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Special Issue "Sustainable Forest Management and Forest Certification"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Economics and Human Dimensions".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Fred Cubbage

Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Jordan Hall 3118B, Raleigh, NC 27695-8008, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1-919-515-7789
Interests: forest resource policy; timber production and harvesting economics; forest certification; sustainable forest management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Forest certification is one of the best-known voluntary environmental programs designed to demonstrate corporate social responsibility. Forest certification has been termed a non-state market-driven governance mechanism, or as co-governance among private sector, nongovernment organizations, and government stakeholders. About 466 million hectares (ha), or about 11% of the world’s 3.9 billion ha of forests, were certified by 2016 under one of the two major systems of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). While forest certification has become well established, scientific questions regarding its empirical impacts and effectiveness remain. Has forest certification improved forest management on the ground, improved social forestry processes, or enhanced economic returns compared to noncertified forests? These questions regarding the impacts of forest certification have been examined mostly through opinion surveys and secondary data such as summaries of audit reports, as well as some new mixtures of inventory data and surveys. Few field studies have been conducted, and even those have small samples, with little or no scientific matching of certification properties versus similar counterfactuals of non-certified properties. This Special Issue will focus on research that demonstrates how professionals, certified forest land managers, and scientists can identify, measure, practice, implement, and evaluate whether forest certification is enhancing forest sustainability. Research articles should focus on measuring and evaluating the impacts of forest certification on sustainable forestry through better ecological, social, or economic processes.

Prof. Fred Cubbage
Guest Editor

 

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Forest certification
  • Program evaluation
  • Forest management impacts
  • Voluntary environmental programs
  • Corporate social responsibility

