Forest Certification is important component in trade of sustainable forest products or promoting trade in legally harvested forest products. It plays a great role in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. It improves conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. In this paper I tried to overview role of forest certification in Sustainable Forest Management. Forest Certification contains different criteria and it is a market-based mechanism which provides a link between producer and consumer of forest products. It enhances social, economic, environmental and cultural aspects, but this enhancement may not be the same in all region/country
Forests have a variety of benefits which includes regulate water cycle, stabilize the Soils, moderate climate through storing carbon dioxide, provide habitat for diverse of flora etc. There is widespread evidence from the developed world for forest transition from shrinking to an expanding forest area .To have these benefits of forests the forest should exist sustainably throughout the generation, but there is failure in sustainable development because investment in forestry sector is relatively limited, but agricultural investments that affect forests largely through forest clearing are common place . Forest certification is an attempt to identify forest land that is well managed towards a goal of sustainability. Sustainability in this concept includes the ecological, economic, and social aspect of managing forest . It was introduced in the early 1990s to address concerns of deforestation and forest degradation and to promote the maintenance of biological diversity, especially in the tropics. It shares the aim of promoting sustainable forest management with another tool, namely criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management.
The sustainable forest management approaches try to consider institutional reformation and commercialization of forest products and give special recognition and market opportunities to products originated from well managed forest areas to encourage conservation and even enhance forest level. One tools of such value is forest certification . The Forest Stewardship Council provides both sustainable forest management certification and chain-of-custody certification, although the latter presupposes the former. As of January 2004, it had issued only 116
certificates for forest holdings larger than 50,000ha, but these
accounted for 89.2% of the Forest Stewardship Council certified area. It had certified 451 forest holdings smaller than 50,000ha by 2004, an increase of nearly 60% since the end of 2001 .
Landowners who were certified under either Sustainable Forestry Initiative (or Forest Stewardship Council had significantly effective and stronger biodiversity practices than landowners not certified . Forest Certification is a Trade of sustainable forest products or promoting trade in legally harvested forest products. Forest Certification is given attention because of its role in reducing emissions from deforestation, forest degradation, conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries . Certification can be an important driver in the transition to a greener economy. Shifting public and private investments towards more sustainable forest management can also create new export opportunities for developing countries this shift will minimize the trigger of deforestation and forest degradation. Generally, in this paper I tried to overview role of forest certification in Sustainable Forest Management.
According to , Sustainable forest management as a dynamic
and evolving concept aims to maintain and enhance the
economic, social and environmental value of all types of forests,
for the benefit of present and future generations. It is characterized
by seven elements, including:
a) Extent of forest resources;
b) Forest biological diversity;
c) Forest health and vitality;
d) Productive functions of forest resources;
e) protective functions of forest resources
f) Socio-economic functions of forests; and
g) Legal, policy and institutional framework.
According to , forest certification is a way to verify whether
forests are well managed based on a combination of economic,
social and environmental indicators. Certification is a market-
based mechanism which provides a link between production
and consumption of forest products. Like food labels such as
organic, forest certification labels communicate to consumers
how a product was made, enabling consumers and businesses
to make purchasing decisions that benefit people and the environment.
For forest owners and managers, certification is a voluntary
way to gain market recognition by committing to good
forest management practices.
Many studies broadly indicate that there has been much debate
research on forest certification impact. In many cases the
research has been based on secondary data sources, such as
Forest Stewardship Council reports, with very few field studies
of impacts . Tools to facilitate the sustainable development
have emerged for two basic reasons; - first the people should use
the resource and the utilization should be sustainable, second
the utilization of resource should be environment friendly .
The most well-respected international standards for sustainable
forest management were developed by the Forest Stewardship
Council, an independent, nongovernmental, nonprofit organization
established in 1993 to promote the responsible management
of the world’s forests. Forest Stewardship Council forest
certification standards consists principles that are meant to ensure
that forest management is legal according to national and
international laws, respects the rights of workers and indigenous
people, limits negative environmental impact and protects
areas in the forest that are culturally significant or are habitat for
endangered plants or animals .
There are also certification schemes which primarily focus
on the sustainable use and conservation of forest ecosystems
and their biodiversity. Agricultural sustainability Network is a
coalition of independent non-profit conservation organizations
that promote the social and environmental sustainability of agricultural
activities by developing standards. Rainforest Alliance
holds the Standards & Policy Secretariat for Sustainable Agriculture
Network. Both, Sustainable Agriculture Network and Rainforest
Alliance are dedicated to protecting rainforest and other
ecosystems and the people and wildlife that depend on them.
Their sustainable agricultural standard states that “Natural
ecosystems are integral components of the agricultural and rural
countryside. Carbon capture, crops pollination, pest control,
biodiversity and soil and water conservation are just some of the
services provided by natural ecosystems on farms. Certification
processes have generally helped to raise the public image of the
indigenous forest community and legitimize their rights to their
Forest certification important for forest management and
achieves a market premium for certified logs.  assert that a
frequent outcome for certified community forestry enterprises
has been improved administration and governance. There is a
significant increase in number of companies which own the certificate
and were interested in buying raw material coming from
sustainably managed forest. Especially high-quality hardwoods
destined for the export market achieved a price premium of 27%
to 56%. Lower quality timber obtained a price premium 2% to
30% . An export sale also has been expanded and certificate
allowed the owner to become more attractive on foreign market.
Certification is not economically feasible because of high
costs of management procedures. The main direct costs of forest
management certification are the payments to the certification
body. Relatively higher are costs for tropical forests than temperate
forests, partly because many certifiers are in temperate
countries and partly because tropical forests are complex both
ecologically and socially.
As consumers, businesses and governments become more
concerned with their environmental foot prints; markets for certified
forest products continue to grow . The main economic
benefit of certification is perceived price premium and market
access. But this advantage has rather short term run if the supply
of certified products increases. Nevertheless, this is a main driver
(problem) for some pioneers of certification, especially in the
tropics However, in case of tropical timber for which demand is
still very high and even exceeds supply in some export markets.
In the case when certification became a basic requirement for
timber suppliers in some markets and market segments buyers
may not be willing to pay any extra for certification although
certification adds value to the product and gives evidence of the
environmental quality of the product. The enterprises are often
unable to meet expected market benefits because of barriers in
export channels. Therefore, benefits which they can find are indirect
such as improvements in administration and management
Forest certification has both opportunity and limitation in
addressing sustainable forest management. Certification can
enhance social, cultural, economic and environmental aspects,
but this enhancement may not be the same in all region/country.
Many studies indicated that Forest certification improved
sustainable forest management; with the greatest contributions
to environmental protection, add values to forest product, increased
number of companies for certified products, improved
livelihood of forest dependent people, secure land tenure system,
and reduce conflict in resource use. However, forest certification
is challenging for forest landowners in environmental
investments, need high inputs, difficult to access the tools and
low awareness in developing countries. Generally, forest certification
in sustainable forest management can play great role
which may be negative or positive impact on social, cultural,
economic and environ.