Can voluntary standards regulate forestry?: Assessing the environmental impacts of forest certification in Sweden
2011 (English)In: Forest Policy and Economics, ISSN 1389-9341, Vol. 13, no 3, 191-198 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This article addresses the issue of to what extent forest certification schemes contribute to the enhancement of environmental protection in Swedish forestry. Our assessment is built on the analysis of three different data sets, namely: 1) the Swedish National Forest Inventory (NFI), 2) the Swedish Database for Forest Owner Analysis, presenting data on small-scale forestry practices and certification, and 3) a follow-up mail survey addressed to private small-scale forest owners with certified forest properties. Our NFI analysis indicated some minor improvements in forest conditions, corresponding with the interim target for enhanced biological diversity (dead wood, broad-leaved trees and old forests). The improvements were less evident on large-scale forest properties (certified in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council scheme) than on small-scale private forest properties (mainly certified in accordance with the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes). This contradicts a common assumption that a much higher degree of certification with stricter environmental standards will give more evident positive impacts on environmental conditions. However, results from the follow-up survey showed that more harvesting activity had taken place on certified small-scale forest properties than on non-certified properties. This could mean more negative effects on biodiversity. We conclude by stressing the importance of improving quantitative methods for determining a cause-and-effect relationship between certification and nature protection; previous research tends to report rather far-reaching conclusions based on limited data sets.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 13, no 3, 191-198 p.
Forest certification, National Forest Inventory, Environmental objectives, Regulation, Forest practices
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-25722DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2010.11.004ISI: 000289496200007ScopusID: 2-s2.0-79952451426OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-25722DiVA: diva2:776315