Effectiveness of forest certification and its role in a conservation policy mix

dc.contributor.authorKaechele, K.
dc.contributor.authorPrimmer, E.
dc.contributor.authorLudwig, G.
dc.titleEffectiveness of forest certification and its role in a conservation policy mixen
dcterms.accessRightsOpen access
dcterms.typeConference Paper
fsc.evidenceCategoryFSC impact-related
fsc.issue.economicBenefits, motivations, reasons for certification
fsc.issue.economicCosts, obstacles, barriers to certification
fsc.topic.politicalBarriers to certification
is.availability.fullTextFull text available
is.contributor.memberForest Stewardship Council
is.evaluation.collectionLiterature review
is.evaluation.counterfactsNot applicable
is.evaluation.notesThis analysis focusses on the limitations and opportunities of forest certification to contribute to biodiversity conservation. It is a literature review and starts with an overview of the different forest certification initiatives, their historical development and the certification process. The most relevant part for FSC is section 2 on environmental, social and economic performance and the institutional context. “Some authors (Brotto et al., 2010; Gullison, 2003; IMAFLORA, 2009; Price, 2003) agree that certification has helped to improve management practices and to conserve forest biodiversity within certified forests in the tropics as well as in other regions where state governance of forest management has faced challenges (Cashore et al., 2005; Keskitalo et al., 2009; Rametsteiner and Simula, 2003). However, the true extent of conservation benefits remains unknown due to a lack of rigorous and independent information. Many agree that certification is not equivalent to full conservation and point at the limitations of certification in reducing deforestation rates.” The authors share some observations on the cost of certification: “The cost of FSC certification is seen as exorbitant (US$ 50,000 – 150,000 depending on enterprise scale), which is especially problematic in developing economies (Schepers, 2010). In general, certification can place insurmountable requirements and costs on communities and small-scale actors, and therefore increases the relative power of large scale operators (Klooster, 2005).” “With regard to the direct costs that result from forest management certification, there is evidence that certification in the tropics is more costly than in temperate or boreal forests for two reasons: First, non-tropical forests are less complex and thus require lower auditing time and preparation, and second, temperate and boreal forests often already have some well-established management procedures in place. Consequently, raising management standards to the required level is less costly. Investors from industrialised countries are usually accustomed to a dense and strict regulatory environment and hence it may be easier for them to comply with rigorous certification criteria (Pattberg, 2005).” In terms of institutional context the authors observe the following: “Case studies have shown that forest certification has been most successful in states which have a conducive forest governance framework which guarantees the enforcement of forest laws; and provide land tenure security (Ebeling and Yasué, 2009; Guénéau and Tozzi, 2008). Therefore, it was found that at present, there are few developing countries where forest certification is likely to achieve widespread success (Ebeling and Yasué, 2009), Actually, this may be one reason for the fact, that currently 87.75% of FSC-certified forests are situated in the temperate and boreal zone and only 12.75% in the tropics and subtropics (FSC, 2010). Tropical countries often lack the infrastructure to facilitate certification and without the assistance of states, incentives to join a private regulatory system may be too weak (Pattberg, 2005).” And once more on the role of the state: “Certification needs the coercive power of governments to clamp down on illegal trading of forestry products (Schepers, 2010).”
is.focus.systemElementMandE outcomes and impacts
is.focus.systemElementMandE performance monitoring
is.identifier.schemeNameForest Stewardship Council
is.identifier.schemeNameProgramme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification
is.identifier.schemeTypeVoluntary Sustainability Standards