Below are research papers, reports and other literature on impacts, outcomes and effects of FSC certification organized by categories:
FSC’s History and mission:
- Synnott T. The Early Years of FSC.
Personal notes of a founding member and the first FSC Executive Director about the genesis of FSC.
- Bernstein S. and Cashore B. 2004. Non-state global governance: is forest certification a legitimate alternative to a global forest convention? Hard Choices, Soft Law: Voluntary Standards In Global Trade, Environment, And Social Governance.
These international experts on global environmental governance analysis the legitimacy and viability of non-state environmental governance. They argue that the FSC, presented as the most prominent example of transnational certification scheme, meets international legitimacy requirements.
General/ multiple aspects:
- Burivalova Z. et al. 2017. A critical comparison of conventional, certified, and community management of tropical forests for timber in terms of environmental, economic, and social variables. Conservation Letters, 10(1), 4-14.
This review compiles studies to compare the environmental, economic and social impacts among tropical forest management regimes. The authors found that FSC certification brings substantial environmental benefits, including a reduced deforestation rate, some social improvements in the neighboring communities, while it seems relatively costlier than conventional forest management.
- Romero C. et al. 2013. An overview of current knowledge about the impacts of forest management certification: A proposed framework for its evaluation. Occasional Paper 91. CIFOR, Bogor, Indonesia.
CIFOR researchers developed an evaluation framework to help to assess the impact of FSC certification.
- Karmann M. & Smith A. 2009. FSC reflected in scientific and professional literature. Literature study on the outcomes and impacts of FSC certification. FSC report.
To get an idea about views on FSC’s impacts and outcomes on the ground, FSC‘s Monitoring and Evaluation Program reviewed in 2009 independent research from over 180 references, including: reports, academic journals, books and screened analyses by various NGOs.
- Di Lallo G. et al. 2016. Analyzing strategies to enhance Small And Low-Intensity Managed Forests certification in Europe using SWOT-ANP. Small-scale Forestry, 15(3), 393-411.
Through the analysis of FSC audit reports, the authors found numerous non-conformities with criteria referring to social (workers’ health and safety) and environmental aspects of forest management. They conclude that the correction of those non-conformities for getting certified should improve the social conditions for forest workers and reduce negative environmental impacts.
- Peña-Claros M. et al. 2009. Forest management certification in the tropics. An evaluation of its ecological, economical and social impact. Wageningen University.
Researchers from the Wageningen University analyzed evaluation of reports and concluded that FSC certification has large impacts on the long-term sustainability of forest management according to the three pillars defining sustainability: ecological, economic and social.
- van Kreveld A. and Roerhorst I. 2009. Great Apes and logging. ULUCUS Consulting / WWF Netherlands.
This report finds that FSC certification can allow the maintenance of great apes habitats and reduce logging’s harmful side-effects. If correctly designed, logging areas can form the best land-use to supplement protected areas; e.g. assuring connectivity across a network of suitable habitats.
- Morgan D. et al. 2013. Great Apes and FSC: Implementing ‘Ape Friendly’ Practices in Central Africa’s Logging Concessions. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group. 36 pp.
The IUCN confirms what the researchers above stated.
- Tritsch I. et al. 2016. Multiple patterns of forest disturbance and logging shape forest landscapes in Paragominas, Brazil. Forests, 7(2), 1-15.
This long-term comparison of different management regimes on forest disturbance highlights that FSC certification reduce forest disturbance (in terms of canopy opening) due to logging activity.
- Kalonga S. et al. 2016. Forest certification as a policy option in conserving biodiversity: An empirical study of forest management in Tanzania. Forest Ecology and Management, 361, 1-12.
This study shows that tree species richness, diversity, and density are higher in FSC certified community forests than in open-access forests and forest reserves in Tanzania. The authors conclude that forest certification seems to be a good option for conserve biodiversity.
