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Are forest standards and certification achieving sustainable development?

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Fujikawa, Ayuko (2005) Are forest standards and certification achieving sustainable development? Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Forest certification is perceived as a new instrument to promote sustainable forest
management (SFM). It developed widely after the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 with the
primary goal of achieving SFM. Expectations held for the certification systems included
decreasing forest land degradation, the establishment of sound forest management policy,
the promotion of public participation in management, a price premium for certified wood
products and improved access to the 'green market'. The majority of certification systems
aim to maintain or improve the ecological, social and economic functions of forest
ecosystems. Certification is supposed to guarantee that forests are well-managed. Forest
certification is categorised by function and geographical location. There are currently two
types of functions 'management-system-based' and 'performance-based'. Managementsystem-based
systems assess a company's management processes. On the other hand,
performance-based systems evaluate a company's operations in the managed land.
Currently, many certifications are management-system-based. From a geographic
perspective, there is international certification and national certification. Many national
certification schemes are members of international certification schemes. Certification
can also apply to wood products that use wood material certified against the standard
when all chain of production processes are evaluated, with respect to the environmental
and social impacts. A single certification logo can be issued to the producer. Forest
certification schemes can assess any type of forest against criteria and indicators (C&I) to
assess if they have been implemented against standards at the national level. At least nine
international initiatives and agreements for C&I forest certification systems have been
developed. Six recognized forest certification systems are reviewed within. None of these
certification systems have exactly the same C&I thresholds. Differences between
schemes largely arise from the different expectations of the primary stakeholders of the
schemes. Certification bodies are voluntary, independent, and non-government. An
increasing number of certifications may bring confusion and complexity as various
standards develop. The certification systems are not clear to the general public because
targets and effects are not usually well defined. Different types of forests can be assessed
at specific levels of the standard. However, dissimilar forests approved by the same
certification can equally claim that their forest management practice is environmentally
sound. Yet, different criteria, conditions, and systems for environmental sustainability are
found in each standard. Nevertheless, all certification bodies seem to be developing
towards socially and economically acceptable systems. Standards have been adapting to the needs of the various stakeholders. This can make the different certification systems
converge. Measures for ecological sustainability in certification systems seem to be less
well-developed, in general, than measures to ensure social and economic sustainability.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Master)
Keywords: Sustainable development, Forests and forestry, Forest management, Sustainable forestry
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2005 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Env.Mgt.)--University of Tasmania, 2005. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 00:09
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:54
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