Half of Latvia's state-owned forests lose FSC certificate

In the last six months, four out of eight forest regions managed by Latvijas Valsts mezi (Latvian State Forests, LVM) have been stripped of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificate for responsible forest management. Despite audits being carried out at these regions, LVM opted only for a certificate proving that timber has come from a legal source, reported LTV's De facto Sunday.

Companies working with FSC certificates are pressed to listen to the views of the public and nature organizations over the management of forests.

"The requirements of this certificate talk about real protection of nature, in the forest not on paper. It requires looking after the diversity of nature, about clean water and not leaving grooves in the forest," said Jānis Rozītis of the World Nature Fund.

"Even more - the certificate requires talking with different groups of the public, and it's the substance of the certification," he said.

Map: regions of state-owned forests that are no longer certified.

For the last few years the FSC representative in Latvia was the Council for Certifying Latvian Forests. However the council's representative privileges were recently removed, for reasons not disclosed to the public.

The chairman of the association Māris Liopa had previously disparaged environmentalists, calling them "the so-called greens" and "Latvian saboteurs".

Currently the FSC is represented by a Imants Krūze, who organizes the work of twelve others to work out national standards for FSC. 

Forest owners worry that new FSC standards could create cases where forests can't be cut due to public objections.

"Processes are unraveling that we no longer understand, in which all the interested parties in Latvia are not involved," said Edvīns Zakovics, board member at LVM.

While Krūze said that the international indicators were approved in 2015 and there had been ample time to talk the more pressing matters through.

Latvian law still applies to forestry activities. Environmental activists say that too much logging is taking place in Latvia and that forests are becoming younger and with fewer species.

Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Related articles
Economy
Economy