What is responsible forest management?

As defined by the Forest Stewardship Council: -

Responsible forest management means forests are managed in a way that protects the water, soil and wildlife. It means communities, indigenous peoples, forest workers - anyone who is affected by what is happens to forests - agree on how the forest will be managed.

For more information about FSC and Climate change, please visit the Forest Stewardship Council Web Site the Forest Stewardship Council Australia Web Site] and Forest Stewardship Council/Climate Change or write to carbon.wg@fsc.org

The following is taken from the Forest Stewardship Council's publication. Forests, Climate Change and the FSC

Forests, Climate Change

Forests play a critical role in regulating the Earth’s climate. By removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, they form the world‘s largest terrestrial store of atmospheric carbon. Conversely, when forests are cleared, large amounts of carbon are released into the atmosphere.The destruction and degradation of forests worldwide accounts for a higher share of global CO2 emissions than the entire transport sector These emissions contribute to the greenhouse effect, increasing the risk of catastrophic climate change.It is therefore imperative for mankind to manage the world’s remaining forests in a responsible manner Protecting forests from conversion to other land uses such as agriculture, introducing management practices that maintain the integrity of the forest, as well as restoring degraded forests, all contribute to reducing the impacts of climate change. These activities should be in addition to, and not a substitute for, necessary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from other sectors.

The benefits of Forest Stewardship Council certification

FSC certification is internationally recognized as the benchmark for responsible forestry. Well-managed forests provide a wide range of social and economic benefits and environmental services, such as livelihoods for people and habitats for animals and plants.FSC standards ensure that that these benefits and services are realized and are not disregarded in favour of other management objectives, such as carbon sequestration or storage Research indicates that FSC certified operations deliver direct and indirect climate benefits. Direct benefits are generated from the environmental impact of FSC certification in the forest such as: The social and economic impacts of FSC certification generate indirect climate benefits by providing a solution to some of the causes of forest degradation, for example:

FSC uses certification and product labelling to engage the market, providing economic incentives to keep forests standing and make sure that they are well managed.

The Forest Carbon Working Group (FCWG)

In 2009, FSC established the Forest Carbon Working Group (FCWG) to research and advise on all matters related to the formal engagement of FSC in climate change mitigation. The FCWG is supported by an Advisory Group of experts who provide technical, scientific and strategic input on issues under examination by the FCWG.

As a first result of their activity, the FCWG proposed several amendments to the FSC Principles & Criteria for responsible forest management. The recommendations aim at explicitly monitoring and managing forest carbon stocks to ensure their maintenance or restoration.

FSC activities in climate change mitigation

A number of forest carbon projects and standards already use or require FSC certification as a guarantee of social and environmental safeguards. FSC is looking into the potential opportunities and risks associated with recently developed methodologies, standards, programmes and markets that allow claims on the management of forest carbon and related projects or products.

FSC is also participating in international discussions and negotiations on forests and climate change. At the 2009 UN climate conference in Copenhagen, FSC was present with a side event and a series of publications promoting FSC certification as an effective tool against deforestation and forest degradation.