EconoSTATS Managing Editor Donald Rieck and Contributing Editor Wayne Winegarden appear in Letters to the Editor on Oregon Live.
The Aug. 25 editorial “LEED vs. Oregon wood industry” correctly highlights the problems being created by blindly obeying the requirements for LEED certification.
As the editorial noted, the LEED program recognizes only Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification programs. A recent EconoSTATS study reviewed the economic impact of forcing landowners to meet FSC standards here in Oregon and in Arkansas.
Our results found that compared with the other certification programs — the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and American Tree Farm System (ATFS) — forcing Oregon foresters to recognize only the FSC certification would cost more than 31,000 jobs and reduce severance tax revenues by more than $6 million.
Because of lower FSC standards internationally, strict adherence to the FSC program would also cause global environmental damage.
Our work illustrates that competitive certification programs are necessary to ensure that forestry development is sustainable — both economically and environmentally.
Rieck is director of EconoSTATS, a project of George Mason University in Virginia.
Winegarden is a contributing editor for EconoSTATS.