FSC certified now: 3.5 mln forest hectares in the Green Heart of Europe | WWF

FSC certified now: 3.5 mln forest hectares in the Green Heart of Europe



Posted on 23 January 2015
FSC logo painted on sustainable harvested logs.
© N.C. Turner / WWF
About 3.5 million forest hectares in Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine are now certified according to the sustainability criteria of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This is an area a bit bigger than the size of Belgium. It represents about 17% of the forests in these three countries, which are part of the Green Heart of Europe -- an area spanning the Danube basin and the Carpathians.

An increasing area of certified forests means that our region’s supermarkets offer a growing number of wood and forest products with the FSC logo. Some 427 companies, forest and hunting enterprises now have the FSC certificate.

You can choose products with the FSC logo when you shop to help sustainable forestry. The logo guarantees that the products you buy were produced while protecting nature and the rights of forest workers, local communities and indigenous peoples. Forest materials can be found in a wide range of products: milk and juice cartons, makeup brushes, rubber gloves, corks, charcoal, books, etc.

WWF currently considers FSC the most credible forest certification system. The FSC logo means the product you buy comes from a forest that is managed in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally sound. Globally, about 185 million hectares of forests and about 28,000 companies that trade in forest products have been certified by FSC.

The Danube-Carpathian region contains many of Europe’s most valuable forest habitats and resources. The largest areas of virgin and natural forests in Europe outside northern Scandinavia and Russia are here.
However, poor management is one of the biggest threats to conserving these areas. This is why a key element of the Danube-Carpathian region's forestry programme is to promote sustainable forest management. If well managed, our forests can provide a sustainable income to thousands of people and deliver myriads of benefits, from climate regulation to tourism.
 
"Our goal is to ensure the sustainable management of at least 30% of all forests in the Green Heart of Europe by 2020," says Costel Bucur, Head of Forests & Protected Areas at WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme.
 
The FSC system of forest certification is the first worldwide labelling system of forest products. It inspects and tracks timber, pulp and other forest products to ensure they have been harvested according to a strict set of guidelines. WWF has been the major force for promoting FSC certification in the region for forests and hunting enterprises, timber producers, wood processors and purchasers. 

Developing national FSC standards is an important step in this process because it is necessary to harmonize international forestry standards to local specifics. National standards are crucial both for effective certification and for the consequent auditing of already certified forests. Three National FSC Standard Development Groups have already been established In Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine.
 
WWF also took the lead in coordinating the Controlled Wood Risk Assessment (CWRA) process at a national level for Bulgaria and Romania and supports the process in Ukraine. This assessment can be used by responsible companies who want to be sure they are purchasing timber from controlled sources. The national CWRA for Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine are now officially approved by the FSC International Centre, Policy and Standards Unit. 
FSC logo painted on sustainable harvested logs.
© N.C. Turner / WWF Enlarge
The Danube-Carpathian region contains many of Europe’s most valuable forest habitats
© Michel Gunther Enlarge
The Green Heart of Europe spans the Danube basin and the Carpathians
© Danube-Carpathian Programme Enlarge