Forest management certification in Romania: Motivations and perceptions
Forestland privatization and transition to a market economy triggered important changes in the Romanian forest sector, imposing challenges for forest management structures. Voluntary forest management certification has been considered a possible solution; therefore, the certified forest area has increased rapidly regardless of the land owner. The purpose of this study is to provide an insight into the certification process. It presents the result of a survey applied to 417 forest management structures in Romania, which was intended to identify the perception of their managers regarding the reasons to adopt certification, the changes determined by the certification, the problems during the process, and the benefits. The study reveals the difference in perception among different types of forest management structures. Non-state management structures voluntarily adopted FSC certification, mainly aiming to obtain economic advantages. Most of the respondents indicated important changes in the consultation with stakeholders including local communities, transparency and clear records, the use of chemicals, and biodiversity protection. Although the FSC certification was not perceived as solving issues like illegal logging, there is a general perception that it improved forest management. The study concludes that the FSC certification proves the willingness of the Romanian forest management sector to cope with the market and trends and clarify its position in society.