- van Kuijk M. et al. 2009. Effects of forest certification on biodiversity. Tropenbos International, Wageningen, the Netherlands.
Following a literature review aimed to assess the effect of certified forest management on biodiversity in tropical, temperate and boreal forests, the main conclusion is that certified forest management appear to benefit biodiversity.
- Lehtonen E. and von Stedingk H. 2016. The contribution of FSC certification to biodiversity in Estonian forests. FSC Sweden Report.
This analysis of potential biodiversity benefits of FSC certification in Estonian forests show that major impacts concern the promotion of protected areas and habitats mixed forests, native tree species, tree retention, dead wood, and forest drainage.
- Lagerqvist 2013. The contribution of FSC certification to biodiversity in Swedish forests. FSC Sweden Report.
This analysis draws similar conclusions as those from the study above on Estonian forests.
- Cerutti P. et al. 2014. Social impacts of the Forest Stewardship Council certification: an assessment in the Congo basin. Occasional Paper 103. CIFOR, Bogor, Indonesia.
The CIFOR team compared living and working conditions in certified and uncertified forests. They conclude that FSC certification is associated with better working and living conditions, allows the development of active local institutions that foster dialogue between the company and local communities, and that of benefit sharing mechanisms.
- Kalonga S. et al. 2017. Does forest certification enhance livelihood conditions? Empirical evidence from forest management in Kilwa District, Tanzania. Forest Policy and Economics, 74, 49-61.
The authors compare livelihood conditions in FSC certified and uncertified community-forests in Tanzania. Results show that in FSC-certified forests annual average household forest income is higher and that implementation of forest bylaws (a proxy for governance) is more effective than in uncertified forests. They conclude that FSC certification enhances livelihood conditions.
- Breukink G. et al. 2015. Profitability and sustainability in responsible forestry. Economic impacts of FSC certification on forest operators. WWF report.
This study aimed to draw a review on the economic impacts of FSC certification. It concludes that the financial benefits were more important than the costs of getting certified. This advantage was due to price premiums, increased efficiency, and other financial incentives.
- Kalonga S. et al. 2015. Equity in the distribution of proceeds from forest products from certified community-based forest management in Kilwa district, Tanzania. Small-Scale Forestry, 14(1), 73-89.
This study found that workers associated with certified forest communities earned higher income than those in non-FSC forests and had greater income equity.
- Ota I. 2016. Experiences of a forest owners’ cooperative in using FSC forest certification as an environmental strategy. Small-scale Forest Economics, Management, and Policy, 5(1), 111-125.
The authors found that FSC certification has increased economic performance and could thus be a lever to revitalize small-scale forestry in Japan.
Governance and political aspects:
- Carlson A. and Palmer C. 2016. A qualitative meta-synthesis of the benefits of eco-labeling in developing countries. Ecological Economics, 127, 129-145.
This meta-synthesis examines the different types of benefits associated with eco-labeling in developing countries. All producers studied expressed satisfaction with FSC certification, mostly due to governance and social benefits. Especially, three categories of benefits have been detected: learning, government support and empowerment, and reputation, which would justify the costs associated with getting certified.
Knock-on/ spill-over effects:
- Tysiachniouk M. and Henry L. A. 2015. Managed citizenship: global forest governance and democracy in Russian communities. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 22(6), 476-89.
The authors used long-term qualitative data from case studies in Russia to argue that a spill-over effect of FSC certification is the development of “managed citizenship”, defined as a type of citizenship in which local populations gain more power and get involved in long-term democratic, participatory governance.
- Savilaakso S. et al. 2017. Timber certification as a catalyst for change in forest governance in Cameroon, Indonesia, and Peru. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 13(1), 116-133.
This study investigates how the governance regime in Cameroon, Indonesia and Peru has been influenced by FSC certification. It shows that all stages of policy process (agenda setting and negotiation; implementation, and monitoring and enforcement) have been influenced, in addition to forest management practices concerning social and environmental issues.