September 8, 1999


Consistent with FSC definitional guidelines, plantation forests are distinguishable from natural forests by the absence, due to planned management activities, of some or most of the ecological/structural features found in natural forests endemic to Japan. The Evaluation Team must compare the forest operation being evaluated with the structural characteristics of natural forests found in the region. Additional guidance will emerge as the national initiative process of the FSC unfolds in Japan. At this time, there is not an active Japanese FSC Working Group and, as such, no FSC Regional Guidelines for Japan. When a Working Group is formed and it produces Japanese Regional Guidelines, the certification criteria presented below will be revised.

Relative to other regions of the world such as western North America and Europe, distinguishing plantation forestry and natural forest management regimes in Japan is relatively straightforward. Almost exclusively, Japanese plantations are planted conifer stands dominated by one of three principal species: sugi (Cryptomeria japonica), hinoki (Chameacyparis obtusa) and matsu (Pinus species) with other species such as Larix kaempfer, Abies sachalinensis and Picea jezoensis. All of the principal planted conifierous species are indigenous to the Japanese archipelago. However, hinoki and sugi are generally planted outside of their natural range. Although their natural distribution is limited to the North Japan, they have planted all over South Japan for the past century, where soil conditions are conducive. They produce high quality timber, they are subject to no fatal diseases or insects or fungi, they can be planted in high density without degrading soundness of stands, they are very easy to propagate, they have very long life span when alive, and also have very long durability after harvest. In short, there are very few tree species in the world that lend themselves to plantation forestry as do sugi and hinoki in Japan.

Planted conifer stands now occupy approximately 30% of the total land area of Japan and 41% of the total forest area. Over half of the planted conifer stands were established since 1945, but forest plantings date back over 400 years. Ninety-eight percent of planted forests are planted to conifers. Typical plantation silvicultural regimes in Japan entail site preparation, planting, vegetation control (weeding), pruning, numerous thinnings and final harvest at around 60 to 80 years.

Another distinguishing feature of plantation versus natural forest management is the commercial use of the wood products. Whereas most softwood plantations are managed to produce sawtimbers, primarily for residential construction, the most common use of native (hardwood) species is for energy.

If the Evaluation Team determines that the forest operation under evaluation is most appropriately categorized as plantation forestry, the first and pre-emptive test of the potential certifiability of the operation is whether or not High Conservation Value (HCV) Forests were or are being cleared or fundamentally altered in order to establish the subject forest. If so, a "forest conversion" has taken or is taking place and, under FSC guidelines, the operation is not certifiable.(FSC P&C, 9) The following criteria, then, are applicable to operations involving plantation forests that are not associated with such forest conversions.

The following plantation forest criteria, indicators, and scoring guidelines closely parallel those of natural forests. This is because the concept, scope, and parameters of sustainable forest resource management are largely unaltered by the type of forest to which they are applied. The principal differences are associated with the second program element; that is, the interface between the management of the timber resource and the overall ecosystem. Clearly, the ecosystem characteristics of a plantation forest are more impacted and simplified than those of natural forests. The evaluation criteria must reflect the more altered character of plantation forest ecosystems.



With respect to the long-term sustainable management of the timber resource, there is no fundamental difference between natural forest and plantation forest management. The evaluation focuses on the degree to which stands are established efficaciously and managed efficiently. Focus is placed on the progress towards a fully regulated arrangement of stands across the ownership, the ability of the ownership to produce regular annual flows of harvestable timber/fiber, and the extent to which the productive capacity of the forest sites are fully realized over the long run by management design and execution.

Evaluation Teams employ the following criteria pertaining to timber resource sustainability when conducting evaluations in Japan:


A.1. Sustained Yield Plantation Forest Management Planning

This criterion is concerned with the extent to which the operation is guided by well-formulated and properly executed management plans that are customized to the biophysical and social context in which the plantation forest is located and which are updated regularly. (FSC P&C, 7.1, 7.2) See appendix 5 of the SCS Forest Conservation Operations Manual for an outline presentation of suggested elements of a plantation forest management plan.

Japanese private forest management is strongly regulated by the Forest Planning System in which national and regional resource perspectives are elaborated. This System gives establishes general policies and guidelines which lead to restrictions on the allowable range of management actions on private forest lands in order to secure public benefits. In return, landowners that comply with these restrictions benefit from tax advantages or other forms of subsidies.

