Small tree-harvesting operations gang up to get certified

Many small to mid-sized forestry operations are run by folks who value the health of their trees and try their best to be good stewards of the land they own. However, getting official recognition of this fact — in the form of being certified green by the Forest Stewardship Council, a Germany-based coalition with high environmental standards — can be prohibitively expensive. Some timber types are overcoming this obstacle by banding together in groups to be collectively certified. Not only does this reduce the cost for individual members, but it gives them market clout and a way to connect with interested consumers in a business that, while growing, is still relatively small and volatile. There are about 26 million FSC-certified acres of forest in North America, roughly evenly divided between the U.S. and Canada.