The Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC™), an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests, today held a media conference on sustainable forest management entitled “From Deforestation to Forests for all Forever”.
The media conference was held as one of its many strategic initiatives to tackling tropical deforestation with Malaysian stakeholders since its Kuala Lumpur office opened in November last year.
The aim of the dialogue was to raise awareness and discuss solutions to combat deforestation, and address how stakeholders in Malaysia could play a role in ensuring that forests are sustained through strategies that involve communities, government commitment and action, and business and economic support.
Uncontrolled deforestation is a major global concern today as countries grapple to balance economic and social development and the need to preserve nature and environment.
“Despite the value of forests, they continue to be destroyed by human practices like illegal logging, clearing of forests for agricultural use and unmanaged removal of timber and other forest products. Since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and despite the multitude of efforts to save the planet’s forests, we have lost 7% of forests across the globe”, said Kim Carstensen, Director General of FSC.
However, Carstensen added that the good news was that forests were renewable if managed correctly. “Through sustainable forest management, forests are logged in a way that is environmentally sustainable, socially appropriate and economically viable. Thus, it is possible to use materials from forests to meet the needs of society while also ensuring that forests remain for generations to come,” he said.
The benefits of the FSC certification for well-managed forests include more responsible logging, retention of land under natural forest cover, management and monitoring of High Conservation Value (HCV) areas, independent auditing and monitoring and greater stakeholder participation.
Non-certified forest reserves face a higher risk of degradation, degazettement, and conversion to non-forest land use. These will lead to loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, among other things.
“The FSC sets the standards for voluntary responsible forest management and uses the power of the marketplace to protect forests for future generations.Tropical forests are complex and sensitive ecosystems. Certification by FSC ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits”, said Carstensen.
The organization brings stakeholders together to implement solutions that lead to positive and locally relevant impacts for forests, environment and people. While certification forms the core of the FSC’s offerings, its convening power gives it a unique ability to create new tools to complement certification and address global forest challenges more comprehensively.
Anthony Sebastian, Chairperson of the International Board of Directors of FSC, said, “We are working closely with national stakeholders including many businesses, governments and civil society groups across South East Asia to create standards at the local level to bring about meaningful change. The region is very diverse, each with a different set of conditions and challenges. We are currently supporting 11 multi-stakeholder national standards processes across the region, including in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.”
Sebastian added that the organization was committed to tackling the tropical forest challenge in countries like Malaysia. To achieve meaningful results, it would require a transformative shift in the political and economic drivers of forest management, so that responsible practices were promoted.
The number of FSC certified areas in Malaysia currently stands at 12 and with a total coverage of 673,334 hectares. In the supply chain there are 173 Malaysian companies that are ‘Chain of Custody’ certified and access the market benefits available by using FSC labels on certified forest products.
FSC will continue to propagate its mission and values at the grassroots level and build linkages between companies, tropical timber buyers, supply-chain actors, governments, stakeholders and the general public of Malaysia. The organization will continue to serve existing Malaysian certificate holders, identify potential new certificate holders, monitor market trends, and create a national standard.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent non-governmental organization that promotes environmentally sound, socially beneficial, and economically prosperous management of the world’s forests. FSC was created in 1993 to help consumers and businesses identify products from well-managed forests. FSC sets standards by which forests are certified, offering credible verification to people who are buying wood and wood products. Currently more than 180 million hectares and 30,000 businesses are certified to FSC standards world-wide. For more information, please visit www.fsc.org.
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