Field and management indicators around which observations and other supporting data are gathered include:

• clarity of objectives

• baseline planning of resource requirements

• volume regulation and cutting cycle planning (FSC P&C, 5.6)

• species planning and site selection

• plantation layout and planning

• planning and design of forest structure (e.g., roads, bridges, etc.)

• methods for assessing environmental impacts (FSC P&C, 6.1) and monitoring resource conditions and plan attainment. (FSC P&C, 8.1, 8.2, 8.4)

Ideal Performance (100 points)

• Written management plans are comprehensive, responsive to site peculiarities, consider socio-economic factors, are coherently organized and provide a sound tool for guiding the management of the plantation forest operation. Management is enabled by the focused acquisition and use of resource information. (FSC P&C, 4.4, 10.1)

• Where a demonstrable public need exists, the company prepares a publicly available summary of the management plan that provides an overview of management objectives and prescriptions and a forest resource description, without compromising valid issues of confidentiality. (FSC P&C, 7.4, 8.5)

• The plantation forest is designed and maintained as a fully regulated management unit, overtime.

• The purpose of the plantation forest is compatible with the capabilities of the selected site.

• Assessment of environmental impacts is fundamental to the management program, thereby resulting in the minimization of adverse impacts.

Non-Certification Threshold (<80 points)

• Plantation design and/or implementation is inadequate to supply the raw material requirements of the mill to which it is tied.

• Harvest levels systematically exceed periodic growth thereby leading to resource depletion, over time. (FSC P&C, 5.6)

• Harvesting of stands is random and/or opportunistic, thereby abandoning planned harvest patterns. Stands are cut at too young of an age to capture long term productive capacity. Economic requirements exclusively dictate cutting decisions.

• Resource stabilization and recovery plans are not developed after catastrophic events. Subsequent timber salvaging unnecessarily adds to the negative environmental effects of the initial event.

• The FMU lacks an effective and operational monitoring program.

• Management plans fail to consider site peculiarities or socio-economic factors.

• Efforts at assessing potential environmental impacts of planned activities are either absent or fundamentally deficient. The operation fails to provide adequate protection for threatened and endangered species. (FSC P&C, 6.2)

A.2. Plantation Forest Management and Silviculture

Here, the focus is on matters related to stand establishment (including planting stock) and the silvicultural management of the planted stands through to planned harvesting.

Field and management indicators around which observations and other supporting data are gathered include:

• Site preparation practices

• Nursery practices and seed procurement

• Planting practices

• Silvicultural practices

• Efficiency and efficacy of mechanized activities and chemical application

• Forest protection and response to exogenous factors such as blowdown, fire, and pathogens (FSC P&C, 10.6)

• Guidelines for erosion control, road construction and maintenance, and for minimizing damage of harvesting operations. (FSC P&C, 6.5)

Ideal Performance (100 points)

• Over time, the operation achieves the best mean annual increment (MAI) possible per acre for the target species.

• Guidelines are effective and fully followed for minimizing the adverse impacts of management activities.

• The plantation is designed and operated so as to minimize exposure to stand damaging events such as fire and pathogens; mortality is kept to a minimum.

Non-Certification Threshold (<80 points)

• Seedling survival is less than 85%, due to any of the following factors:

- Excessive mechanical site preparation that significantly impacts soils and elevates erosion rates

- Inadequate levels of site preparation

- Non-thrifty seedlings: cheap seed with substantial variety, inadequate disease control

- Stands so inadequately tended so as to lead to significant reduction in seedling growth and/or substantial variation in performance across stands

- Response capability is inadequate and leads to substantial stand losses.

A.3. Plantation Forest Harvesting

The long term viability of plantation forest operations requires that the final event in the life of the planted stands--the "regeneration" harvesting of the target products--be designed and carried out so as to fully capture the growth that has been realized on the site. (FSC P&C, 5.1, 5.3)

Field and management indicators around which observations and other supporting data are gathered include:

• Harvesting system adaptability to site conditions

• Actual (i.e., implemented) harvesting systems as compared to designed systems

• Road system construction and maintenance, including equipment

• Technical, contractual and operational controls over third-party harvesting activities

• Continuity of systems development in response to biological, technical and cost factors

Ideal Performance (100 points)

• Intermediate harvests and the final removal of target products from the plantation occur as planned, with little or no damage to the site and with full capture of the production that the plantation has yielded.

