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World Forest Day

Posted by Stéphane Guéneau on 2 April 2010

The conference on climate change that took place several weeks ago in Copenhagen has once again highlighted the role of forests in the ecological balance of our planet. Deforestation has been recognized as one of the main sources of greenhouse gases. During this year of biodiversity, let us not forget that forests, especially tropical forests, are the main reservoirs of the Globe’s biodiversity.

Despite the obvious ecological impact of the deforestation and the deterioration of forests, governments still are slow to find solutions. Negotiations in Copenhagen reveal the complexity of international cooperation when it comes to such important environmental questions.

Furthermore, in the past several years, non-State organisms have proposed and implemented pragmatic systems that carry out actions in parallel of international negotiation. The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification is one of the systems supported by the major NGOs. It guarantees consumers that the wood and paper products they purchase come from responsibly managed forests. This guarantee is translated by the presence of the FSC label on products.

Since its creation, the FSC has certified rapidly expanding forest surface. There are currently nearly 300 million acres of FSC certified forests. Compared to the 32 million acres of forest lost yearly, as assessed by international organizations, these certified areas could seem unconsequential. However, within these millions of certified acres of forests, forestry management respects current laws and the rights of local populations, paying particular attention to the protection of biodiversity, bettering security and work conditions, etc. All of these elements are documented and are proof of the positive impact of FSC certification.

Stéphane Guéneau

President of FSC-France

[1] See: Karmann, M., and Smith A., 2009, FSC reflected in scientific and professional literature. Literature study on the outcomes and impacts of FSC certification. FSC Policy Series No. 2009 – P001, FSC International Center

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