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Technical Updates


Monday, 05. November 2012
Near doubling of global plantation area by 2050 will bring challenges, opportunities for FSC according to new Indufor study


A recent independent report by Indufor highlights the rapid expansion of plantations, driven by economic and demographic development and growing wood demand, sees greater diversification of plantation ownership likely in the future, and suggests that growing competition for land will drive land prices higher.


The study finds that in all analyzed scenarios for future supply ‘constantly growing industrial wood demand will continue most likely well beyond the volumes that fast growing tree plantations can supply, even if plantation development is accelerated’. Plantations will be unable, even in the lowest-case scenario with regards to demand for wood, to meet that supply.

This will present a growing challenge for FSC, suggest the authors, as pressure increases to use natural forests for plantations in frontier and other areas. The prospect for increasing sustainable production in natural and semi-natural boreal and temperate forests is higher than in tropical forests suggesting that FSC needs to continue to promote responsible forest management in tropical, boreal and temperate forests.

Complex social conflicts may continue to rise in countries where competition for land resources is high, and FSC can continue to develop its system as a means to solve these kinds of conflicts.

Plantation development, on the other hand, can ‘improve overall environmental performance and increase ecosystem services related to biodiversity, carbon stocks and landscape planning’, suggesting that where the best international practices (like FSC) are applied, environmental benefits are likely to be gained. Furthermore, forest plantations that involve local stakeholders, something which is enshrined in FSC’s Principles & Criteria, provide positive social impacts in terms of improved land management, income, employment, social services and others.

Background to Indufor study, overview of what it entailed.
The overall objective of the analysis was to provide the organization with a better understanding of how this sector is developing and the potential implications for FSC. As such, the results of the analysis are considered an important element to be taken into account in the upcoming development of the new FSC Strategic Plan.

In 2012, the FSC Secretariat engaged Indufor Oy, an international forestry consultancy, to conduct this analysis. These documents bring the main findings and recommendations from the analysis. For more information on the scope of the study, results, method and assumptions, please refer to the Full Report and Executive Summary produced by Indufor.

Independent studies such as these are important to the evolution of the FSC system and underpin the role that robust, objective science plays in informing FSC’s policies and standards. FSC will continue to develop its system to meet the needs of today and find solutions to the problems of the future, and will ensure that the highest social and environmental standards are applied to natural forests and plantations alike.

Executive summary and key findings (PDF)
Full report (PDF)

Please note: this is an external study commissioned by FSC and produced by Indufor. All opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this study are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of FSC.