Newsletter Stories

Thursday, 15 October 2020
FSC Embarks on Forest Carbon Research

By: Brad Kahn

Climate change is the challenge of our time, requiring action across all sectors of society. While there are many emerging technologies, today there is only one proven, economical way to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at a global scale: Forests.

While much of the emphasis to date has been on reforestation and afforestation, increasingly leaders are looking to responsibly managed forests as an opportunity to sequester additional biogenic carbon.

As the world’s most trusted forest certification – impacting more than 500 million acres – the Forest Stewardship Council represents the gold standard for responsible forest management. As a result, many stakeholders – including leading brands, supply chain companies, architects, builders, and developers – are asking FSC about the carbon impacts of FSC-certified forest management.

Because limited research has been conducted to quantify the forest carbon impacts of FSC certification in North America, this project aims to fill gaps in the evidence base with credible new information.

To date, one study by Ecotrust and the University of Washington has quantified the carbon benefit of FSC-certified forests in Oregon and Washington, finding they always stored more carbon; on average 30% more. While this research has been invaluable, there is a need to build on it by increasing the evidence base across other regions and methodologies.

So, FSC is beginning a research project to quantify the additional benefits of FSC-certified forest management relative to business-as-usual forestry (at the regulatory floor) on forest carbon in priority landscapes of Canada and the United States, including the boreal, US Southeast and the Northwest.

To inform the research, FSC is empaneling an advisory body of experts. We will also be issuing a Request for Proposals from qualified research consultancies to conduct the work. In addition, FSC will be conducting a public consultation in Spring 2021.

This research project is made possible due to financial support from Google, Procter & Gamble, IKEA of Sweden AB, International Paper, Lowes, DPR Construction, Cascades, Kruger, and the Fox Foundation. The Forest Stewardship Council greatly appreciates their contributions.

If you are interested in receiving updates about the research, including the public consultation, please let us know by completing this simple form.