• Roads provide full and unrestricted access to the forest but are not excessive in density or design.

• Within the context of the products being produced, maximum market value is realized. (FSC P&C, 5.2)

• Where appropriate, efforts are successfully made to market diverse products. (FSC P&C, 5.4).

• Salvage harvesting of damaged areas is guided by written resource stabilization and recovery plans. Salvaging does not cause significant adverse environmental impacts.

Non-Certification Threshold (<80 points)

• Shifts in harvesting equipment are rapid and outpace knowledge and ability of operators to minimize site damage.

• Roads are not laid out as planned and not maintained; the road system is a hindrance to efficient management of the plantation forest.

• Inadequate oversight of harvesting leads to substantial damage to coppice regeneration (where applicable) and/or high levels of equipment-related stand or soil damage.

• Contractors perform at substantially lower standards than company crews.

• Harvesting operations noticeably reduce the productivity of future crops (e.g., from residual stand damage or compaction).

• Managers systematically fail to receive full market value for the plantation products. (FSC P&C, 5.2).

• Salvage logging after catastrophic events exacerbates, substantially, the adverse effects of the events themselves.


A.4. Forest Management Support, Research and Development

Efficiently managed plantation forest operations require the active support of research and development efforts in order to keep abreast of emerging technologies. Management, to be fully effective, must rely upon good information about the resource being managed and the likely effects of various management prescriptions. The appropriate intensity or level of research and development is a function of the size of the FMU. In Japan, where the average size of private forest ownerships is very small (less than 3 hectares), the expected level of research and development conducted by the forest owner is not as high as in other regions where land tenure patterns involve much larger FMUs.

Field and management indicators around which observations and other supporting data are gathered include:

• Continuous forest inventory and yield control

• Cost simulations and management alternatives

• Site maintenance control and monitoring systems (e.g., soil productivity, species adaptability) (FSC P&C, 10.5)

• Research and development on silvicultural practices and species trials (FSC P&C, 10.5)

• Research and development on chemical effectiveness and alternatives to chemicals (FSC P&C, 10.6)

Ideal Performance (100 points)

• Chemical use is kept to a minimum; when used, it is applied efficiently and effectively

• The forest owner endeavors to engage in active research and development; the results of this effort are efficiently transferred into the management of the plantation forest

• Management costs are continuously monitored and analyzed so as to provide optimum net returns within the constraints of the resource base

• Forest inventory information enables managers to intelligently manage the resource base.

Non-Certification Threshold (<80 points)

• Forest inventory, or the lack thereof, is not providing adequate information for management

• Management system fails to provide and institute adequate yield controls

• Costs are poorly analyzed, leading to noticeable inefficiencies

• There is no systematic soil sampling to monitor soil productivity, over time

• No auditing/monitoring of soil erosion

• The forest managers don’t keep abreast of and utilize available R&D information developed by other entities

• There is no effort to assess the adaptability of a species prior to its broad-scale use.




A.5. Forest Enterprise Management

The focus of this criterion is on the organizational infrastructure within which the plantation forest operation exists and the extent to which this organization facilitates intelligent and efficient management of the resource base.

Field and management indicators around which observations and other supporting data are gathered include:

• Overall adequacy of the organization and management structure

• Chronological structure of planned plantation management activities

• Education and training by type (formal on-the-job training) and level (managerial and operational) of the company staff and contractors

• Administrative functions such as reporting, record keeping and cost controls

• Management efficiency relating to physical facilities and materials needed

• Utilization and management of third-party and contract labor activities, and;

• Adequacy of the log marking system for assuring clear and accurate tracking of all logs coming from fee lands as opposed to non-fee lands (FSC P&C 8.3).

Ideal Performance (100 points)

• The company can be characterized as an efficient and effective operation that translates to state of the art management of the resource base.

• Management activities are intelligently designed and chronologically sequenced so as to provide for maximum efficacy.

• Third-party and contract activities do not involve a sacrifice in effectiveness and efficiency.

• Employee education and training keeps the workforce on the cutting edge of plantation forest management technology.

Non-Certification Threshold (<80 points)

• Management is unable to cope with the demands of laying out and implementing the chronological series of interrelated activities necessary to establish and administer a productive plantation forest operation.

