Cut from Congo

Industrial logging and the loss of intact forest landscapes in the Congo Basin

Publication - October 5, 2017
From 2000 to 2013, the global area of intact forest landscapes (IFLs) decreased by 7.2%, a reduction of 90 million hectares, with industrial timber extraction as the lead driver behind this fragmentation and degradation globally. In Africa, selective logging is the dominant cause of IFL loss.

In 2014 the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), adopted Motion 65 to protect the vast majority of IFLs inside FSC-certi ed forests. The FSC issued an advice note in December 2016 that requires forest management operations to not impact more than 20% of IFLs within the Forest Management Unit (FMU) and not reduce any IFLs below the 50,000 hectares threshold in the landscape, until  nal standards have been developed on a national or regional level.

Since its start, implementation of Motion 65 in the Congo Basin has been undermined by the logging industry. The industry questions the relevance of the IFL concept in the region and claims that with the introduction of additional forest management techniques, the IFLs’ “integrity” will be preserved. 

Up until today, the FSC’s regional working group did not reach a consensus. However, the IFL protection level threshold the working group was discussing, was as low as 20%, making a joke of Motion 65’s requirement to protect the “vast majority” of IFLs in certi ed concessions. The industry has proposed 2 motions for the 2017 FSC general assembly. Motion 24 requires certi cate holders to only use intact forest landscape conservation strategies that have been endorsed through national regulatory frameworks. This sets the precedent for social and environmental criteria to be overturned if governments don’t agree with the approach, and could set FSC down a dangerous path towards the legal minimum, not consistent with consumer’s expectations. Motion 32 calls for the widely accepted and recognized methodology for identifying IFLs to be thrown out, so the companies only have to comply with other High Conservation Value requirements. 

For more, down the report here