Armando Cafiero, Assocarta, opened the session on the status and key SFM/certification challenges and the role of the private sector in increasing the volume of certified forests, especially in developing countries.
Markku Simula, Indufor, gave an overview of forest certification developed in partial response to massive deforestation in the tropics as a market based tool to promote sustainable forest management. A number of certification systems have emerged over the last 10 years but most certification to date (90%) has been achieved in temperate and boreal forests, in the North. In the South, most certified areas are plantations rather than natural forests. Among the reasons for this are poor enabling conditions, weak capacity to certify, tenure problems, and weak demand from domestic markets for certified product. Possible solutions include a “phased” step-wise implementation of standards which are independently verified, enforcement of existing law, and continued efforts of the main drivers to date, active buyers and NGO’s. Conflicts over certification are discrediting forest products in the marked, encouraging substitution.
S. K. Tham, Malaysian Timber Council, said they are working with an ITTO and the Forest Stewardship Council to develop “equivalence status” for their certification system.
P.E. Huet, Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux, said that half the concessions in Africa are less than the 100,000 ha/30year needed to be minimally viable.
Boris Tabacof, Bracelp, reviewed the experience in Latin America. Brazil with 23% of the worlds forest cover has almost half the certified forests in Latin America, most using the FSC system.