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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

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February 2002

Certification testimonials

How different companies and organizations view certification.

Natasha Kassulke & Kirsten Held

The Home Depot
Menominee Tribal Enterprises, Inc.
Forest owner associations, cooperatives and land trusts


The Home Depot

The Home Depot, with headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., is the world's largest home improvement retailer with over 1,000 stores and expectations to have as many as 2,300 stores in America by the end of 2004.

In 1999, the company reported sales of $38.4 billion and in February, 2000, it was listed in Fortune magazine's "Top Most Admired Companies." Faced with pressure from a media campaign designed and implemented by the Rainforest Action Network, Home Depot also became the first home retailer in the United States to adopt Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification principles.

The home improvement giant is using its purchasing power to encourage sustainable forest management worldwide. In Home Depots, consumers may find Royal Mahogany doors from a certified forest in Costa Rica and FSC-certified dimensional lumber from Canadian suppliers.

Menominee Tribal Enterprises, Inc.

The Menominee tribe has managed its northern Wisconsin forest for more than 145 years. Today, the Menominee reservation area comprises 220,000 acres of woodlands and is an international stewardship success story.

Menominee Tribal Enterprises (MTE) was formed to log, manage and reforest tribal land as well as to manufacture, sell and distribute forest products. MTE's origin dates back to 1908 when the sawmill was built in Neopit.

Marshall Pecore, MTE forest manager, explains that the majority of stockholders are tribal members who are proud that the Menominee forest is one of the finest examples of forest management in the Great Lakes states. The Menominee markets Green Cross and SmartWood certified products and is the first business in the United States to obtain both certifications.

"Certification was a natural progression for us," Pecore notes. "We thought we might get recognition for it and maybe some economic gain for our long-term commitment."

During the past 145 years, the Menominee have harvested more than 21/2 billion board feet from the land, which is the equivalent of cutting all the standing timber on the reservation twice over. Yet, standing volume of timber today on the land is greater than it was in 1854 when the Wolf River Treaty defined the reservation.

Menominee schoolchildren plant trees for the future. The reservation's thriving forest is a model for good forest management. © Michael Schuessler
Menominee schoolchildren plant trees for the future. The reservation's thriving forest is a model for good forest management.

© Michael Schuessler

Today, about 1.7 billion board feet are in reserve and about 75,000 cords of pulpwood and 14 million board feet of sawtimber are harvested annually. MTE markets the wood nationally and internationally, and the product mix includes lumber, veneer and pulpwood.

Pecore says MTE is waiting to see large economic gain for its certification efforts. In fact, while all of the Menominee forests are certified, Pecore says only about 5 to 10 percent is sold to customers seeking certified wood.

Still, the Menominee's achievements are paying off through market niche sales and by winning the 1996 President's Honors Awards for Sustainable Development.

The Menominee reservation also attracts thousands of visitors annually who learn more about sustainable forest management, manufacturing and marketing. The forest is home to bobcat, bear, eagles, 400 miles of rivers and streams, and more than 123 lakes.

The cornerstone of MTE's forest management is sustained yield, which means forest growth should balance all removals over time. This includes tree removal due to harvesting, wind, fire, insects and disease. Foresters monitor and measure changes in the forest timber volume and growth. An annual allowable cut is developed in 15-year cycles.

"The tribe has a main forestry objective," Pecore says, "to maximize quantity, quality and diversity."

His biggest challenge? Pecore says it is marketing and educating about the need for sustainable forestry management.

For more information call MTE at (715) 756-2311 or the Menominee Forestry Center at (715) 799-3896.

Forest owner associations, cooperatives and land trusts

Cooperative resource management has a strong heritage in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association (WWOA) was born in 1979 through a state grant and is a leader in landowner education with 2,236 members and 13 chapters.

WWOA is an organization where you will meet people with similar interests, while learning about the latest in woodland management practices," says woodland owner Norma Belliveau of Tomahawk.

Over the past several years such grassroots enthusiasm for sustainable forest management has spread in new ways. Forest owner associations, local landowner cooperatives and land trusts are helping private forest owners improve land management.

E.G. Nadeau, coordinator of the nonprofit Wisconsin Forest Owner Cooperation Initiative, helps these organizations get on their feet with leadership teams and action plans.

Forest owner co-ops are owners of nonindustrial private forestland who work together to improve management practices on their land. Depending on a group's goals, some jointly market timber while others have their own sawmills and lumber drying kilns.

Community forest owner associations are nonprofit, service organizations. They focus on neighbors sharing information and helping one another.

Land trusts are another forest owner group. Trusts are formed to accept some rights a landowner may wish to donate or sell. The rights that transfer may include development rights or control over how timber is managed or harvested. Wisconsin is home to over 40 land trusts that protect and manage about 80,000 acres.

Nadeau notes that what all these groups – co-ops, associations and land trusts – have in common is a focus on local communities and strength in working together. A number of them have formed with various sizes and amenities.

These cooperatives also are a way to learn about the ecosystems that extend beyond their own property. Nadeau notes that many of these groups advocate forest certification programs in addition to meeting the DNR forest stewardship requirements to assure that sustainable management techniques are being employed.

Call (608) 262-0705 or visit UW Center for Cooperatives to order a copy of a guide, "Balancing Ecology and Economics: A Start-Up Guide for Forest Owner Cooperation."