Study Shows SmartWood Certification Improves Forest Management
New York -- July 12, 2005 -- A new study demonstrates that independent, third-party certification for environmentally and socially sustainable management of timberlands has led to vital, measurable improvements in the protection of forests, wildlife and stakeholder rights worldwide, as well as to the long-term economic viability of forestry operations.
The report, entitled "The Global Impact of SmartWood Certification," was compiled by SmartWood, a forestry certification program of the nonprofit Rainforest Alliance. SmartWood is accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a nonprofit organization that supports environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world's forests through independent forest management certification.
The study analyzes the changes that SmartWood required 129 forestry operations in 21 countries to make in order to comply with FSC and SmartWood standards and receive the Rainforest Alliance's certification seal. It identified clear and quantifiable improvements over a wide range of forest management issues for all 129 forests studied.
Details of the findings
- better protection of aquatic and riparian areas, sensitive and high conservation value areas, and threatened and endangered species, and
- improvemtns in worker safety, training and communication and conflict resolution with stakeholders.
The report also found that certification promoted economic sustainability, including improved understanding of profitability and efficiency, greater accountability, transparency and compliance with laws, and better management planning, monitoring and chain-of-custody practices.
"There is a real demand for FSC-certified wood in the United States marketplace, and this report is clear evidence of the positive effects that demand is having on working forests in the United States," says Richard Donovan, chief of forestry and SmartWood director at the Rainforest Alliance.
"The rapid growth of forest certification reflects how the tangible positive environmental and social results of achieving compliance with these high standards also make good business sense, partly because consumers are increasingly demanding them, and partly because they make forestry operations more efficient, sustainable and ultimately more competitive," says the report's co-author, Deanna Newsom of the Rainforest Alliance.