FSC just voted to allow certification of plantations on forest trashed since 1994

Yesterday, at the FSC General Assembly in Vancouver, FSC members voted in favour of a motion to scrap the ban on the certifying plantations that were established on forests cleared after 1994.

Criterion 6.10 of FSC’s Principles and Criteria currently states:

6.10 Management Units containing plantations that were established on areas converted from natural forest after November 1994 shall not qualify for certification, except where:

a) clear and sufficient evidence is provided that The Organization was not directly or indirectly responsible for the conversion, or

b) the conversion affected a very limited portion of the area of the Management Unit and is producing clear, substantial, additional, secure long term conservation benefits in the Management Unit.


Motion 7, proposed by Aditya Bayunanda of WWF Indonesia, states:

Addressing Past Conversion through Restoration and Conservation as a Requirement for Certification of Plantations that have converted natural forest areas Post 1994

Policy Motion (high-level action request):

The membership recognizes the strategic importance of addressing the issues around conversion of natural forest-related ecosystems to plantations and the need for alignment of the diverse ways in which conversion is treated in different parts of the FSC normative framework. The membership requests that FSC puts in place a mechanism, building upon previous work, which will develop a holistic policy and appropriate treatment at Principle, Criterion and Indicator levels with guidance to national Standards Development Groups, considering compensation for past conversion, in terms of:

a. restoration and/or conservation for environmental values; and

b. restitution for socio-economic values

This opens the door to the certification of companies that have bulldozed vast areas of forests since 1994. Companies such as Asia Pulp and Paper, for example.

Aida Greenbury, who was until recently APP’s chief sustainability officer, welcomed FSC’s decision:


WWF’s Aditya Bayunanda somewhat sheepishly replied,


As World Rainforest Movement’s Winnie Overbeek told Mongabay six years ago, when a similar FSC motion was proposed,

“It definitely will be another incentive to expand plantations in forest areas and therefore another incentive for deforestation and, at the same time, greenwashing of industrial tree plantations.”

PHOTO Credit: This scene of devastation is on the edge of an APP operated pulpwood plantation in an area of active social conflict in the Riau Province of Sumatra. Rainforest Action Network, 2011.


One comment

  1. This is FSC admitting forests are man made. FSC now regard a palm oil plantation as a ‘forest’. In some cases the forest doesn’t even contain trees to retain certification. (between rotations)
    I call it ‘legoland forestry’.

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