Opinion & Analysis


FSC has a golden opportunity to demonstrate better protection of the world´s last Intact Forest Landscapes
Christoph Thies (Forest Policy Expert) · Greenpeace International

On the subject of Motion 65 (High Conservation Value 2 – Intact forest landscapes protection), please find below the opinion of Christoph Thies, Forest Policy Expert at Greenpeace International.

zoomFSC has a golden opportunity to demonstrate better protection of the world´s last Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs)FSC has a golden opportunity to demonstrate better protection of the world´s last Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs)The Greenpeace geographic information system (GIS) lab, in collaboration with GIS experts from the university of Maryland and support from the World Resource Institute, has published a new global analysis and map of the world´s last intact forest landscapes (IFLs). It shows that 23% of the worlds forest cover areas that critical for biodiversity, for indigenous and other traditional forest communities, as well as for preventing dangerous climate change. The GIS analysis revealed that, between 2000 and 2013, IFL degradation was over 8% – roughly equal to an area the size of a football pitch every four seconds (http://intactforests.org/world.map.html).

A detailed and comprehensive analysis of the drivers of global IFL degradation still needs to be done. Drivers can vary between greatly between productive and marginal forests, from region to region, and between boreal and tropical forests. However, we have a clear indication that new roads and logging are key drivers globally. FSC currently causes a significant part of global IFL degradation as a result of an implementation gap in Principle 9 on high conservation values – specifically HCV2, which covers IFLs.

In the longer term, only national governments can improve the legal protection of IFLs, with support from the United Nations conventions on climate (UNFCCC) and biodiversity (CBD), as well as other institutions. In the meantime, FSC as a voluntary initiative can play a crucial vanguard role if it ensures that IFL degradation is avoided wherever possible in its certified forests. The membership has voted ‘yes’ to motion 65, and this is an encouraging sign of FSC´s willingness to take meaningful steps toward tackling this important issue, while respecting indigenous and other traditional rights and demonstrating economic flexibility.