FSC® Ecosystem Services
We'll help you demonstrate your sustainable commitments
Ecosystem services are the benefits we obtain from nature:
- Watershed services (Water)
- Soil conservation
- Biodiversity conservation
- Carbon sequestration and storage
- Recreational services
The FSC® Ecosystem Services procedure aims to help to preserve these services for the good of all who use them. We offer FSC Ecosystems Services verification internationally as an addition to Forest Management certification, allowing our clients to make specific claims about the ecosystem services provided by their forests.
What are Ecosystem Services?
Every kind of responsible forest management, even non-intervention, generates various positive outcomes. Usually, just a few of them are quantified and evaluated from a market point of view, such as timber and food. However, they are made up of much more1:
- Provisioning services: such as food, forest products and water
- Regulating services: such as regulation of floods, drought, land degradation, air quality, climate and disease
- Supporting services: such as soil formation and nutrient cycling
- Cultural services and cultural values: such as recreational, spiritual, religious and other non-material benefits
In 2018, FSC introduced the FSC Ecosystem Services procedure, which aims to reward existing and potential Forest Management certificate holders to quantify a wider range of positive impacts of the forest management and make them market-viable.
This procedure works towards:
- Increasing the value of sustainable forest management, highlighting the positive benefits generated from it
- Increase visibility and credibility to a wider range of consumers and forest users, even outside of the timber market
- Help investors to support and identify sustainable forest management in a credible and verified way
How can we help?
As an FSC-accredited certification body, Soil Association Certification Forestry can evaluate conformance with the procedure at the same time as carrying out a forest management evaluation. We want to assist both our current and potential clients in demonstrating the positive impact of their certified forest management units.
If you’re not currently certified to FSC Forest Management standards and you’re interested in Ecosystems Services, please take a look at our Forest Management page for more details on the next steps to take.
If you are certified to FSC Forest Management standards, please read on.
How does it work?
The FSC Ecosystem Services procedure gives Forest Managers the opportunity to verify specific positive impacts their forestry activities have on ecosystem services. It also provides new tools to strengthen incentives for the protection of these services.
- Impact Verification: The new procedure provides a global approach that FSC certificate holders can use to demonstrate the impact of their forest management activities on ecosystem services
- Ecosystem Services Claims: Verified impacts give rise to FSC Ecosystem Services claims that will provide governments, investors, buyers and businesses with assurance that the impacts they're paying for do preserve ecosystem services
Forest managers should follow the seven steps of the FSC Ecosystem Services procedure to help them demonstrate the impact of conserving or restoring ecosystem services to their forest. An example might include providing more footpaths and resurfacing a small area of land to provide parking, which would facilitate and encourage people to visit your forest, as part of working towards offering Recreational Services.
Once these impacts are verified by an FSC-accredited certification body, the Forest Managers can then use FSC trademarks to promote verified impacts via ecosystem services claims, enabling you to seek rewards from your customers, investors, financial sponsors and users etc. as well as improving communication and reputation with stakeholders.
"We hope that the Ecosystem Services approach helps to reverse the trend of forests being undervalued, by helping forest managers and communities to generate the recognition and value forests deserve for the multiple benefits they bring. Forests protect soil and water sources, provide beautiful landscapes, preserve biodiversity and store carbon. Despite this, we’re living in a world where forests are being undervalued, deforestation continues at pace, and climate change is a very real threat. Ecosystem Services is one way that we’re protecting the world’s forests upon which we all depend."Kevin Jones – Head of Forestry, Soil Association Certification
What do I do next?
Get in touch with the Soil Association Certification Forestry team representative for your area to find out more about Ecosystem Services certification and what we can do to help you.Contact us
1 Based on R. Hassan, R. Scholes and N. Ash (2005), “Ecosystems and Human Wellbeing: Synthesis (The Millenium Ecosystem Assessment Series)” – Island Press, Washington D.C. (from FSC-STD-01-001 V5-0)