Natural forests throughout the world are threatened by global demand for forest products which will not only continue, but also accelerate.
Much of the world’s remaining natural forests still suffer from illegal exploitation, poor management and conversion to other land uses, commonly resulting in severe degradation or complete destruction. FSC was established in 1993 to address these concerns.
FSC does not encourage exploration of natural forests, but rather promotes the equitable incorporation of social and environmental considerations when decisions are taken to manage forests.
The FSC Principles and Criteria (P&C) require that forests are managed according to the highest social and environmental criteria including key issues such as consideration of indigenous peoples’ rights, worker’s rights, compliance with international laws and maintenance of high conservation values.
It is particularly important that the FSC standards are met when decisions are taken by societies, industries or communities to further explore natural forests for economic purposes. Natural forests, in comparison to semi-natural forests or plantations, are often distinct in social and environmental relevance. FSC standards provide that these attributes are considered in forest management, and ultimately become valued in the market for forest products.
To withdraw from applying the FSC standards to logging in natural forests, would not end further exploration of natural forests, but only sacrifice a tool to promote equitable consideration of social and environmental issues in forestry, where it matters most. It is in natural forests where FSC standards can result in substantial social and environmental improvements and ultimately support the conservation and long-term maintenance of these forests.