Asking forest stewards to practice regenerative forestry without some form of certification is like asking the contractor to build a house without a tape measure. However in the nearly thirty years since Hyla Woods first became certified under the Forest Stewardship Council program, the concrete benefits to our economic profitability have been elusive at best. In hindsight, we should have anticipated this. Over time, in an effort to boost market share, FSC standards have eroded. At the same time wood comes on the market that is strategically grown to the absolute minimum of the FSC standards. Given these dynamics it is understandable that those of us who set a forestry standard that is well above the FSC standards will have an increasingly tough time competing in these “race to the bottom” markets.
A recent Tedx talk by our friend Connie McDermott, who works on these topics as a professor at Oxford University, sheds light on alternative approaches that aim to address these problems and build stronger incentives for good forestry. We found it provocative and you may too.
Here is a short video outlining the app that they are developing: http://youtu.be/1ZoX9SdYgqk
In this vein, here is an example of a process that is helping to better link producers and consumers: http://thisforest.info/