• Contractors are poorly administered, resulting in sub-par performance.

• The company/forest owner fails to keep even marginally adequate records needed for procurement decisions, taxes, cost containment, etc.

• The company/forest owner does not have a log marking system that accurately tracks and distinguishes fee logs from logs obtained from other sources. The company/forest owenr cannot assure that only logs coming from lands evaluated by SCS would bear a certification stamp, were the operation to be certified.


The focus of this program element is on the extent to which the design and execution of a forest plantation achieves compatibility with the surrounding ecosystems. While, by definition, a plantation cannot provide for the same degree of biological diversity and natural ecosystem dynamics as found with natural forests, it is nevertheless possible to design and lay out on the landscape plantations that possess important ecological attributes that, to varying degrees, can offset the adverse ecological impacts associated with plantations. It is also important to consider plantations within the context of the land uses and ecological health of the sites in which they are located. Whereas the clearing or fundamental alteration of high conservation value forests (e.g., primary forests or very well developed secondary natural forests) to establish a plantation generates substantial losses in ecological attributes (and is fundamentally non-certifiable under the SCS Forest Conservation Program), plantations sited in highly disturbed and degraded areas (e.g. from over grazing or poorly executed agriculture) may generate net positive landscape-level impacts.

Consistent with SCS Forest Conservation Program protocols, the Evaluation Teams employ the following criteria, or their equivalents, pertaining to forest ecosystem maintenance when conducting evaluations in Japan.


B.1. Regional Ecological Integrity as Influenced by Plantation Forest Design

and Structure

This criterion is concerned with the extent to which the plantation forest constitutes an ecological "fit" with the surrounding region.

Field and management indicators around which observations and other supporting data are gathered include:

• Compatibility of design and location within regional landscape patterns (FSC P&C, 10.2, 10.4)

• Benefits and adverse impacts caused by the plantation forest (FSC P&C, 10.2)

• Environmental policies and programs for biodiversity and wildlife management (FSC P&C, 5.5)

• The relative balance of carbon sequestration of the plantation forest

• Use of exotic species and genetically engineered organisms(FSC P&C, 6.8, 6.9, 10.3)


Ideal Performance (100 points)

• Key design elements such as species selection and silvicultural treatments provide maximum possible compatibility with surrounding regional landscape patterns. Diversity provided by the plantation within the regional landscape constitutes a substantially positive contribution to overall ecological health of the region.

• Ecological benefits, including reduced pressure on natural forests, substantially outweigh any adverse impacts associated with the plantation.

• Comprehensive, written policies and programs for assuring maximum practicable biodiversity within the context of the plantation design are developed and faithfully executed. Policies and programs for providing enhanced wildlife habitat attributes within the plantation are designed and implemented.

• Use of exotic species is avoided unless their productivity substantially outweighs that of indigenous species. If exotics are used, such use is carefully controlled and actively monitored such that adverse ecological impacts are avoided.

Non-Certification Threshold (<80 points)

• The plantation is located in an inappropriate site with respect to regional landscape and ecological integrity. No effort is made to incorporate landscape level diversity into the plantation design and siting.

• Adverse impacts of the plantation substantially outweigh any positive ecological attributes.

• No written policies and programs exist for biodiversity and wildlife, or they are not given serious attention in the field.

• The use of exotic species threatens the ecological integrity of the natural ecosystems surrounding the plantation forest.

B.2. Plantation Forest Ecological Sustainability

The focus of this criterion is the extent to which the design, layout and management of the plantation will provide for maintenance of the ecological productivity of the site. (FSC P&C, 6.3) Maintaining soil productivity is an important component of this criterion. (FSC P&C, 10.7)

Field and management indicators around which observations and other supporting data are gathered include:

• Plantation stand level diversity, including but not limited to species diversity. (FSC P&C, 10.4)

• Management practices designed to maintain or improve soil fertility and structure.

• Management practices for mitigating plantation forest site impacts. (FSC P&C, 10.2, 10.3, 6.9)

• Research and development pertaining to environmental and ecological site factors.

• Magnitude of adverse site impacts relative to regional norms for plantations.

