Forests play an essential role in regulating the earth’s climate. By removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, they form the world’s largest terrestrial store of atmospheric carbon. Conversely, when forests are cleared, large amounts of carbon are released into the atmosphere.
The destruction and degradation of forests worldwide accounts for a higher share of global CO2 emissions than the entire transport sector. These emissions contribute to the greenhouse effect, increasing the risk of catastrophic climate change. It is therefore imperative for mankind to manage the world’s remaining forests in a responsible manner.
Responsible Forest Management
Responsible forest management is an approach that aims to prevent degradation of forest quality by seeking the right balance between harvesting forest resources for human use and the need for the natural cycles to remain intact.
Responsible forest management can maintain, or restore, the carbon sequestration of a forest, and is essential for safeguarding the forests that remain. Protecting forests from conversion to other land uses, introducing management practices that maintain the integrity of the forest, as well as restoring degraded forests, all contribute to reducing the impacts of climate change.
FSC and Climate Change
FSC certification is internationally recognized as the benchmark for responsible forestry. With its certification scheme for forest management, its chain of custody standard and its outreach to consumers with its labels, FSC contributes to mitigating climate change by promotion response forest management, and by promoting recycled materials.
FSC’s forest management standards give special attention to protecting the function of forests as the removers of CO2 from the atmosphere. Some direct benefits generated from the environmental impact of FSC certification in the forest include:
- Minimization of waste and damages from harvesting
- Increase in size and number of protected forest areas
- Retention of old trees and fallen wood for habitat