PEFC International invites comments on forest management standard, plans to add requirements for certification in natural tropical forests

GENEVA , September 29, 2011 (press release) – PEFC International is pleased to invite all interested parties to provide feedback on an appendix to its global sustainable forest management standard by 27 November 2011. This appendix defines requirements and interpretations for the sustainable management of tropical natural forest.

Over the past three years, the PEFC Revision Working Group has revised PEFC's requirements for sustainable forest management (PEFC ST 1003:2010, Sustainable Forest Management – Requirements), which were approved in November 2010.

While these requirements are valid for all types of forests, PEFC stakeholders have decided to amend them with additional requirements and interpretations for tropical natural forests, given their complexity and their distinct environmental and socio-economic importance at local, regional and national levels.

"The sustainable management of the world's forest concerns all of us. Tropical forests have a vast potential to contribute to tackling climate change, they are the most biodiverse terrestrial ecosystem, and they directly or indirectly support the livelihoods of millions of people." said Ben Gunneberg, Secretary General of PEFC International.

"With PEFC's Sustainability Benchmarks defining the management of more than 240 million hectares of forests globally, it is our collective responsibility as forest stakeholders to integrate best practice, new scientific knowledge, societal expectations, as well as practical experiences on the ground, into standards that are globally relevant and locally applicable."

Mr. Gunneberg encouraged all stakeholders to share their knowledge and expertise in this public consultation to ensure that the standard is well aligned with global and local expectations and provides an optimal framework for tropical forest management practices delivering on all three pillars of sustainability – environmental, social and economic.

"With the vast majority of the world's certified forests located in the Global North, there is a real need to revisit forest certification requirements in detail and ensure their applicability in countries with less favourable structures, especially in the tropics, in Asia, South America and Africa – regions in which arguably the most vulnerable forests are located, and in which the potential of forest management to lift people out of poverty is greatest."

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While the Working Group has developed additional requirements and interpretations for a subset of criteria of PEFC ST 1003:2010, stakeholders are encouraged to comment on any criteria, including those for which interpretations have not been deemed necessary so far..

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