• Monitoring and controls for long-term ecological sustainability. (FSC P&C, 10.5)

Ideal Performance (100 points)

• Management practices fully capture all opportunities for maintaining and/or enhancing soil productivity. Erosion is kept to lowest practicable levels during harvesting and log hauling operations.

• The trees species selected for planting provide highest possible compatibility with site conditions and management objectives. The use of exotic species is justified by their clearly superior performance including the absence of risk to the natural ecosystems.

• The management program includes fully integrated research and development, and monitoring, activities that provide managers with up-to-date knowledge of pertinent site factors and the impacts of the plantation forest on these site factors.

• The plantation forest operation compares favorably with all other plantations within the region in terms of the magnitude of adverse site impacts.

• The plantation design provides for maximum diversity across stands or management units, including species diversity.

Non-Certification Threshold (<80 points)

• The plantation is leading to substantial degradation in soil productivity, either through poor design or improper management.

• Plantation forest managers essentially have no working knowledge or pertinent environmental and ecological site factors and there is no system in place for providing information on the degree of impact to these site factors.

• Direct impacts of the plantation forest are not substantially below the industry norm for the region.

• The species selected for planting are fundamentally incompatible with site conditions and/or management objectives. Exotic species are used where natural species would be effective in meeting management objectives and environmental safeguards.

• No effort is made to incorporate diversity into plantation structure and layout; there is relatively little plant species diversity and/or structural diversity such as indicated by the number of canopy layers.

B.3. Watercourse and Erosion Management

No different than natural forest evaluations, watercourse and erosion management issues are especially important in the assessment of plantation forest operations, as watercourse zones generally possess the highest ecological diversity and environmental sensitivity. (FSC P&C, 5.5)

Field and management indicators around which observations and other supporting data are gathered include:

• Adherence to legal requirements for watercourse protection and erosion control.

• Effectiveness of design, installation and maintenance of stream crossing structures. Extent to which roadway design and maintenance minimizes erosion.

• Effectiveness in the design, restoration and maintenance of watercourse and roadway buffer zones.

• Monitoring, management and control of plantation forest soil erosion. (FSC P&C, 10.7)

Ideal Performance (100 points)

• The plantation forest operation is a regional/national leader in protecting watercourse zones and minimizing soil erosion into those zones.

• Watercourse buffer zones represent a substantial component, spatially, of the overall operation and are maintained or restored to natural forest cover of regional ecological value. Buffers are of sufficient dimensions to fully protect watercourses and to provide for the integrity of the forest or other vegetative types that occur within the buffers. Safeguards are in place for assuring the long-term protection of buffer areas from adverse impacts of plantation management.

• The plantation management program includes fully effective monitoring procedures that provide ready information on soil erosion throughout the operation. Forest managers acts upon such information expeditiously.

Non-Certification Threshold (<80 points)

• The operation does not comply with legal requirements on watercourse protection and soil erosion.

• Erosion leads to substantial deposition of soil and organic debris into watercourses, thereby degrading water quality and aquatic habitats.

• There is no effective program for monitoring soil erosion and/or monitoring findings do not lead to remedial management practices.

B.4. Chemical Use and Management

The focus of this criterion is on the extent to which chemicals are used in a judicious and effective manner, thereby enhancing plantation productivity without substantial risk to the environment. (FSC P&C, 6.6, 6.7)

Field and management indicators around which observations and other supporting data are gathered include:

• Adherence to legal requirements and limits on chemical usage (FSC P&C, 6.6)

• Schedule of chemical use and justification for their particular use

• Effectiveness of use (e.g., locational accuracy of application, appropriateness of timing, efficacy of desired results)

• Extent to which silvicultural practices and research minimize the need for chemical use; substitution of less toxic chemicals; application of biological substitutes (FSC P&C, 10.6)

Ideal Performance (100 points)

• Each chemical used is specifically justified for use based upon a comparative analysis of alternative chemicals and non-chemical means for achieving the desired end result. The schedule of chemical application is the result of careful planning that results in minimum frequency and quantity of application to achieve the desired end result.

• There are no areas of non-compliance with legal requirements and the operation's

use of chemicals represents a position of environmental leadership within the

plantation forest industry of the region.

• Operations managers are consistently striving to minimize chemical use by

investigating and adopting management practices that reduce chemical dependency. For instance, site preparation activities are timed so as to require only one application of chemicals to support seedling establishment.

