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Thursday, 24 January 2019
FSC produces positive environmental impacts – university research

(© (c) FSC GD / Vlad Sokhin)© (c) FSC GD / Vlad Sokhin

FSC certification produces positive environmental impacts overall compared to non-certified forestry operations, a literature review from the University of Wageningen confirmed.

Strong positive impacts were particularly reported for fauna. FSC certification helped to preserve animal species, including some listed as endangered and vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Erica Di Girolami and Bas Arts from Wageningen University recently published Environmental impacts of forest certification. The researchers analysed 31 papers studying the environmental impacts of FSC in the three different types of forests: boreal, temperate and tropical. Environmental impacts on fauna, flora and ecosystem services were examined.

The study did face some limitations; for example, most available studies only focused on tropical forests and FSC, with only a few studies concentrating on other forests and FSC competitors.

Nevertheless, the authors were able to establish that FSC has had positive impacts, especially on the richness of fauna species. Reduced impact logging practices in FSC-certified concessions played an important role in maintaining species richness, along with other factors such as strict hunting regulations within these zones.

Impacts on flora and ecosystems services were generally considered positive as well, though less prominently than for fauna. For example, in Indonesia, FSC-certified concessions experienced a reduction in air pollution by 31 per cent on average between 2000 and 2008.

Some studies showed that FSC also succeeded in halting or reducing deforestation in forestry operations in some cases in tropical forests. These positive results were found in comparison to conventionally logged forests and protected areas.

Studies in temperate forests showed, for example, that FSC certification of cork oak woodlands in Portugal fostered oak regeneration, and contributed to preserving high plant diversity in conservation areas and in streams.

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