Forest Home of Lord of the Rings Elves FSC-Certified by the Rainforest Alliance
Lothlórien is “the fairest of all the dwellings of my people,” Legolas says in the Lord of the Rings. “There are no trees like the trees of that land.” Indeed, as the backdrop to Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy, New Zealand’s stunning forests nearly stole the show. Fans may be surprised to learn that Queen Galadriel’s forest dwelling is also a working forest, certified by the Rainforest Alliance to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards for social, environmental and economic sustainability.
The foresters of Lindsay & Dixon, an FSC-certified, integrated timber company based in New Zealand’s South Island, work in some of the most gorgeous native Beech forests in the world. To maintain the health of these forests, the logging area is managed under a government-approved sustainability plan. The Waitutu Holding Company, the local Maori entity that owns the land, and Lindsay & Dixon’s sawmilling and processing operations have all been FSC-certified by the Rainforest Alliance since 2004. To earn FSC certification, forestry operations must undergo a detailed on-the-ground assessment—including input from all interested parties, species inventories, management plan reviews and forests inspections—that confirms their compliance with the FSC’s comprehensive criteria for environmental, economic and social sustainability.
Not only is Lindsay & Dixon the largest supplier of local Beech timber and veneer in New Zealand, it is the only FSC-certified forestry company working in the country’s native forests. “Going back 10 years or so when we first decided to pursue FSC certification it was unknown in New Zealand. There was no one asking for FSC-certified timber at that time,” said Bernie Lagan, managing director of Lindsay & Dixon. “For us it was a personal decision given the nature of our business, with our links to the Maori community and native forestry.”
The company has a 100-year contract with the Waitutu Holding Company to log the 30,000-acre (12,000-hectare) Longwood and Rowallan forests of the Western South Island. Forestry and wood processing are an important part of the economy in the Southland region (which includes the Southwestern portion of the South Island and Stewart Island), where Lindsay & Dixon are based. By employing local Maori workers in its forestry operations, the company has played an important role in the economy after the government ceased state logging of native timber; its Tuatapere-based logging business employs 50, in a tiny town of 700, in plants equipped with cutting-edge technology .
Given the significant increase in demand for FSC-certified wood in green building specifications, the architectural world has been a particular focus for the company in recent years. New Zealand’s native Maple Beech and Cherry Beech timbers—similar to American Maple, Cherry, Birch and European Beech—have a fine, even texture and excellent finishing that make them ideal for architectural projects.
Lindsay & Dixon veneers and paneling now feature in the Supreme Court building in Wellington, where the courtroom atrium is shaped in the distinctive triangular pattern of the native kauri tree.
Under the company’s careful management—and with stunning representation in some of New Zealand’s most important buildings—the country’s native Beech forests should survive for a millennia. In this respect, they’re more similar to Tolkein’s Lothlorien forest than fans may imagine.