FSC Audit – June 25, 2012
Stephen C. Crado, Ph.D.
Department of Forestry at Mississippi State University representing the Rainforest Alliance Smartwood program which does the 3rd party editing for FSC certification.
Each year someone from the Rainforest Alliance Smartwood program comes to perform an audit of Hickman Timber Management Co., and follow the Chain of Custody (COC) through Hickman Lumber and Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring. The auditor creates a report which presents the findings of his evaluation of our company systems and performances against the FSC forest management standards and polices.
All of this information from this report will then become public and available through the FSC website. http://info.fsc.org/ Check it out for yourself
(This year’s report won’t be up now, but you can check out the previous reports. – At this page all you need to do is type in HICKMAN in the company name and all the companies will appear).
Steve came early Monday morning and we sat with our foresters and talked about what the plan was for the day while enjoyed some Clarks doughnuts from the local bakery. He wanted to see 4 or 5 different timber stands and see how everything was being managed. We have an individual management plan for each stand that he reviews and checked out while we were in the woods.
We went to the property where we are currently doing the logging with the horses and Steve talked with him privately to talk with him about any of his training, qualifications, and checking to be sure Hickman Lumber was doing everything needed as well. A big part of the FSC is fair treatment with the employees and contractors as well as the community aspect.
We went to a variety of different sites and he was checking the tree markings, the road layouts, how the harvest activity was taking place, if we had E&S (Erosion & Soil Plan) set up, etc. He was very impressed with our timber stands and the amount of oak regeneration that we have.
Regeneration is what it’s all about. Trees for Tomorrow!
In our 13 years of our membership each audit they typically find something that needs corrected, like the foresters not wearing seat belts, or checking with any indigenous people about scared land we are using. Compliance and Applicable Corrective (CAR) is what they call these actions which need corrected. We’ve never had to change our actual management practices, but typically they find something little. This year has potential to be our first CAR free year!
CAN YOU LOSE YOUR FSC CERTIFICATION?
I was curious about what would have to be done for a company to lose their certification and someone would really have to mess up and not take any action to correct whatever they did that caused them to get a major CAR. If a minor CAR is issued then they typically a year is given to the company in order to correct it and then if that is failed to be corrected a major CAR would be issued and that could lead to the loss of one’s certification.
Our auditor seemed very impressed with everything.
Everyone in the office had the paper work all put together for the COC section and things were very smooth and organized. All of the trees from the FSC managed forests are tracked and the total amount of lumber from each species are all tallied and marked as it goes through the sawmill and the flooring plant.