The FSC® certification applies to both natural forests and woods and forest plantations. It can be individual or by groups. It provides also for “easier” certification procedures for small owners and forests with a low collection density, including forests aimed at the production of non timber forest products. The standards organization FSC® is an independent and non-profit International non-governmental organisation, which includes 680 stakeholders representing the environmental, social and economic interests related to the management of forest resources.
Good forest management standards
They are 10 principles and 58 criteria applicable all around the world and based on rigorous environmental and social parameters. Among them:
Safeguard of ownership and the rights for the use of land and forest resources, the rights of indigenous peoples, workers and local communities, with particular attention to work safety and the socio-economic welfare of the territory;
Promotion of an efficient use of the many products, services and environmental and social benefits deriving from the forest;
Safeguard of the forest biodiversity, landscape, ecological functions, stability and integrity;
Implementation of a forest management plan suitable for the magnitude and the intensity of interventions, with clear long term objectives;
Monitoring and assessment of the forest management activities and the relevant impacts;
Conservation of forests with a particular ecological-naturalistic or historical-cultural value.
Focus on plantations
Forest plantations are regulated by Principle 10, which provides for specific measures to regulate the use of fertilizers and pesticides, the design and realization of plants, modalities of soil cultivation, management interventions and the conservation of vegetation nuclei left to natural evolution in order to minimize the negative impacts of management.
An instrument to guarantee that the raw materials used to produce paper and wood products derive from forests managed according to sustainability criteria. This is, in short, the Programme for the mutual recognition of the PEFC™ national forest certification schemes.
Flexible and applicable to small sized plantations and forests, the system puts together the different national certification schemes in a unitary framework: by providing a single marking, it creates a common base for mutual recognition.
The PEFC™ certification involves:
businesses and organizations which manage wooded and forest areas. In this case, it consists of the verification of the management compliance with specific criteria of environmental, social and economic sustainability;
wood processing businesses (paper, semi-finished good and furniture manufacturers). In this case, it is possible to talk about the "Chain of custody" as traceability certification attesting the “history” of the product. Therefore, businesses can prove that their raw material comes from forests managed in compliance with the PEFC™ criteria and consumers base their sustainable purchase choices on actual and reliable elements.
How does it work?
The PEFC™ is based on the six pan-European criteria developed through the Ministerial Conferences for the forest safeguard which took place in Helsinki and Lisbon in 1993 and 1998:
maintenance and appropriate enhancement of forest resources and their contribution to global carbon cycles;
maintenance of forest ecosystem health and vitality;
maintenance and encouragement of production functions of forests (wood and non-wood);
maintenance, conservation and appropriate enhancement of biological diversity in forest ecosystems;
maintenance and appropriate enhancement of protective functions of forestry management (notably soil and water);
maintenance of other socio-economic functions of forests.
Moreover, third party organizations, charged with the inspections, ascertain the compliance with a further series of management indicators.