim of the Group is to develop non-timber forest products such as maple syrup.

Two local operators, Terry O’Conner of Clayton and Bert Treicher who owns forests around Robertson Lake in Lavant, were introduced as panelists for discussion with the audience. A lively question and answer session followed on topics such as quality of certified products, financial viability and marketing.

The evening was hosted by MVFN member Franziska Von Rosen, who introduced the guest presenters. MVFN member Jim Bendell conducted the question and answer period and presented the guests with a copy of the book Biotic Forest Communities in appreciation.

The next MVFN event is a Spring Nature Walk with host Martha Webber, who will discuss edible wilds. This event will be held on Saturday, May 11. Details available on mvfn.ca or the local newspapers. Also coming up; the Annual General Meeting of MVFN, May 16, at Union Hall.