Non-Certification Threshold (<80 points)

• Chemicals are applied indiscriminately and inefficiently.

• There is no discernible effort to reduce chemical use, over time.

• There are substantial areas of non-compliance with legal requirements.


B.5. Ecosystem Reserves Program and Policies

By any reasonable standard, responsible plantation forest management operations require the development and implementation of a meaningful reserve program. (FSC P&C, 6.4) Because of the nature of plantations, the offsetting attributes of reserve areas, appropriately sited within and throughout the operation, are elemental to assuring environmentally responsible plantations. This criterion addresses the extent to which reserves are a key element of the plantation forest operation.

Field and management indicators around which observations and other supporting data are gathered include:

• Adherence to legal requirements for biological reserve systems and protected areas.

• Total area of biological reserve areas as compared to the legal requirements and the

scale of the operation.

• The size and layout of the biological reserve areas in relationship to the general

landscape patterns. The utility of reserve areas as wildlife corridors.

• Company policies and controls, beyond legal requirements, for the establishment

and maintenance of biological reserve areas.

• Management practices within the reserve areas to enhance biological diversity and to

preserve the areas in their most natural state.

Ideal Performance (100 points)

• Reserve areas constitute 20% or more of the total area of the plantation forest

operation and substantially exceed legal requirements.

• Reserve areas are of sufficient scale and landscape pattern so as to provide

maximum practicable habitat value within the overall context of a plantation

forest operation.

• The company has well developed and written policies that effectively guide the

implementation and maintenance of the biological reserve program.

• Management practices are designed and implemented that provide for maximum

practicable biological diversity in the reserve areas; generally, reserve areas are

kept in their natural state.

Non-Certification Threshold (<80 points)

• Less than 10% of the overall plantation operation is dedicated to biological reserve

areas; legal requirements are not met.

• Reserve areas are generally small and isolated, thereby having low habitat and

ecological value.

• Reserve areas tend to be degraded areas and other areas of lowest opportunity cost

to plantation production and are generally ignored after dedication.



Largely, the issues and concerns that comprise this program element are not substantially different between natural forest and plantation forest operations. The same two basic concerns are:

1) The financial viability of the operation. Be it a natural forest or plantation forest operation, or a hybrid of both types of forests, the long-term sustainability and continuity of the operation is fundamentally dependent on its financial viability. The duty of the evaluation team is to assess, to the extent allowed by available information, the financial stability of the organization and the likelihood that financial exigencies may influence the stability of the forest plantation management regime that is in place. To be sustainable, forest plantation management regimes must be financially viable.

2) The socio-economic impact and benefit profile of the operation. Just as with natural forests management operations, the focus in the evaluation of plantation forest operations is the extent to which the operation performs as a "good neighbor" to those communities and stakeholder groups who are either directly impacted or who have a valid stake in the management activities. The key question is the balance and distribution of human benefits versus adverse impacts associated with the subject operation and the extent to which they will be sustained into the future. In the case of plantations located in less developed countries, in particular, the socio-economic dimension may often include the traditional and legal rights of indigenous peoples living in or near the plantation site.

Consistent with SCS Forest Conservation Program protocol, the following financial and socio-economic criteria are employed in evaluations conducted in Japan.


C.1. Financial Stability (FSC P&C, 2.1, 5.1)

A plantation forest management program exposed to cash flow pressures from within the organization (or family, in the case of small, family-owned forest operations) that exceed the levels of net income the program produces will inevitably be replaced by other management regimes that increase net revenues through cost reductions, which in turn undermine the long term sustainability of the management program. Such a situation is inherently unstable and at odds with the standards of certified forest plantation operations.

Financial and organizational indicators considered by the team include:

• Ownership structure and vertical integration, if any, where resource requirements by the processing facility (e.g., pulp/paper mill) may dictate land management decisions and priorities for the plantation forest.

• Security and stability of the ownership structure and the owner’s philosophy with respect to the role of financial considerations in setting management priorities and land management actions, as revealed through historic records or other evidence.

• Cash flow demands of the company/family relating to debt service or capital demands of owners/stockholders.

• The relative financial strength of plantation forestry on the site as compared to other possible land uses of the site.

Ideal Performance (100 points)

• Clear, legal evidence of ownership or concession rights exists for the operation.

