Following the adoption of Motion 23 on IFL (Intact Forest Landscapes) at the FSC General Assembly last week, FSC published an article on the topic. We relay it here.
FSC members pass a motion to ramp up landscape-level conservation of Intact Forest Landscapes and Indigenous Cultural Landscapes at the FSC General Assembly 2021-2022
The Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC) global membership has defined a new way forward in the protection of Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs) and Indigenous Cultural Landscapes (ICLs) in FSC certified areas and the adjacent forest landscape.
Intact forest landscapes (IFLs) are large unfragmented forest areas, undisturbed by roads or other industrial infrastructure, in which there has been no industrial timber harvesting in the past 30-70 years. They are recognized for their value in FSC's Core Principles.
The new approach combines requirements for protection of IFLs inside the certified areas with a focus on the status of IFLs in the surrounding landscape. It also requires recognition of the territories of Indigenous Peoples as so-called Indigenous Cultural Landscapes (ICLs). The approach is based on collaboration with key stakeholders, including concession holders and social and environmental stakeholders - to develop an equitable, culturally appropriate, inclusive and economically viable model of management and protection.
“Connecting the management of IFLs inside FSC certified forest management units with the wider conservation ambitions of the IFLs in the surrounding landscape will give us the basis for working with certificate holders, governments and stakeholders to foster further collaboration and engagement in forest protection that will be relevant for global climate and biodiversity efforts” said Kim Carstensen, FSC International Managing Director.
"This is a great moment for all of us who have been working on a solution that can finally solve the issue of IFLs and strengthen their protection. We all want to protect forests and need to adapt to the challenges of forest management today. With this motion, we have a tool box based on stakeholders engagement, landscape and below the canopy approaches which will allow to improve in the IFLs rules” said Caroline Duhesme, Director of Innovation and Strategy of ATIBT, FSC member, Economic Chamber/North. “We thank all the members at the GA for their strong support of an issue that does not necessarily concern the entire membership but poses a real risk for some countries to leave the FSC system” she added.
“WWF is really pleased that motion 23 has passed with such high support. We have seen that the implementation of the current motion on IFLs varies greatly from one context to another where regional approaches are needed to solve these issues so that FSC can move forward, conserving IFLs within a regionally appropriate context and in a way that works for local people” Fran Price, Global Forest Practice Lead at WWF, FSC founding member – Environmental Chamber/North.
The new approach will work best if complemented with incentives and benefits primarily aimed at supporting Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) to protect their forest and support their rights and livelihoods.
“We have already lost 80% of IFLs in the world and FSC can play a big role in protecting the remaining ones” said Grant Rosoman, senior advisor of forest solutions at Greenpeace International, Environmental Chamber/North. “We had proposed another motion to ensure benefits and incentives to local communities and Indigenous Peoples to enable protection of these areas. Unfortunately, the motion didn't get the support of the economic chamber, but we hope that FSC will nonetheless work to help mobilize financial support for these areas. Without support, they will no longer be there in the long run with disastrous consequences for climate change and biodiversity. We will all lose from this”.
To learn more about the different positions and views of our membership on this motion, please watch this video.
The adoption of Motion 23 is a relief for many actors in the sector. For Precious Woods, for example, an ATIBT member operating in Gabon and Brazil, this measure removes the fear of having its FSC certificate withdrawn for its operations in Brazil. Without this measure, its subsidiary Mil Madeiras, located in Itacoatiara (Amazonas), would have lost its FSC certification for 493,000 hectares in two years, or 18.2% of the total certified area in Amazonia.
Convinced that forest certification is an effective way to ensure sustainable management of tropical forests without depleting the resource in the long term, ATIBT is also pleased with this decision that ensures the sustainability of FSC certification. We now have to think about how to revise the IFL management rules and to provide the best possible support to the FSC and the standards development groups that will lead this process, in order to take into account global issues and local realities.