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Technical Updates

Monday, 11 September 2017
FSC Seeking Certified Oak Products for Isotope Testing- Your Assistance Requested

Lumber stack- Zena Forest Products (© Zena Forest Products)© Zena Forest Products

September 11, 2017

FSC is pilot testing new methods for identifying the origin of FSC certified products. We are seeking FSC certified oak products for isotope testing; please help!

The parameters are:

  • FSC certified oak product (there is a focus on flooring but any FSC certified oak product is ok)
  • Are claimed to be from North America
  • Were manufactured in the Asia Pacific Region
  • End up on the European, UK or US market

Why does FSC have an oak project?
Almost all Russian-origin Mongolian oak is exported to China, and a proportion of it is manufactured and sold into major western markets as white oak. Only a fraction of this oak is FSC-certified. Analysis of Russian Customs Data showed that the volume of logged Mongolian oak that is actually exported exceeds the volume that is authorized by the government for logging, demonstrating concern for illegal logging. Additionally, DNA tests have revealed some false claims in this product type. This is a clear indication that this timber poses risk and that the supply chain warrants further investigation to ensure the integrity of products with the FSC label containing white oak.

Alongside its partners Agroisolab, Kew Gardens and the US Forest Service, FSC has initiated fiber testing on white oak. The aim of this testing is to identify whether the oak originates from Russia, China, Europe or North America; and where possible, if it’s from FSC- certified forests. The results of these tests will determine the risk of false claims in FSC-certified products containing white oak and will help FSC determine whether immediate and decisive action (including transaction verification) is required to maintain the credibility of the supply chain. These fiber tests are scheduled to commence in 2017 and throughout 2018. White oak reference samples have already been collected in Asia, Europe and North America, and additional samples from FSC-certified forests in the United States, Europe and Russia are sought.

Contact Emily Crumley at 612-812-1447 or for more details.

Thank you for your participation.