Timber certification as a catalyst for change in forest governance in Cameroon, Indonesia, and Peru

dc.contributor.authorSavilaakso, S.
dc.contributor.authorCerutti, P.O.
dc.contributor.authorMontoya Zumaeta, J.G.
dc.contributor.authorMendoula, E.E.
dc.contributor.authorTsanga, R.
dc.titleTimber certification as a catalyst for change in forest governance in Cameroon, Indonesia, and Peruen
dcterms.accessRightsOpen access
dcterms.bibliographicCitationSavilaakso, S., et al., 'Timber certification as a catalyst for change in forest governance in Cameroon, Indonesia, and Peru', International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 116-133.en
dcterms.typeJournal Article
fsc.evidenceCategoryFSC impact-related
fsc.focus.forestTypeNatural Forest
fsc.focus.sustainDimensionPolitical, legal, systemic
fsc.subjectSustainable Development
fsc.subjectEnvironmental Certification
fsc.subjectRisk mitigation / management
fsc.subjectSupply chain benefits
fsc.subjectNeoliberal Environmental Governance
fsc.subjectTrans-national Institutions
fsc.subjectPlantation Working Group
fsc.topic.politicalNational Forest Policy
is.availability.fullTextFull text available
is.contributor.memberForest Stewardship Council
is.evaluation.collectionCase studies
is.evaluation.dataSourceIndependent researcher data
is.evaluation.notesIn this paper we discuss interactions between public regulations and private certification that affect how forests are managed in three tropical countries: Indonesia, Cameroon, and Peru.' There are interesting tables comparing national regulations with national FSC standards for the three study countries, demonstrating how FSC requirements go beyond national level public regulations.
is.evaluation.quotesCase study results from Indonesia, Cameroon, and Peru indicate that certification influences all stages of the policy process: agenda setting and negotiation; implementation, and monitoring and enforcement. Results also suggest that certification introduces positive changes in management practices and improves social and environmental performance. However, its influence in attaining broader-scale sustainability is limited by a low level of uptake, notably in tropical countries where the costs of getting certified and maintaining certification are high and the certification criteria are rather complex, as well as by some of its inherent characteristics, as it can only solve problems at the forest management unit level.
is.evaluation.quotesHowever, FSC does not exist in a vacuum but on territories where public and private policies on forest management interact (the forest management unit), which makes it often difficult to establish a clear causal path as to what impacts are attributable to specific process.
is.evaluation.quotesMany acknowledge the positive impacts that the FSC has had on international standard setting since the 1990s, particularly the increased legitimacy of third-party-audited products on the world's markets, and on public policies in general (Overdevest & Zeitlin 2014). Scattered evidence also suggests that localized positive impacts exist in or around certified forests (Durst et al. 2006; Espach 2006; Schulte-Herbrüggen & Davies 2006; Auld et al. 2008; Van Kuijk et al. 2009; Damette & Delacote 2011; Cerutti et al. 2011b; Nasi et al. 2012).
is.evaluation.quotesFor example, in Indonesia FSC certification and other voluntary certifications have influenced the development of legality verification (SVLK) standard, thirdparty audit requirement and auditor perception on good forest management practice or raising the bar of the SVLK/PHPL standard due to the better auditing skills of auditors obtained from the FSC certification auditing training and experience. Similarly, FSC certification has contributed to progress in forest governance by improving transparency and community participation, public consultation, building trust among stakeholders, and providing more space for NGOs and civil societies (Muhtaman & Prasetyo 2006; Cerutti et al. 2014; Ruslandi et al. 2014).
is.evaluation.quotesFSC certification has also introduced changes in management or monitoring practices that cover the social and environmental issues faced by the countries over the years. Such issues were largely mentioned in the existing public regulations (mainly stemming from the 1992 Rio Conference), but they were rarely enacted. This is because forest operations, although managed through an approved management document, remained largely focused on timber extraction and on the control of extraction rules for larger financial benefits. Broader environmental and social issues were (and still are) not considered in the curricula of forest officials, and thus they were not verified or monitored in daily operations. FSC certification has pushed those topics on the national agendas with the help of certification advocates such as NGOs and donor countries (see below).
is.evaluation.quotesbut there is no doubt that forest officials in selected countries are more at ease today with concepts such as redistribution of benefits, social inclusions, conflict resolution, or HCVF than they were a decade ago, when certification was not as diffused as today.
is.evidenceSubTypeEmpirical study - no control, data collected post-intervention
is.evidenceSubTypeSynthesis products
is.evidenceSummaryThis 2017 paper looks at the contribution of certification to sustainability in Cameroon, Indonesia and Peru, as well as the interactions between public governance and certification that affect how forests are managed. The case studies are based on interviews, literature reviews, forest statistics and fieldwork. Resource available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( To access full article click here:
is.evidenceTypeBriefing or opinion
is.evidenceTypeEmpirical study
is.focus.productsTimber products
is.focus.sdgSDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
is.focus.sdgSDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
is.focus.sdgSDG 12 - Responsible Production and Consumption
is.focus.sustainIssueConsumers and supply chains
is.focus.sustainIssueForests and other ecosystems
is.focus.sustainIssueParticipant costs and benefits
is.focus.sustainIssuePlant and wildlife conservation
is.focus.sustainIssueRights of indigenous peoples and local communities
is.focus.sustainIssueWages and workers' rights
is.focus.sustainLensRisk mitigation / management
is.focus.sustainLensSupply chain benefits
is.focus.sustainOutcomeCommunity development and infrastructure
is.focus.sustainOutcomeForced or bonded labor
is.focus.sustainOutcomeHabitat for plants and wildlife
is.focus.sustainOutcomeHabitat fragmentation or connectivity
is.focus.sustainOutcomethreatened and endangered species
is.focus.systemElementMandE outcomes and impacts
is.focus.systemElementMandE performance monitoring
is.identifier.schemeNameForest Stewardship Council
is.identifier.schemeTypeVoluntary Sustainability Standards
is.item.reviewStatusPeer reviewed
is.journalNameInternational Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services and Management