ENDANGERED, ANCIENT, OLD GROWTH, NATIVE, FRONTIER, AND HCVF FORESTS
These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but have different meanings to different people and organizations. They all generally refer to forest areas that are relatively undisturbed by human management, ranging in size from a few acres to thousands of square miles. These areas may be near, surrounded by, or adjacent to forest areas that have been heavily disturbed or altered by human management.
Endangered Forests are the most valuable forests on the globe, forests that would be irreparably harmed by industrial resource extraction. In practical terms this means these forests are "NO GO" and "NO BUY" forests. These forests comprise a large proportion of the world's remaining old-growth, primary and ancient forests in tropical, temperate and boreal zones.
These forests should be protected from industrial-scale resource extraction so that they may continue to provide the many goods and services they supply in their natural state, and to maintain biological diversity in forest ecosystems.
The definitions of Endangered Forests are meant as a tool and guidance for consumers of wood and paper products. The protection of Endangered Forests complements certification of logging operations under the Forest Stewardship Council.
There are four categories of endangered forests:
ANCIENT or OLD-GROWTH FORESTS
Ancient or Old-Growth Forests include forest areas that are relatively undisturbed by human activity. Ancient forests vary significantly in age and structure from forest type to forest type and one biogeoclimatic zone to another. Boreal forests, temperate or tropical rainforests may all be classified as ancient or old growth forests. Ancient forests are characterized by the following features:
Native forests are largely naturally regenerated forests of any age consisting of a mix of tree species typical and natural for the region and forest type.
Frontier forest is a term coined by the World Resources Institute and refers to “the world's remaining large intact natural forest ecosystems.” These are large forest tracts that are relatively undisturbed and big enough to maintain all of their biodiversity, including viable populations of the wide-ranging species associated with each forest type.
HIGH CONSERVATION VALUE FORESTS (HCVF)
High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) is a term coined by the Forest Stewardship Council and refers to forests that possess one or more of the following attributes:
For more information please see the Forest Stewardship Council web site.
Plantations are not really forests, but rather places where trees are grown as a crop. Trees of a single species are manually planted close together in rows and are harvested in short rotations of only 25-40 years. Often, genetically engineered trees, as well as trees not native to the region are planted. The resulting stand usually bears little resemblance to the natural forests in the surrounding area and often does not provide the same quality of habitat or range of ecosystem services as natural forests. In many areas around the world, the conversion of native and old growth forests into plantations is a major threat.
However, plantations established on agricultural land or before 1994 and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council may help in reducing pressure to log native and endangered forests. Native forests converted into plantations after 1994 are uneligible for FSC certification.
CONVERSION or SUBSITUTION
Conversion or Subsitution refers to the transformation of native forests into plantations.
FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent, international, multi-stakeholder forestry certification organization. It trains, accredits and monitors third-party certifiers around the world and works to establish international forest management standards. Although other organizations, including forest and paper industry associations, offer other types of certification systems, the FSC is the only one that is verifiably performance-based, has widespread market acceptance, and has established credibility with the major environmental and social organizations worldwide.
The process of evaluating forest practices against an agreed standard by an accredited independent third-party.
INDEPENDENT THIRD PARTY CERTIFICATION
The process by which a separate entity that is considered reliable and unbiased investigates and verifies a company's adherence to a set of criteria that represent a high standard of excellence. For forest management and the labeling of products, currently the only acceptable standard is set by the Forest Stewardship Council.
FOREST PRODUCTS AUDIT
The process through which a consumer company identifies, for all wood and paper-based products it purchases, the company, country, specific forest operation, and species of the tree-based fibers used in those products in order to determine if they are derived from endangered forests. An audit may also identify other characteristics of the production and distribution process (e.g. chlorine free or post-consumer content).
The step-by-step accounting of the channel through which forest products are distributed from their forest of origin to the final end-product. It may, for example, be used to trace the origin of pulp used to make paper and paper products, or to follow the handling and manufacturing of lumber to verify the origin of the wood in the resulting end-product.
LONG-SETTLED, FOREST-DEPENDENT, INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY
A community that largely depends upon the forest for its survival and which is primarily composed of the descendants of the original native inhabitants of the territory in which it is located.
PAPER RELATED TERMINOLOGY
Recycled Products are products that have been reconstituted to new fiber. Post consumer recycled paper differs from paper that is labeled as recycled/pre-consumer recycled paper (described below). Often paper labeled as recycled also contains virgin fiber. Recycled paper is often a mix of pre-consumer, post-consumer and virgin fibers.
Agricultural residue refers to usable materials recovered primarily from annual crops as byproducts of food and fiber production.
Agricultural fibers are harvested from non-wood plants that are grown intentionally for tree free paper or other fiber products, such as kenaf and industrial hemp.