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Independent Studies
Research by universities, institutions and other organizations

FSC both promotes and follows independent research and case studies carried out by universities, research institutions and other organizations.

These studies include a wide variety of information types: analyses of certification reports and corrective action requests; ecological field studies; socio-political case studies; and economic analyses of timber markets. FSC provides researchers with access to information and contacts; and networks with researchers through individual contacts and conferences. Examples of existing studies can be found in Monitoring & Evaluation Reports.

Because researchers approach their studies using very different methodologies, it is difficult for us to use and compare results from different studies.

The Monitoring and Evaluation Program works to facilitate more aligned and comparable approaches to impact assessment.

In 2008, a review of more than 300 research papers revealed strong evidence that FSC has a positive impact on forest management in many social, environmental and economic ways. There are a number of specific areas on which FSC would welcome external research inputs and collaboration.

Together with the Social Policy Program, the Monitoring and Evaluation Program has identified the following priority areas for research:

  • direct and indirect cost-savings experienced by operations that switch from normal to SLIMF (small and low-intensity management forests) certification
  • potential synergies between FSC certification for smallholders and REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation)
  • costs and benefits of dual-certification schemes (eg. FSC and Fair Trade) and their success in the marketplace
  • costs and benefits of contractor certification and its potential impact on the certification system

We also encourage case studies on:

  • impacts of certification on the safety of forest workers
  • impacts of certification on Indigenous land rights
  • impacts of certification on economic diversification (e.g. incorporating other revenue streams from forests e.g. non-timber forest products)
  • social, financial, environmental and institutional impacts of certification on SLIMFs and communities.

FSC’s Monitoring and Evaluation Manager welcomes the submission of any research papers related to FSC certification an processes. Please contact m.karmann at fsc point org.