FSC has been taking care of the world’s forests for over two decades, helping to ensure that forests and their ecosystem services are responsibly managed. Building on existing world-renowned certification, FSC is developing new tools that will show businesses, investors, and governments that these natural benefits are being preserved, and will reward participating FSC certificate holders for doing so.

In collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme, FSC launched the six-year Forest Certification for Ecosystem Services (ForCES) project in 2011 as an incentive for the preservation of valuable ecosystem services in responsibly managed forests. The aim of the project is to adapt FSC standards to emerging ecosystem services markets and target ecosystem services with present or future market potential. The ForCES project is being implemented and tested in several pilot sites, specifically in the following countries: Chile, Indonesia, Nepal and Vietnam.

From the concept to the system, there has been key steps that the documents below reflect:

2015 - FSC Ecosystem Services Strategy

FSC-certified forests provide a range products and services. FSC forest management and chain of custody certification already provides businesses and consumers with general assurance that certified forest products come from responsibly managed forests. New ES tools can make FSC certification more applicable to ES markets by disclosing information about the impact of FSC- certified forest stewardship on the provision of ES. Research commissioned by FSC on ES market conditions suggests opportunities exist for FSC-certified ES in biodiversity, watershed, carbon and ecotourism markets.

Increased access of FSC certificate holders to ES markets can help make certification viable for smallholders and contribute to the recognition of the full value of forests, assisting in a shift of the global forest trend away from deforestation and forest degradation toward sustainable use, conservation and restoration.

In 2015, to do so FSC committed to develop new tools for certificate holders to access emerging ES markets, which:
1. Strengthen the incentive for responsible forest management, forest protection and forest restoration
2. Deliver greater value for certificate holders, communities, and other actors along the supply chain.

2011 - ForCES Project Document

Payment for Eco-systems Services (PES) will be a key element in strategies for mainstreaming forest biodiversity conservation and maintaining essential support services, and for meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). The GEF-supported Millennium Ecosystem Assessment concluded that more than 60% of the world’s ecosystems services are either degraded or used unsustainably.

The Stern Report in 2006 highlighted the effect of deforestation on climate change through carbon emissions while the role of forests in watershed protection is critical for water supply services downstream, for agriculture and flood prevention. Biodiversity is closely linked with the functioning of various forest ecosystems services such as soil conservation, genetic resources conservation and carbon sequestration, and as a result depredation of the forest fauna and flora can have severe consequences for human welfare.

Find below, the approved Project Document from 2011. The document describes the project concept from its causes to its proposed approach to address the issues:

2011 - FSC Climate Change Engagement

The proposed strategic framework is meant to guide FSC as a standard-setting organisation for forest stewardship on how to position and evolve itself over the coming years in order to maintain this leadership role.

This strategic framework is the outcome of an exploration process mandated by the 2008 FSC® General Assembly, Policy Motion No. 43. It is based upon the report by the FSC Forest Carbon Working Group (FCWG) to the FSC Board of Directors which had been approved at their 56th meeting held March 30 to April 1, 2011. With the submission of their report to the FSC Board, the term of the FCWG had formally ended. The FCWG report had been reedited by the FSC Secretariat and made available to the FSC membership and the public in June 2011. This strategy paper constitutes an extract from that report. No changes have been made to the substance and set of objectives and goals formulated in the original report.