We already knew that certifying forestry projects under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification standards was a good idea. Now a new study by the Rainforest Alliance in Guatemala tells us that forest concessions managed in compliance with FSC certification standards have seen fewer wildfires and less deforestation compared with protected and other areas within the Maya Biosphere Reserve, an area of tropical forest in Guatemala’s northern Petén region. Bonus!
According to the Alliance, in 2007, fires affected 0.1 percent of FSC-certified forest concessions in the reserve, down from 6.5 percent in 1998. During the same period, fires affected between 7 and 20 percent of the rest of the reserve. In addition, the average annual deforestation rate in FSC-certified forest concessions between 2002 and 2007 was 20 times lower than the deforestation rate within the protected areas where harvesting of wood and non-timber forest products is prohibited.Fire control and prevention is actually part of the FSC certification standards in addition to improving living and working conditions for workers and increasing the use of safety equipment. The study found that the FSC-certified concessions also experienced less social conflict as a result of better land-use mapping, and created committees to manage land-use, among other things. :: Rainforest Alliance