FSC offers public consultation on ecosystem services

Ecosystem services – the benefits that people receive from nature – take many forms. They range from goods that can be harvested, traded and consumed to less tangible benefits such as carbon sequestration, to mitigate climate change or biological diversity conservation.

Many communities that depend on forests for their livelihoods rely on specific ecosystem services for their social and economic well-being. At the same time, businesses of every size use raw materials provided by ecosystems to generate wealth, becoming an important source of social and economic development.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has drafted two documents to help forest managers access the benefits that can be derived from ecosystem services markets. With these docu-ments, forest managers and communities that are FSC certified will be supported to access ecosystem services markets through their FSC certification whereas those that are not yet certified will be offered an incentive to obtain FSC certification. These documents are:

•    A procedural document on demonstrating the impact of forest stewardship on ecosys-tem services
•    A discussion paper on market tools and trademark use for demonstrated impacts of ecosystem services.

The procedure and market tools will help enable responses to the global challenges facing forest governance and economic systems in many parts of the world where deforestation, for-est degradation and related social inequities are a reality. They also aim to increase the confi-dence of governments, investors, buyers and businesses in ecosystem services markets, and can be used to demonstrate the impact investments have on preserving ecosystem services.

Prior to completing the definitive versions of these documents, FSC has launched a public consultation and is inviting interested stakeholders to provide valuable feedback for each of the two documents available.

To access the FSC consultations platform go to https://consultation-platform.fsc.org/ and follow the simple registration process. Instructions are provided throughout the user-friendly consultation, and partial responses may be saved to complete later.

The consultation, in English and Spanish, will be available until 21 May 2017. A Word ver-sion of the documents for translation to other languages may be obtained upon request from Petra Westerlaan (p.westerlaan@fsc.org) or Rosario Galan (r.galan@fsc.org).

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Alex Dunn