Certifying Extinction? An Assessment of the Revised Standards of the Finnish Forest Certification System

Publication - October 11, 2004
With this report, the undersigned Finnish environmental organisations want to emphasise the urgent need for better forest management and better protection for the remaining old-growth and high-conservation-value forests in Finland.

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Executive summary: Finland's forests are among the most intensively managed in the world. Over 50 million cubic metres of wood are harvested every year from the country's 20 million hectares of commercial forests. The Finnish forest management model has resulted in the rapid conversion of natural forests into monotonous industrial forests that lack many key features of boreal forest ecosystems. Forestry is the most serious threat to species survival in Finland. Unless there is a significant increase in the amount of protected forest area and a parallel improvement in the standards of forest management, hundreds of species face extinction within the next 50 years.Sustainable development and protection of biodiversity are now popular phrases in the public communications of the Finnish forestry sector. But there remains a huge gap between rhetoric and reality.Forest certification could be an effective way to improve the ecological and social sustainability of forest use. However, 95% of Finland's forests have been certified according to the inadequate Finnish Forest Certification System standard, with the result that there has been little change to the destructive practices that have caused the current degradation of forest biodiversity.

Num. pages: 28