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Monitoring & Evaluation

Measuring the impacts of our certification on forests, people and forest management practices is a priority for FSC. Given the broad scope of our work, we rely on several different approaches to assess our social, economic and environmental impacts.

Internally generated data
A large amount of information is generated about FSC’s impacts within the FSC system through certification assessments of forests. Each FSC certified forest management unit must have an annual assessment, resulting in a report that describes the actions the manager or owner has taken to gain, or maintain, their FSC certification. This information can be found on the FSC Certificate Holder database

Independent Studies
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. Examples of existing studies can be found in Monitoring & Evaluation Reports.

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.

ISEAL Alliance
FSC is a member of the ISEAL Alliance, the global association for social and environmental standards systems. Together with other ISEAL members, the Monitoring and Evaluation Program has developed a Code of Good Practice for Assessing the Impacts of Social and Environmental Standards. During the course of 2011, we cooperated closely with other members to further revise the code and related documents. The Impacts Code requires FSC (and other standards systems) to understand the changes they seek to bring about and measure their progress towards those changes.