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Support the Conservation of Forests and the Preservation of Valuable Ecosystem Services

Chris Henschel | 04 October 2017 |

Natural Capital Partners is pleased to support Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC) as it tests and finalizes its new tools for valuing the conservation and restoration of forests. Read more about how the tools work from Chris Henschel, Manager of the Ecosystems Services Programme at FSC.

Support the Conservation of Forests and the Preservation of Valuable Ecosystem Services

“How do you adapt the world’s leading forest certification system so that it can be applied to emerging markets for ecosystem services?” That was the challenge FSC embraced when it set about developing new ecosystem services tools to help governments and businesses see the impact their payments and investments have on preserving ecosystem services.

Ecosystem services are the benefits that we obtain from nature. They provide society with a wide range of services from reliable flows of clean water to productive soil and carbon sequestration. People, companies, and societies rely on these services for raw material inputs, production processes, and climate stability. FSC’s ecosystem services tools focus on carbon sequestration and storage, biodiversity conservation, watershed services, soil conservation and recreational services on FSC-certified forests.

FSC is a global not-for-profit organization that sets the standards for what is a responsibly managed forest, both environmentally and socially. Building on FSC’s existing world-renowned certification system, FSC ecosystem service tools are designed to strengthen incentives for responsible forest management, forest conservation, and forest restoration; and to deliver greater value for FSC certificate holders: forest owners and communities, and other actors along the supply chain.

Over the past 13 months, FSC has been testing these new tools across eleven pilot sites around the world. Several impacts have been verified regarding the conservation of biodiversity in degraded landscapes, restoration of watersheds that provide drinking water to downstream communities, and reduced impact logging leading to avoided greenhouse gas emissions. We are taking lessons learned from these pilot sites forward as we finalize a robust set of ecosystem services tools that can be used along with FSC forest management certification.

The primary tool is a globally applicable seven-step approach that FSC-certified forest managers will be able to use to demonstrate the impact of their forest management activities on ecosystem services. Potential buyers of ecosystem services assets, investors and funders can find information and communicate about these impacts using complementary market tools. These include:

  • A publicly available Ecosystem Services Certification Document, containing all the information regarding the impact
  • An approved ecosystem services claim that both forest managers and buyers can use to communicate about the impact

FSC is now looking for sponsors of the first ecosystem services impacts verified using these new tools. Interested companies will help sustain these impacts be able to communicate their support of impacts verified according to FSC standards.

In my next blog post, I will provide more details about the forests in our project, and the conservation and restoration impacts that business can help support.

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