The American Logger’s Council (ALC) has announced that the Maine-based Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands (TCNF) will lead a national effort to promote the Master Logger Certification program.
During the ALC’s Summer Board of Directors Meeting in Opelika, Alabama on July 29, members of the ALC voted to move forward with a proposal submitted by the TCNF and the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine (PLC) to revitalize and promote the program.
“Loggers have been leading the way in point of harvest certification, and we want the partners in the industry and the general public to know that Master Loggers go above and beyond and that their practices are verifiable by third-party auditing processes,” TCNF executive director Ted Wright said. “Practices that go above and beyond should be recognized and loggers will benefit from the recognition.”
Master Logger is well-known in the forest products industry as a rigorous certification which can only be earned by loggers who are harvesting professionally and sustainably, and adhering to the highest standards of conduct. While it may be generally unknown to the public, landowners large and small are increasingly seeking Master Loggers for harvests on their property, and many end-users of wood are also seeking its assurances that the wood they are buying is being harvested sustainably and responsibly.
In the northeast where the program originated and is quite robust, it operates under the Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands, a 501(c)3 organization formed by the PLC in 2003 to administer the program with the broader goal of “enhancing the health of working forest ecosystems through exceptional accountability” throughout the Northern Forest region.
The decision to have the TCNF lead the effort to revitalize and promote it is a practical one given that its roots are in Maine: in 2000, the PLC created the Northeast Master Logger Certification Program, the world’s first third-party independent certification program for timber harvesters using standards cross-referenced to all the world’s major green certification systems. The program was recognized and adopted by the ALC that year, and since then 18 states have approved templates for implementation of it. It has gained international attention and been adopted in other nations, and was awarded the first-in-the-world SMARTLOGGING Certificate through the Rainforest Alliance.
Long-time PLC Member and TCNF Board Member Andy Irish was one of those who helped create the program. He attended the July 29 ALC meeting, where he pointed to the benefits of a strong branding effort for Master Logger like that which established Angus beef as a premium brand, so that customers recognize Master Logger as a premium product and know what they are getting when they see that name. He also praised the strong ALC support for having the national effort be led by TCNF and PLC.
“I think now is the time and I know it’s going to work,” Irish said. “We made a world-renowned program, it’s finally started to take root, it’s come back home and now we’re going to grow the program.”
The ALC’s national Master Logger Certification program template is built on seven areas of responsibility that meet the performance standards of the program, but allow each state participant to tailor their program based on existing state regulations and forest practices acts.
Under the proposal submitted by the TCNF and PLC, the first year of the effort to revitalize and promote Master Logger will include organizing and meeting with subcommittee members, standardizing the branding and marketing of the program, and providing technical support and outreach to states.
For more information on the Master Logger Program contact Ted Wright at (207) 532-8721 or email@example.com. Information is also available at masterloggercertification.com.
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