Sweden: FSC Smartwood value in dramatic decline

Swedish FSC-certifed forest companies are misusing the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) system and certification bodies(CBs), accredited Service International (ASI). FSC is sanctioning this mismanagement by failing to stand by the FSC Principles and Criteria and bridge the gaps in the expired Swedish FSC standard by issuing interim guidance on high conservation value forests (HCVFs). Many forests that should be protected continue to be logged under the cover of FSC certifcation.

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Greenpeace report “Under the cover of forest certification – How the
Forest Stewardship Council has failed to prevent the destruction of high conservation value forests in Sweden” identifes a web of complicity in the continued logging of threatened old-growth forests between the FSC, which is failing to ensure that adequate standards are used in Sweden, companies that are knowingly destroying threatened high conservation value forests
(HCVFs) and the CBs and the Accreditation Services International
(ASI), which are passively issuing certificates and failing to guide
companies towards the correct standards of practice.

All the forests presented in this report have high conservation values. In total, 932 fndings of red-listed species were made in the forests documented by Greenpeace, all of which were designated for logging. Dead wood was abundant andmany of the trees were large and old, some of them very old.

The FSC certifcation should guarantee that forestry practices comply
with its standard and where there are gaps, the ASI and the CBs should
issue guidance to ensure that all the FSC’s Principles and Criteria
are being met. Greenpeace undertook this sample analysis of Forest
Stewardship council (FSC) certificates in order to provide
recommendations to address and correct the problems identifed. It did
so because it acknowledges that many changes at the FSC are driven by
constructive criticism and by the input of its stakeholders.

Some companies are logging, and plan to continue logging, old-growth
forests and key habitats. Old-growth forests and key habitats should, according to the FSC standard, either be preserved or managed cautiously in order to conserve and support the natural biological diversity of the habitat (criterion 6.1). The FSC aims to  balance ecological, social and economicalinterests. To date, the forest companies’ and CBs’ economic interests have evidently outweighed other interests, which has led to serious environmental consequences in Sweden.

Several FSC-certifed companies have felled old-growth forests and HCVFs, which undermines the credibility of the FSC certifcation system. The consideration given by the forest companies’ to nature conservation is seriously lacking in many cases and the companies cited in this report only started to act after Greenpeace had presented its research to them. If this investigation had not been carried out forests such as Ratnivaara, Hidberget and Ytter Renåfyn would have been logged by now.

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Comments (1)

NameJanuary 25th, 2010 at 3:40 pm

How tall is the Sweden tree?

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