A majority of Southern Pine producers responding to a recent Southern Pine Council survey don't have green certification for their forests now and nearly half don't plan to do so, despite getting regular requests for certified products and feeling it's important to market Southern Pine's green qualities.

The cost of certification appears to help explain the dichotomy, said an official from the Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA), which conducted the survey and received 18 responses from the roughly 50 members solicited. The average cost to get and maintain certification totaled nearly $20,000, SFPA said, citing another survey conducted by Random Lengths.

The SFPA said its poll of Southern Pine Council members found that 61% of respondents don't use a certification system now, and 46% of the entire group polled don't plan to seek certification any time soon. Meanwhile, roughly 60% of the producers said they get regular requests for certified products, and 89% "feel it is important to market Southern Pine lumber as a 'green' product," SFPA said in a news release issued July 20. The release didn't say when the survey was conducted or how many respondents there were.

"Based on the numbers we are seeing from the surveys, the feelings of the wood products industry toward certification is a mixed bag," Russell Richardson, SFPA's director of industrial markets, said in a statement. "They like the fact that they are being environmentally conscious. They also have to balance their investment in certification in order to maintain a viable business model.

"Certification is now just over 15 years old," Richardson continued. "The era of green building has significantly accelerated the demand for certification throughout the lengthy wood products supply chain. Watch green building closely, just as new building construction affects demand of traditional wood products, green building construction will affect demand of certified wood products."

The Southern Pine Council is a joint promotional body coordinated and supported by producing members of SFPA and the Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association.