Saturday, 12 December 2009
In Copenhagen, Forests and FSC Were Both on the Agenda

In Copenhagen last week, FSC was actively advocating the role of FSC-certified working forests in reducing emissions from forests, at the 15th convention of the parties (COP 15) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Deforestation and forest degradation account for nearly 20% of all global greenhouse gas emissions — more than are produced by all forms of transportation combined.

An FSC-sponsored side event on December 16 examined how improved forest management and FSC certification plays a pivotal role in implementing the UN's draft plan for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, or REDD. The REDD plan calls for halving deforestation rates in poor countries by 2020 and ending it completely by 2030. For more than a year, climate negotiators have been counting on the Copenhagen talks to forge an agreement on REDD.

REDD frameworks have received criticism from social and environmental groups that are concerned with potential social injustices and environmental damage that can result from uncertified forest management. FSC is the most appropriate and proven tool to safeguard social concerns such as tenure rights and community benefits, as well as for addressing environmental issues such as protection of old-growth forests and rare species. The side event in Copenhagen featured a case study from Guatemala documenting that loss of forest cover in an FSC-certified tenure was 20 times lower than that within neighboring protected areas, where harvesting of wood and non-timber forest products is legally prohibited.