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Impacts of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Forest Certification in North America

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We conducted e-mail surveys of organizations that had received forest management certification under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in the United States and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) in the United States and Canada to determine if forest certification has changed forest management practices and if the changes are practically and statistically different between systems. The results indicate that forest certification prompted substantial changes in practices. On average, firms implemented 13‐14 changes in forestry, environmental, social, and economic/system practices to obtain or maintain forest certification. Although there was no statistical difference between systems in the total number of changes, there were many differences in the implementation of specific forest practices, with FSC firms required to make more environmental/forest management changes and SFI firms required to make more economic/system changes. Forest managers believed that the benefits of forest certification were greater than the disadvantages. SFI managers rated the benefits of forest certification higher than FSC managers, but also rated the disadvantages higher. Most organizations felt certification accomplished their objectives and were likely to recertify, thus indicating their endorsement of the process.
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Keywords: certification; evaluation; impacts; sustainability

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-03-01

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    The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.675 (Rank 20/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 39.6 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

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    Forest Science
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