Chemical Use and Forest Certification: Productivity and Economic Implications
Forest certification programs provide standards for multiple aspects of forest management, including the use of chemicals for mitigating competition and forest pests. The three most common programs in the UnitedStates—the American Tree Farm System, the Forest Stewardship Council, and the Sustainable ForestryInitiative—all address chemical use. To evaluate relative impacts under different certification schemes, thisresearch estimates productivity and economic implications of a scenario resembling management on nonindustrialprivate forestland. The research compares estimates from a mechanical-only treatment and two levels of chemicaltreatments. Results indicate that strict chemical use restrictions lead to lower levels of forest productivity andreduce potential financial returns. The mechanical scenario generated 6% less volume than the baseline scenario,and the more chemically intensive scenario generated 12% more volume than the baseline. The estimated netpresent value of the mechanical scenario (no chemical use) was 12% less than the baseline.