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FSC Produces Positive Environmental Impacts – University Research

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

© 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 contributed 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 faced limitations as, for example, most available studies only focused on the tropical forests and FSC, and just a few studies concentrated on other forests and FSC competitors. Yet, the authors established that FSC had positive impacts, especially on fauna species richness. 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 had 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.


Keeping up with all the latest information about forest management and certification can be difficult. That’s why we collect it for you in our newsroom. The newsroom is where you’ll find news from FSC, as well as information about developments in the wider forestry industry. It’s also home to The Root of the Matter, the monthly blog from FSC Director General Kim Carstensen.