• Financial requirements placed upon the management of the land are compatible with the short and long term capability of the plantation forest operation to yield marketable products within the constraints of maintaining ecological productivity.

• Plantation forest management decisions are ultimately driven by resource conditions and requirements and full recognition of environmental constraints rather than exogenous financial demands. The company/family has developed and fully adheres to policies that recognize the precedence of resource stewardship over unfettered financial returns.

• Landowner return on investment is sufficient to support long term commitment to plantation forest stewardship rather than conversion to non-sustainable practices or conversion to other land uses.

Non-Certification Threshold (<80 points)

• The operation cannot establish its legal right to use the land base at issue.

• Financial considerations, such as servicing debt or meeting cash flow requirements, dominate plantation forest management decisions.

• Short-term financial exigencies result in land management decisions that compromise the long-term health and productivity of the plantation forest and /or the surrounding regional ecosystems.

• Management decisions lead to or are a manifestation of short duration ownership patterns; the ownership is or will be actively for sale or is a likely candidate for unsolicited acquisition due to its financial weakness.

C.2. Community and Public Benefits

The focus of this criterion is the extent to which the plantation forest operation under evaluation contributes to economic and social well-being of the most directly affected local communities and the general region in which the plantation forest is located. (FSC P&C, 4.4) The paths of interaction between the subject operation and its affected stakeholders are related to:

• the site selection for the plantation and potential impacts to human habitation patterns

• the sale of wood products

• access to the subject property by members of local and regional communities

• tax payments

• employment from within local and regional workforce

• efforts to support local businesses when making decisions about the sale of wood products or in purchasing decisions (FSC P&C, 5.2).

• corporate contributions and other forms of support to community and civic programs

• involvement of the ownership's employees in community affairs

• recognition of community rights and expectations with respect to the plantation site

In short, the focus of this criterion is on the extent to which the subject operation and employees act as a "good neighbor". In the case of plantations sited in regions where indigenous populations are still present, the concept of "good neighbor" takes on more explicit connotations in terms of respecting legal and traditional land use rights and recognizing cultural values and practices.

Field and management indicators around which data and other supporting data are gathered include:

• Policies and track record in hiring from the local and regional workforce (FSC P&C, 4.1)

• Policies and track record in support and adherence to the rights and economic interests, traditional and legal, of local residents or indigenous peoples, where applicable (FSC P&C, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4)

• Mechanisms for resolving disputes over tenure claims and use rights (FSC P&C, 2.3, 4.5)

• Relative socio-economic benefits to the region resulting from the plantation forest operation as compared to alternative land uses of the site.

• Corporate support to the community in terms of charitable contributions, commitment and encouragement of employee participation, materials purchases, etc.

• Reputation and image of the operation and its employees among local and regional residents

• The extent to which indigenous people are compensated for the application of their traditional knowledge regarding the use of tree species or management systems in the plantation forest operation (FSC P&C, 3.4), and;

• company efforts to keep stakeholders informed on the status of the forest management program and forest resource conditions, through distribution of a public summary of the management plan and annual releases of public summaries of forest monitoring activities (FSC P&C 7.1, 7.4, 8.2, 8.5).

Ideal Performance (100 points)

• The plantation forest operation (including reserve areas), as a source of consumptive and non-consumptive resources and a source of employment opportunity, contributes rather than detracts from the quality of life in affected communities, over the long run.

• Where applicable, the rights and values of indigenous peoples are fully recognized and respected.

• The company/family forest operation and its employees are full and active contributors to the local and regional communities surrounding the plantation forest.

• Through its actions and public statements, the company/family forest operation is an advocate of socially-responsible plantation forestry.

• Where applicable, the company affirmatively seeks to identify any practices that rely upon the application of indigenous knowledge and provides commensurate compensation to appropriate parties.

Non-Certification Threshold (<80 points)

• The operation, through its plantation siting decisions, land management policies, marketing strategies, hiring practices, and community programs (or lack thereof) exhibits a fundamental insensitivity or indifference to the long term interest of affected communities and regional economies.

• The company/family forest operation fails to recognize indigenous and local peoples' customary and/or legal rights.

• Through its actions, the company/family forest operation contributes to deleterious social impacts and, generally, fails to be a good neighbor.

• The company/family forest operation makes no effort to compensate indigenous people for their knowledge and techniques that are being utilized in the plantation forest operation.