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Does Certification Change the Trajectory of Tree Cover in Working Forests in The Tropics? An Application of the Synthetic Control Method of Impact Evaluation
Forests 2018, 9(3), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9030098
Received: 11 January 2018 / Revised: 13 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 25 February 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1357 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) remains rare among forest management units (FMUs) in natural tropical forests, presenting a challenge for impact evaluation. We demonstrate application of the synthetic control method (SCM) to evaluate the impact of FSC certification on a single [...] Read more.
Certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) remains rare among forest management units (FMUs) in natural tropical forests, presenting a challenge for impact evaluation. We demonstrate application of the synthetic control method (SCM) to evaluate the impact of FSC certification on a single FMU in each of three tropical forest landscapes. Specifically, we estimate causal effects on tree cover change from the year of certification to 2012 using SCM and open-access, pan-tropical datasets. We demonstrate that it is possible to construct synthetic controls, or weighted combinations of non-certified FMUs, that followed the same path of tree cover change as the certified FMUs before certification. By using these synthetic controls to measure counterfactual tree cover change after certification, we find that certification reduced tree cover loss in the most recent year (2012) in all three landscapes. However, placebo tests show that in one case, this effect was not significant, and in another case, it followed several years in which certification had the opposite effect (increasing tree cover loss). We conclude that SCM has promise for identifying temporally varying impacts of small-N interventions on land use and land cover change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Forest Management and Forest Certification)
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Open AccessArticle The Effect of Internet Searches on Afforestation: The Case of a Green Search Engine
Forests 2018, 9(2), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9020051
Received: 17 November 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 23 January 2018
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1600 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ecosia is an Internet search engine that plants trees with the income obtained from advertising. This study explored the factors that affect the adoption of Ecosia.org from the perspective of technology adoption and trust. This was done by using the Unified Theory of [...] Read more.
Ecosia is an Internet search engine that plants trees with the income obtained from advertising. This study explored the factors that affect the adoption of Ecosia.org from the perspective of technology adoption and trust. This was done by using the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT2) and then analyzing the results with PLS-SEM (Partial Least Squares-Structural Equation Modeling). Subsequently, a survey was conducted with a structured questionnaire on search engines, which yielded the following results: (1) the idea of a company helping to mitigate the effects of climate change by planting trees is well received by Internet users. However, few people accept the idea of changing their habits from using traditional search engines; (2) Ecosia is a search engine believed to have higher compatibility rates, and needing less hardware resources, and (3) ecological marketing is an appropriate and future strategy that can increase the intention to use a technological product. Based on the results obtained, this study shows that a search engine or other service provided by the Internet, which can be audited (visits, searches, files, etc.), can also contribute to curb the effects of deforestation and climate change. In addition, companies, and especially technological start-ups, are advised to take into account that users feel better using these tools. Finally, this study urges foundations and non-governmental organizations to fight against the effects of deforestation by supporting these initiatives. The study also urges companies to support technological services, and follow the behavior of Ecosia.org in order to positively influence user satisfaction by using ecological marketing strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Forest Management and Forest Certification)
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Open AccessArticle Certifying Forests to Achieve Sustainability in Industrial Plantations: Opinions of Stakeholders in Spain
Forests 2017, 8(12), 502; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8120502
Received: 17 October 2017 / Revised: 27 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 December 2017 / Published: 13 December 2017
PDF Full-text (1494 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Forest certification is a practice that has been consolidated worldwide in recent years as a result of certification often being associated with sustainability. However, there is not much research available on the perception of stakeholders and experts of that association. This study evaluates [...] Read more.
Forest certification is a practice that has been consolidated worldwide in recent years as a result of certification often being associated with sustainability. However, there is not much research available on the perception of stakeholders and experts of that association. This study evaluates how key stakeholders relate certification to sustainability, and its implications for forest management. A survey was implemented in the eucalyptus plantations of Galicia, northwestern Spain, to assess how forest managers; advisors; environmental organizations; researchers; and members from the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), PEFC (the Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification), and forest companies and associations, perceive this relationship. The opinions indicate that it should not be assumed that certified plantations are necessarily perceived as the most sustainable ones, that there is always a direct relationship between certification, nor that forest owners and managers certify their woodlands in order to guarantee sustainability. The results also showed that perceptions of certification and sustainability were not influenced by the opinions of different groups of stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Forest Management and Forest Certification)
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Open AccessArticle Private Forest Governance, Public Policy Impacts: The Forest Stewardship Council in Russia and Brazil
Forests 2017, 8(11), 445; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8110445
Received: 29 August 2017 / Revised: 29 September 2017 / Accepted: 10 November 2017 / Published: 16 November 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1269 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Under what conditions do private forest governance standards influence state policy and behavior to become more oriented toward sustainability? We argue that governance schemes targeting firms may indirectly shape state behavior, even when designed to bypass state regulation. Through an examination of the [...] Read more.
