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Technical Updates

Thursday, 12 March 2020
FSC Support Is Available for Pesticide Policy Implementation

By Justin Meier

(March 2020 Update)

Pesticides are commonly used in forest management to control weeds, insects, diseases, and invasive species[1]. As with other, more intensive and/or extensive uses of pesticides in industries (e.g., agriculture), forest pesticide use presents risks to non-target resources, species, and people. FSC is committed to managing, mitigating, and eliminating these risks.

In 2019, FSC published a revised Pesticides Policy (FSC-POL-30-001 V3-0) as part of its commitment to reducing and eliminating the harmful effects of highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs). The policy recognizes that pesticide use is an integral part of modern forest management and standardizes how FSC certificate holders identify, assess and mitigate risks associated with pesticide use. This will be done through the development of environmental and social risk assessments (ESRA) that, as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) system, will result in identification of the most environmentally and socially responsible pest control strategies.

FSC US staff immediately saw that certificate holder support would be needed for the new Policy to be successful, particularly through the development of ESRAs. To help certificate holders achieve compliance, staff are developing national-level ESRAs for commonly used forest pesticides across the US. These national-level ESRAs will help certificate holders identify and mitigate risks associated with specific pesticides and facilitate their progression to conformance with the revised Pesticides Policy. The first ESRA drafted is for glyphosate, and we are now conducting targeted consultation on it. The full set of national-level ESRAs will be available to certificate holders in May 2020.

FSC International recently published draft International Generic Indicators for Use and Risk Management of Highly Hazardous Pesticides for public consultation. We encourage FSC members and other stakeholders to participate via FSC’s Consultation Platform. Consultation responses are accepted through April 1st, 2020. More information about the FSC Pesticides Policy can be found at the FSC US Pesticides Policy webpage.

The FSC US team is glad to support certified forest managers as they continue to practice responsible forest management with FSC. Please contact Justin Meier, FSC US Policy and Standards Manager, for more information or to request a copy of the draft national-level ESRA for glyphosate.

[1] Michael, J.L. 2001. Pesticides Used in Forestry and Their Impacts on Water Quality. In:Proceedings, 53rd annual Southern Weed Science Society meeting: 2000 January 24-26. Tulsa, Oklahoma. Champaign, IL: Southern Weed Science Society. 81-91.