Are forest stewards rewarded for their efforts?

Forest managers who adhere to the principles of responsible forest management through a well-recognized system such as FSC can achieve higher prices for their products, attract new customers and enter new markets. 

They may also benefit from advantageous loans or tax reductions. However, such benefits do not always sufficiently outweigh the investments and operational costs needed to develop and implement responsible management systems – particularly when there is competition with products from exploitative or illegal logging.

Providing rewards for the supply of ecosystem services, known as Payments for Environmental Services (PES), is a mechanism for compensating local communities. It is based on the notion that land owners and forest managers should have incentives for maintaining forest cover, productivity and integrity. These payments may be made by the immediate beneficiaries of such services, by companies compensating for environmental damage caused in other areas or by governments wanting to prevent land degradation and disasters.

FSC supports the idea of additional payments for forest stewardship, as it believes that forest management according to the FSC Principles & Criteria produces many impacts and improvements that are usually not adequately reflected in product prices and market benefits.

FSC has become the global benchmark for responsible forest management, based on a truly participatory governance model and rigorous certification system that allows buyers and consumers to differentiate products from well-managed forests. FSC is therefore well positioned to extend its market-based approach and promote ecosystem services.