Boise Cascade earns forest certification

December 02, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

Customers want it so Boise Cascade Corporation says it is delivering.

The Northeast Oregon Region with 300,000 acres of commercial forests has been formally certified, said Michael Moser of the corporations Boise office.

Our customers influenced us, Moser said about certification. We wanted to demonstrate to our customers that they can be assured theyre buying certified products made from a well-managed forest.

To be certified, a company must demonstrate through an audit that it is growing and harvesting trees in a sustainable manner, as well as protecting the environment and providing habitat for wildlife.

The audit, an independent examination of Northeast Oregon forest management practices, was done last summer by a national auditing company. Moser said several customers observed the audit.

Certification has become more popular in recent years, and the American Forest & Paper Association, the organization of commercial timber growers, created the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Program to set the standards for sustainable forestry, Moser said. Boise is a member of the national association.

Boise Cascade was already positioned for certification, he said.

We did not have to reduce the number of trees were taking from the land, he said. We manage our lands for sustainable forestry. In any year, we grow more wood than we harvest, and last year, we grew 6 percent more wood than we harvested.

In Oregon, commercial forests are managed under the state Forest Practices Act. State rules provide standards that include vegetation buffers along fish-bearing streams, as well as rules for snags, retention of green trees and reforestation. All commercial operators in Oregon must follow the act.

Northeast Oregon Regional Forester Bob Messinger of the La Grande office said the main impact on the local Boise Cascade operation will be in record-keeping.

Its required us to improve our documentation and record-keeping, he said. Weve had our internal set of standards for some time, but auditors have to have a nice paper trail.

Messinger said the Northeast Oregon operation has delegated one staff person to be responsible for following the required certification standards.

The sustainable forestry certification program requires an audit every three to five years.