The study is conducted by FSC International to identify existing problems associated with development and implementation of indicators under Criterion 6.5. This criterion establishes conservation requirements of The Organization demonstrating conformity with FSC’s Principles and Criteria.

Criterion 6.5 of FSC Principles and Criteria for Forest Stewardship states that:

“The Organization shall identify and protect representative sample areas of native ecosystems and/or restore them to more natural conditions. Where representative sample areas do not exist or are insufficient, The Organization shall restore a proportion of the Management Unit  to more natural conditions. The size of the areas and the measures taken for their protection or restoration, including within plantations, shall be proportionate to the conservation status and value of the ecosystems at the landscape level, and the scale, intensity and risk of management activities.”

To meet this Criterion, a minimum threshold of 10% of area set aside for a Conservation Area Network (CAN) is typically used, derived from the implementation strategy of the Convention on Biological Diversity from United Nations member countries in 2002.

Several standard developers, certificate holders and certification bodies have expressed their discontent and problems faced in achieving 10% as a minimum requirement for Conservation Areas Network (CAN), including requirements around Representative Sample Areas (RSA).

To address these concerns, FSC is now conducting the study to:

  1. investigate the existence of problems (and their intensity) in the development and conformity with the requirements under Criterion 6.5 (FSC Principles & Criteria V5-2);
  2. evaluate the effectiveness of Conservation Areas Network (CAN) in FSC-certified forests and
  3. produce recommendations to revise the International Generic Indicators under Criterion 6.5 or propose alternative (or further) ways to achieve the objectives of the Criterion.

The outputs will help identify specific problems associated with requirements under Criterion 6.5 (including where they exist – geographical location and forest type), provide suggestions to improve these requirements and identify means of achieving conservation outcomes in a cost-effective way.

For more information or questions, please contact the FSC working team responsible for the FSC Forest Stewardship Standards by email at