The mission of the Center for Forest and Wood Certification is to build forest and wood certification capacity by providing information, technical assistance, and mechanisms for landowners, loggers, and forest products industries to participate in certification in a sustainable and affordable manner.
The Center for Forest and Wood certification is focused on building certification capacity in the region, enabling the private sector to effectively participate and benefit from certification in the region. The Center provides education and training programs, technical assistance, group certification, and certification management. Functionally the Center is a certification incubator building expertise and technical prowess of those participating with the Center so they can make informed decisions about their long-term involvement with certification. The Center is also focused on determining and documenting the tools that work to enable certification, obstacles to certification, and is geared-up to develop market solutions to help those interested in participating in forest and wood certification.
The Center is focusing on certification efforts in Kentucky,Tennessee, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Virginia, and Missouri. The Center is directed by managing partners with input from stakeholders, and supported by sponsoring partners. Participants in Center programs include family and industrial forest owners, certified loggers, foresters, and primary and secondary forest industries involved in producing certified wood and wood products. The Center is focused on developing solutions for problems that impede industry and landowners that are interested in benefiting from certification. A sample of the more important impediments includes:
- cost of certification including initial, annual, and periodic audit cost
- initial costs and risks associated with exploring certified wood markets
- lack of knowledge and educational resources and materials
- lack of local certified lands and wood supply for industries
- lack of incentives for forest and woodland owners to become certified
These problems are not unique to the region. However, solutions exist and the Center’s focus is to develop procedures to overcome these barriers in a manner that enhances the private sectors ability to access markets for certified wood and wood products and provide landowners with viable certification options.