Forestry-Practice Showdown: PALCO v. Humboldt Redwood Co.
With the PALCO/Maxxam days fading into the rearview mirror, how are the new owners, Humboldt Redwood Company [HRC], doing by comparison?
Tobias Schultz of Scientific Certification Systems [SCS] discussed HRC’s forestry report card with KHUM this week.
SCS, often used by the Forest Stewardship Council to ensure sustainability, is the independent forestry auditor hired by HRC.
Read the SCS findings here. It’s crazy, almost unbelievably so. You’ll see a spectrum-defining contrast between the PALCO and HRC. According to Schultz, “HRC is probably the best case in forestry you can get.”
A bit of background on Schultz: he’s a scientist specializing in the Life Cycle Assesments of products, which is the overall environmental footprint of a given product from its construction and use until its eventual abandoment. He was a recent guest on KHUM’s Coastal Currents a few weeks ago, discussing the minutiae of surfing’s carbon footprint, down to the wax on the board. He thinks big about the little things.
Full KHUM Interview with SCS’ Tobias Schultz:
If the SCS results seem dreamy, here’s EPIC’s take:
“The findings presented by SCS comparing the MAXAAM controlled PALCO with the currently operating Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC) confirm that HRC forest practices are light years ahead of what was happening on those forest lands during the Hurwitz years. Though some serious issues of concern remain with HRC, there is no question that the company has made a phenomenal transition from the liquidation forestry of MAXAAM/PALCO. What is more, staff at EPIC have great respect for the manner in which management at HRC is willing to engage with our organization, and other local environmental advocates, when addressing concerns about timber harvest plans and other issues.”
Clearly, HRC’s successes have been made easier by the state of the forest they acquired. Schultz adds that these certification results are unusual.
“Lumber from HRC is about the best product we’ve seen because usually you can’t have actual recovering occurring when you’re making most products. You’re not going to be making the environment better when you’re making a surfboard that just can’t even conceivably happen. What HRC is doing, and they are a special case, is actually causing this recovery -certainly a special case. “
Read the full interview, transcribed below:
KHUM - Tobias Schultz HRC vs. PALCO 8-7-12
Mike: Tobias Schultz, are you with us?
- T.S.: I’m here
Mike Dronkers: Thank you for coming back on KHUM. Listeners might remember you from an episode of coastal currents we did a few weeks ago in which we talked about the environmental impact of surfing, and if you missed that, the boards have a carbon foot print but the nutshell is ‘drive less’. If we were to summarize - that sounds about right, right Tobias?
- Tobias Schultz: Yes, exactly driving was the big impact.
Mike Dronkers: Yes, driving is something you want to do less of. You don’t want to sit and idle in a parking lot watching waves. So then after that interview you said, “by the way I work for Scientific Certification Systems” and if you can tell us what is Scientific Certification Systems?
- Tobias Schultz: Scientific Certification Systems, or SCS, is a company that does a broad set of environmental certifications and we have about 27 years of experience in the field.
What I specifically do with SCS is doing Life Cycle Assessment, which studies the environmental impacts of products from cradle to grave.
Mike: And that is what we talked about with regards to surfboards, manufacturing, wax, resin and all that stuff, but when we talk about Scientific Certification Systems… is that the organization that is sometimes hired by FSC… do you know what I’m getting at here?
- Tobias Schultz: Yes I know exactly what you’re getting at and we do a lot of FSC certifications. It’s the Forest Stewardship Council.
Mike Dronkers: Ok, Forest Stewardship Council. So, they will often hire you and you go on to logging/timberland and what do you look for?
- Tobias Schultz: What we look for are the types of forestry that’s going on. The Forest Stewardship Council certification has a whole detailed set of requirements that really specifies what is meant to be defined responsible forestry. So this certification was initially developed by a group of environmentalist, forester academics, and a wide group of stakeholders to again really define what responsible forestry certification means for the world. So what SCS does is, we will go into a forestry operation and certify it to the FSC standard if it meets the requirements of the standard.
Mike Dronkers: How did you come to work on Humboldt Redwood Company land? Did they ask or where you required to go there for some government audit or what triggered the process?