Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Compassion and Sustainability

Working to bring compassionate conservation into sustainable forestry

Malawian vervets at LLWC free roaming

The Born Free Foundation, a member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), is working to help protect, conserve and effectively manage the world’s forests to maintain biodiversity and counter climate change.  By helping local people and wildlife departments protect primates, elephants, big cats and other keystone species, Born Free helps maintain healthy ecosystems all over the world for the benefit of both people and wildlife. Through Born Free’s membership of the FSC we are also working to bring compassionate conservation considerations into sustainable forestry.

What is FSC: “The Forest Stewardship Council is an international, non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC runs a global forest certification system with two key components: Forest Management and Chain of Custody certification. This system allows consumers to identify, purchase and use timber and forest products produced from well-managed forests.”

FSC is the kite-mark of excellence when it comes to marketing such products.  But current FSC rules include little provision to ensure animal welfare when managing commercial forests, despite the fact that it goes without saying that forests are both dependent on, and important to, all of the species that live within them. The role of individual animals within a population and ecosystem is strongly dependent on their behaviour and welfare. Consideration of these factors is a critical component in ensuring ecosystem function and therefore forest health and productivity.

Until this came to light, Born Free, as an environmentally responsible organisation, proudly used FSC paper, but stopped using the logo when it became apparent that it seemed to endorse lethal control of vertebrates, including baboons in South Africa.   After careful consideration of the best way to change the FSC policy on ‘problem’ animal control and wider biodiversity related issues, Born Free has now joined the FSC to offer our 30 years’ experience in wild animal welfare and conservation to help work together for a better future.

Background to Born Free’s Motion to FSC, Sept 2014:

  • The provisions of FSC are primarily focused on trees and certain other plant species. However, the forest ecosystem comprises a dynamic web of mutually dependent interactions between animals, plants, fungi and micro-organisms, it is therefore important that sustainable forest management, including forest plantations, should consider all organisms.

  • The role of animals within an ecosystem is strongly dependent on the behaviour, health and welfare of individuals within the population. Consideration of these factors is a critical component in ensuring ecosystem function.

  • Recognizing that the revised FSC International Generic Indicators address the conservation of rare and endangered animal species, this Motion aims to ensure that the management of FSC certified plantations (as well as natural forests and other forest types), where it includes control of vertebrate species that do, or may, cause damage to trees (such as primates, squirrels, deer, koalas, etc.), is in line with widely accepted standards to prevent unnecessary animal suffering.  

  • Many governments and international agreements have legislation/policies in place to ensure high standards of animal welfare. This Motion aims to bring FSC in line with this widely accepted approach to animal management.
Ian Redmond speaking at the 2011 FSC General Assembly
Ian Redmond speaking at the 2011 FSC General Assembly
Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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