Research Across Three Distinct Forest Biomes in Canada and the United States Show FSC-Certified Forests Store More Carbon, While Providing a Sustainable Supply of Forest Products

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Canada and US released a report that found evidence that FSC-certified forests in Canada and the US store more carbon when compared to forests managed with common practices, showing the positive climate impact of the forest management practices associated with FSC certification.

While the responsible forest management practices required to be FSC-certified are designed to protect biodiversity, clean water, and the rights of Indigenous communities, research about their climate impacts is still developing.

FSC offices in North America began a research project in January 2021 to investigate the question: “What is the potential carbon impact of FSC-certified management in specific eco-regions relative to common practices?”

To help answer this question, FSC offices in North America engaged SCS Global Services to measure the amount of carbon stored by Canadian and US forests managed using both FSC and common practices. The studies included a mixed pine forest, a mixed boreal forest, and a redwood region.

The research showed that forests in Canada and the US managed to FSC practices stored additional carbon compared to the baseline, with the results varying based on the type of forest. These results build on other findings by Ontario Nature and Ecotrust, contributing to a growing body of evidence that responsible forest management can help mitigate climate change.

Although these results are only one step in truly quantifying the impacts of FSC-certified management, they add to the value of purchasing FSC-certified products and call attention to the need for more high-quality, public data that considers forest management practices in quantifying climate benefits.

Forests are vital ecosystems that provide many resources important for life on Earth. From the air we breathe and the water we drink, to paper products and lumber, to cultural and religious values held by Indigenous Peoples, we rely on forests and forest products every day. Forests also store vast amounts of carbon, with enormous potential to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. At the same time, deforestation and forest degradation release vast quantities of stored carbon and are a major drive of climate change. FSC is offering a way to protect the full range of forest values, even as we use forest products every day.

FSC Forest Carbon Storage Study - Towards Climate Smart Forestry Report.pdf
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