• Forest managers fail to provide public summaries of the management plan and periodic monitoring activities, leaving key stakeholders systematically incapable of developing informed opinions as to the management program.

C.3. Investment of Capital and Personnel

To assure long-term viability and sustainability, plantation forestry requires ongoing investment in the management program. Staying on the leading edge of environmentally and socially responsible plantation forestry requires continuous investment in new technologies and management infrastructure, including the workforce. Two principal vectors of investment are: 1) the professional, technical, and field workforce (investment in attracting and retaining competent employees and maintaining the currency of their knowledge and basic skills); and 2) large capital items such as research and development, reserve systems, roads, nurseries, harvesting equipment, silvicultural treatments, and resource protection programs. Sustainable plantation forestry involves active, ongoing investment in the health of the plantation and associated reserve areas and investment in the mechanisms for efficiently producing marketable products at minimum impact to the environment.

Field and management indicators around which observations and other supporting data are gathered include:

• Investment in professional personnel for managerial and supervisory functions within the organization and the expressions of management priorities of managers/supervisors (e.g., policies and strategies for investment in silviculture, research, and environmental) protection.

• Average annual expenditures on nursery production, R&D, silvicultural prescriptions relative to regional industry norms

• Policies and average annual expenditures on timely investment in environmental strategies and training (FSC P&C, 5.1)

• Expenditures and commitment to ongoing employee training and education, including matters related to worker safety (FSC P&C, 6.6) and management plan implementation. (FSC P&C, 7.3)

Ideal Performance (100 points)

• Timing and magnitude of investments in plantation support activities (e.g., nurseries, silvics, resource protection) are sufficient to fully sustain the plantation management program and maximum productivity levels.

• Investments in machinery (e.g., harvesting equipment) and capital improvements such as roads are sufficient to keep the operation at the leading edge of plantation forestry within the regional context.

• The workforce--particularly managerial and professional staff--fully maintains currency with developing plantation management practices and techniques and with the actions necessary to fully implement the management plan.

• The company commits sufficient funds to acquire and maintain land resource information systems that clearly facilitate improved and more informed management.

Non-Certification Threshold (<80 points)

• The productivity of the plantation and the health of the reserve area are being adversely impacted by systematic dis-investment; inadequate R&D, insufficient nursery facilities and output, out-of-date equipment, and an ill-equipped and poorly trained workforce.

C.4. Relations with and Administration of Employees and Contractors

Most directly impacted by the plantation forest operation are those individuals who are either employed or are contracted to work in direct support of the operation. If operations are not sustainable, it is the employees and contractors who are at most direst economic risk. Therefore, employee and contractor policies are the most direct determinants of the social and regional economic profile of the subject plantation forest operation.

Field and management indicators around which observations and other supporting data are gathered include:

• Employee wages and benefits as compared to regional industrial norms and labor legislation

• Employee work attitudes, general morale, and relative tenure of workforce on a sectoral and regional basis

• Opportunities for employee participation in management decisions and company policy formation

• Third-party and contractor relations and magnitude of contractor compensation rates relative to regional norms and minimum income/quality of life standards

• Observance of legal safety standards and company policies on safety as compared to actual safety records

Ideal Performance (100 points)

• The forest operation’s employee compensation package is a regional leader in the industry.

• The company/family forest operation is as concerned with the welfare of contractors operating on their lands as it is concerned with employee's welfare. The decision to contract for field work in not made strictly as a cost reduction measure that is borne by the contract laborer. That is, shifts to contract labor do not result in a reduction in the economic welfare of the affected workforce.

• Employees and contractors can derive a competitive, living wage from association with the company.

• Through policies and practices, the company is an industry leader in long-term commitment to its employees and contractors.

• The forest managers are not autocratic; rather, they seek feedback from employees and contractors in order to keep abreast of emerging information and technology.

Non-Certification Threshold (<80 points)

• The company/family forest operation doesn't pay the social obligation of employees (e.g., workmen's composition, hospitalization).

• Where applicable, contractor or employee work camps are not maintained so as to provide minimum appropriate levels of sanitation and quality of life.

• There is a systematic failure to assure that contractor and employee activities meet legal requirements.

• The company/family forest operation violates established legal rights for employee organizing and bargaining. (FSC P&C, 4.3)