Under what conditions do private forest governance standards influence state policy and behavior to become more oriented toward sustainability? We argue that governance schemes targeting firms may indirectly shape state behavior, even when designed to bypass state regulation. Through an examination of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in Russia and Brazil, we find that the FSC has influenced domestic rhetoric, laws, and enforcement practices. FSC has had a more disruptive and consequential impact on Russia’s domestic forest governance; in Brazil, earlier transnational environmental campaigns had already begun to shift domestic institutions toward sustainability. Based on interview data and textual analysis of FSC and government documents, we identify the mechanisms of indirect FSC influence on states—professionalization, civil society mobilization, firm lobbying, and international market pressure, and argue that they are likely to be activated under conditions of poor and decentralized governance, overlapping and competing regulations and high foreign market demand for exports. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Forest Management and Forest Certification)
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Open AccessArticle Forest Certification and Country of Origin: Choice Experiment Analysis of Outdoor Decking Material Selection in E-Commerce Market in Finland
Forests 2017, 8(11), 431; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8110431
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 29 October 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 11 November 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (890 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since the early 1990s, there has been hope that the uptake of certified forest products would ensure more sustainable forest management and also deliver business benefits along the value chain. Our study applies a Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) to model an e-commerce purchase [...] Read more.
Since the early 1990s, there has been hope that the uptake of certified forest products would ensure more sustainable forest management and also deliver business benefits along the value chain. Our study applies a Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) to model an e-commerce purchase in the case of multiple products with various attribute and certification combinations in the Finnish retail outdoor decking material market. We received 2772 responses from 231 participants in an online survey. Applying conditional logit and latent class models, we were able to assess the relative importance of attributes, identify various consumer segments, and simulate various scenarios for communicating the certification and origin of forest products and competing materials. Our results show that the most important attribute for consumer decision-making was the outdoor decking material followed by price, origin, and certification. Some consumer segments showed a habit of only choosing certain materials or domestic products, while paying less attention to other product attributes. Simulations for an e-commerce purchase situation also implied that communications concerning intangible product attributes, such as domestic origin and environmental certifications, could be used in the brand building of the forest sector to gain competitive advantage and increased market shares over other sectors. The results suggest that the conventional and constantly developing e-commerce marketing tools should be harnessed also in forest product and more general environmental marketing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Forest Management and Forest Certification)
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Open AccessArticle Forest Certification Perspectives in the Wood Products Supply Chain in Virginia, U.S.A.
Forests 2017, 8(10), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8100364
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 11 September 2017 / Accepted: 18 September 2017 / Published: 26 September 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (941 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Participation among private forest owners, logging contractors, and wood products manufacturers in the forest certification sector remains low. Those that enroll are mainly large-acreage owners and specialized manufacturers. Little is known about certification perspectives across the supply chain and how they relate. Comparing [...] Read more.
Participation among private forest owners, logging contractors, and wood products manufacturers in the forest certification sector remains low. Those that enroll are mainly large-acreage owners and specialized manufacturers. Little is known about certification perspectives across the supply chain and how they relate. Comparing what owners, contractors, and manufacturers think about certification would increase insight regarding sector growth. In this study, 2741 private forest owners, logging contractors, and wood products manufacturers in Virginia, U.S.A. were surveyed about their beliefs regarding the impact of certification on economic opportunities and image and the extent to which they think it positively affects the forestry sector and understand how to certify forestland. Co-orientation was used to map alignment and predictions between respondents. Owner and contractor responses were similar and predictions about each other mostly accurate, but manufacturer responses and predictions were largely incongruent. Manufacturers generally aligned more so with contractors than owners but contractors identified slightly more with owners. Owners and contractors shared perspectives and a discernable identity, whereas manufacturers viewed certification in a less positive light. Implications for participation in forest certification focus largely on interrelationships of actor perspectives regardless of scale and emphasize the roles each can play in the forest certification sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Forest Management and Forest Certification)
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Open AccessArticle An Analysis of Non-State and State Approaches for Forest Certification in Mexico
Forests 2017, 8(8), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8080290
Received: 27 June 2017 / Revised: 29 July 2017 / Accepted: 4 August 2017 / Published: 10 August 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1014 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mexico has had a non-state forest certification system under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) since it was initiated in 1993, and developed a new state-sponsored Mexican Forest Certification System (MFCS) that began in 2008. Several analyses have been made of FSC forest certification [...] Read more.
Mexico has had a non-state forest certification system under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) since it was initiated in 1993, and developed a new state-sponsored Mexican Forest Certification System (MFCS) that began in 2008. Several analyses have been made of FSC forest certification in Mexico, but none have summarized the new MFCS system or compared its standards with FSC. We compare the implementation of the non-state FSC market forest certification with the state-sponsored MFCS system in Mexico, and review literature on forest certification, focusing on all studies in Mexico. MFCS has had substantial enrollment of more than 902,802 ha by 2016, compared to 900,388 ha for the more-established FSC program. MFCS can be acceptable for stand-alone forest certification, and might be viewed as a stepwise path to FSC certification. The merits of both systems are analyzed in terms of standard content, likely sustainable forestry practices, access to markets, and community forestry enterprises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Forest Management and Forest Certification)
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