Press release: The Finnish PEFC forest certification requirements revised
PEFC Finland has approved the revised requirements for forest management, elaborated by the Standard Setting Working Group, and will forward the draft standard for assessment to PEFC International. The revised requirements will be taken into use in forestry after the assessment in the autumn of 2022, and will form the basis of external audits from 2023 onwards. The revised PEFC requirements have now been published. An extensive series of training events on the content of the new requirements for forest sector actors and forest owners will start in March.
The revised requirements cover the entire contents of the international PEFC standard and follow its structure. Undertaken in 2019–2021, the revision of the national PEFC requirements involved the representatives of over sixty organisations, who have different perspectives on forests and whose handiwork is visible in the outcome. The international assessment process, about to begin now, will ensure that the requirements for forest management and the implementation of the PEFC certification in Finland will meet international requirements. The assessment is expected to be completed in the autumn of 2022.
The PEFC certification has an extensive impact on Finnish forestry, covering as it does over 90 percent of the total area of commercial forests. The adoption of the revised requirements will be prepared for by the provision of training to forest organisations, entrepreneurs and forest owners.
The Tapio advisory and consulting company and Pellervo Economic Research PTT conducted an external assessment of the environmental and economic impact of the changed forest certification requirements. According to the assessment report, the revised PEFC standard includes many aspects which will enhance forest characteristics important for biodiversity. The promotion of forest health and biodiversity will also safeguard forests’ capability of binding and storing carbon.
The width of buffer zones to be left on the edges of open mires and along water bodies will increase, and only selection felling will be allowed on them. This will bring 3.5% of the forest area under continuous-cover forestry. The number and stoutness of retention trees will be increased from the current level. In harvesting, deadwood will be spared, and the creation of deadwood will be supported by leaving high stumps. Thickets will be spared and the creation of a mix of tree species will be promoted at all stages of forestry, bringing more diversity to forest nature.
The wider buffer zones will improve water protection by retaining solids and nutrients. Forested buffer zones will provide more shade to watercourses, helping to safeguard their biodiversity. Drained mires of low timber production capacity will be allowed to self-restore. Water bodies with a salmonid population endemic to Finland will be a special focus of safeguarding measures. The unhampered movement of migratory fish and other aquatic organisms will be promoted. Restrictions of forestry in groundwater areas will be extended.
As regards the promotion of social sustainability, the revised PEFC requirements focus especially on ensuring the competence of professionals, as well as on new measures to combat grey economy, to support opportunities for fair enterprise in the forest sector. The standard has been expanded to cover non-wood forest products, as well as the cultivation of Christmas trees and conifer greenery. The requirements include the management of land use change, as required by the international PEFC standard.
PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes) is an international forest certification system, promoting forestry that is ecologically, socially, economically and culturally sustainable.
Materials in English:
- Sustainable forest management – Requirements (standard PEFC FI 1002:2022)
- Impact assessment of revisions to PEFC FI criteria standard (Abstract of the report by Tapio Palvelut and Pellervo Economic Research PTT 21 Sept 2021)
- PEFC FI Standard Setting Working Group 2019–2021
- Forest certification vocabulary (PEFC FI 1000:2022)
- Group forest management certification -Requirements (PEFC FI 1001:2022)
- Requirements for certification bodies operating PEFC forest management certification (PEFC FI 1005:2022)
- Standard setting process for PEFC forest certification (PEFC FI 1006:2019)
For more information, contact:
PEFC Finland, General Secretary
+358 40 076 5437