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SAINT-SÉVERIN-DE-PROULXVILLE, QC, Feb. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - Following an audit process conducted by an independent organization, fifteen forest companies obtained Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for their management practices on two Forest Management Units, FMUs 041-51 and 043-51, covering a total area of more than 1.5 million hectares. FSC certification is considered globally as being among the most stringent responsible forest management standards.

The fifteen affiliated applicants involved in the certification process are companies that harvest from these areas. They are (in alphabetical order): AbitibiBowater Inc.; Adélard Goyette & fils ltée; Bois nobles Ka'N'Enda ltée; Boiseries Savco inc.; Domtar; Emballages Smurfit-Stone Canada inc.; Gérard Crête et fils inc.;

John Lewis Industries Ltd.; Kruger Publication Papers Inc. (Parent); Kruger Wayagamack Inc.; Poteaux Sélect inc.; Produits Forestiers Arbec s.e.n.c.; Produits forestiers Mauricie, s.e.c.; RBF-Scierie St-Tite inc.; and Services forestiers Atikamekw Aski s.e.n.c.

The concerted efforts of the affiliated applicants have been coordinated by Kruger Inc., their designated representative for the certification of these Forest Management Units, while the certification assessment was conducted by the Rainforest Alliance's SmartWood Program. The Rainforest Alliance is the largest certification body accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council.

FSC certification is one step in a process that will continue in the coming year with the fulfilment of the corrective action requests identified in the final report posted on the Forest Stewardship Council's website (http://info.fsc.org). According to the Rainforest Alliance, the certification area is very complex to audit due to the large number of stakeholders, such as First Nations, wildlife managers (Sépaq, Controlled Harvesting Zones (ZEC) and outfitters) and all other users (vacationers, recreational users, local communities, trappers, etc.).

No less than 120 groups and individuals were interviewed by the Rainforest Alliance during the audit. This is also the first FSC-certified area in a Québec public forest that brings together several affiliated applicants in a coordinated approach.

Over the coming months, the affiliated applicants and their various territorial partners will mobilize around the issues identified by the Rainforest Alliance to continue to improve forest management practices in Mauricie. Moving forward, the FSC's policies call for annual or random audits to verify long-term compliance of the applicants' performance with FSC's Northern Boreal Standard.

In addition, the group of applicants continues to move forward with the certification of two other Forest Management Units in Mauricie - FMUs 042-51 and 043-52 -, which should be completed in 2010.

As for chain of custody certification from the mill to the market, it requires a separate certification process to be conducted individually by each applicant.


About the Forest Stewardship Council


The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization consisting of representatives from several spheres of interest, including First Nations and economic, environmental and community partners working together to promote responsible forest management globally. www.fsccanada.org


About Rainforest Alliance's SmartWood Program


The Rainforest Alliance is an international, non-profit conservation organization accredited by the FSC. www.rainforest-alliance.org

For further information: For the affiliated applicants: Philippe Grenier, Superintendent, First Nations and Sustainable Forest Management, Kruger Inc., (418) 365-1202, ext. 227, philippe.grenier@kruger.com; For SmartWood: Alexandre Boursier, Regional Manager Rainforest Alliance/SmartWood, (819) 827-8278, aboursier@ra.org


Extpub | by Dr. Radut