Saturday, September 10, 2016

Forest Certification and Challenges Faced by the Forest Owners

Abstract of a presentation conducted by
Kalani Nayanthika
Department of Forestry and Environmental Science
University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka

Forest certification is a process which results in a written certification being issued by an independent third party, attesting to the location and management status of a forest. It is a powerful marketing tool and widely recognized as a useful component to stimulate movement toward sustainable management. Forest certification originated in the early 1990s as a means to protect forests from exploitative harvesting.

By certifying the management of certain forests, wood products made from that timber could be labeled as “certified”. It involves assessing the quality of forest management in relation to a set of predetermined principles and criteria. It provides consumers a credible guarantee that the product comes from environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable sustainably managed forests and also ensures that management does not diminish the value of the future forest, nor create hardships for local communities.

Certifying the forest has now become an increasing tread which provides financial, environmental and social benefits.

There are three types of forest certifications called as Forest Management, Group Certification and Chain of Custody. There are also several Forest Certification Programs in the world. The Forest Stewardship (FSC) certification is one of the popular program used in worldwide.

The global FSC standard is comprised of ten principles that cover a range of environmental, social, and economic criteria. Although there are regional variations on how the standards are applied to address the unique needs of forests, peoples, and economies in different parts of the world, the basic tenets remain the same.

From the sustainable practices followed in certification process, several social, economic and environmental benefits can be achieved. There are several opportunities which can be achieved from this certification such as increase image of the product.

There are also several challenges with regard to this certification processes such as difficulties in maintaining chain of custody from forest to the customers, difficult to justify the cost of certification. Most companies are curious or unclear about the benefits and opportunities they can derive through certification, effects from the surrounding areas where there are no sustainable practices and changing standards with time.

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