March April 2005





New Forest Certification Standard in Effect
In January, the Sustainable Forestry Board (SFB) released its new standard for sustainable forest management. The 2005-2009 Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) ® Standard was developed through a 12-month transparent and extensive public review process involving web-based comment periods and review workshops throughout the United States and Canada. Several provisions were added to address social issues and the management of public lands including public involvement, indigenous peoples, non-timber forest products, traditional forest-related knowledge, and illegal logging. The new standard also adds rigor to audit procedures and strengthens the required qualifications for the independent auditor. Bill Banzhaf, SFB President, stated, "Unless we can ensure the competence and independence of our auditing force, the substantive enhancements to the Standard will have little effect on what happens in the forest. Our auditors must meet specific educational and experience criteria as established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Registrar Accreditation Board (RAB)." Lawrence Selzer, President of the Conservation Fund and current Chairman of the SFB, said, "With these enhancements, the SFI Standard strengthens its position as one of the most rigorous and environmentally friendly standards now in use in North America and the world. But there is always room for improvement."

New Mill
Sierra Pacific Industries, a privately held company in Redding, Calif., announced it will be building a sawmill in Everett, Wash. Completion is expected in 2007 with a price tag of between $60 and $100 million. Sierra intends to build the sawmill where the older Weyerhaeuser sawmill once stood. Ed Bond, a spokesman for Sierra Pacific Industries, says that in addition to the growing demand for wood throughout the country, a combination of new technology, a willing work force and enough available timber, it makes sense to build a new sawmill in Western Washington. The mill will produce dimensional lumber for housing and commercial construction. It also is being designed to process smaller trees. The company expects to hire approximately 200 employees, averaging around $18 an hour, with full benefits.

Federal Agreement Over 9.2 Million Acres
Gov. Christine Gregoire has asked the federal government to agree that state logging rules covering 9.2 million acres of Washington timberland will protect salmon so well that landowners should get broad exemptions from the Endangered Species Act. It’s been more than five years since state lawmakers adopted rules governing where and how trees could be felled on lands ranging from a small farmer's ranch to the state's largest industrial tree farms. Now Washington state is asking the federal government to adopt those rules as one of the largest habitat-conservation plans (HCPs) in the country's history. In exchange for such an agreement, the federal government would insure that for 50 years, it would not require the 60,000 participating landowners to further restrictions of their land to save fish. "This is the big step," said Pat McElroy, director of regulatory programs for the state Department of Natural Resources. "It means we've done all the work we can do. If all goes well, it means we will have those federal assurances well before the end of the year."

Komatsu Donates $2 Million to Tsunami Disaster Relief
In January, Komatsu Ltd., the Tokyo, Japan-based parent company of Komatsu America Corp., announced a pledge of approximately $2 million worth of aid to assist the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster, including an initial cash donation of about $200,000 to the Japanese Red Cross, along with inkind contributions of construction equipment. In conjunction with its local subsidiaries and distributors in Southeast Asia, Komatsu is dispatching equipment and operators to assist with recovery efforts. In addition, Komatsu America Corp. made a cash donation to the American Red Cross International Response Fund for tsunami relief efforts. Komatsu America Corp. also matched its employees’ contributions to the American Red Cross made between December 26 and January 14.

Weyerhaeuser Harvests First Timber Since Mount St. Helens Blast
It was May 18, 1980 when Mount St. Helens erupted. And in January 2005, 25 years later, the Weyerhaeuser Co. began harvesting trees it had replanted in the blast zone. Contract loggers began thinning stands of Douglas fir from land that was once acres of ash. "It's a time of immense pride for all of us at Weyerhaeuser," spokesperson Jackie Lang said. "By all definitions [the blast zone] was a wasteland 25 years ago. It's a complex and healthy forest today because of our active forest management."


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This page was last updated on Monday, April 18, 2005