Significant Changes to the PEFC standard
Press Release 28th of April 2021
The new PEFC standard for Sustainable Forest management (SFM) in Finland meets the challenges of ecological, social and economic sustainability. Especially the requirements concerning environment and water protection are improved significantly. The standard will be published in summer 2021 and implemented in 2022-2023.
“The updated PEFC requirements mean significant additional investment in valuable habitats, well-being of forest-dependent species and game, and water protection. Changed requirements, in which different aspects of sustainability have been reconciled, impose costs on forest owners but meet the challenges of maintaining biodiversity. New measures to combat the gray economy will support opportunities for fair entrepreneurship in the forestry sector. The standard expands to non-wood forest products (NWFPs) such as mushrooms and berries, as well as the cultivation of Christmas trees and decorative coniferous sprigs, which indicate the diverse possibilities of forests,” lists Auvo Kaivola, Secretary General of PEFC Finland.
Significantly more of retention trees and dead wood will increase the structural features of forests that are important for biodiversity. Wider buffer zones and continuous-cover silviculture next to the water bodies and open mires are a significant investment in cleaner waters and more diverse forest nature. Prescribed burning criterion includes forest fires larger than two hectares, on which some of the charred and burnt wood must be left unharvested. Thus, also smaller burnt areas will be documented and managed in a manner which maintains resources for species dependent on charred and dying wood material.
Maintaining the growing stock of forest as a carbon sink is ensured not only by taking care of silviculture and growth conditions, but also by making sure that the harvesting volumes do not exceed the growth over a five-year period. Doubling the amount of retention trees contributes to increasing soil carbon storage and forest carbon sequestration. Previously managed peatlands that have regained their natural-like state shall be protected. The requirements state that climate effects shall be taken into account in peatland forest management.
Compliance with the Finnish legislation forms the basis on which ecological, social, and economic sustainability requirements of PEFC standard is built upon. Thus, PEFC has an essential role in promoting knowledge and compliance with the statutory requirements.
“A summary of the key changes to the standard is available. We anticipate the release of the standard in early summer 2021. An independent analysis concerning the effects of the standard changes will be available at the end of the summer 2021. The new requirements can be introduced following the international evaluation and approval process of PEFC. The forestry actors will start to apply the new requirements in 2022 and external audits will be carried out against the new requirements in the following year 2023,” Kaivola summarizes about the future stages of the PEFC standard.
Summary : Key Changes of the PEFC Standard
PEFC Finland – Finnish Forest Certification Council
Auvo Kaivola, Secretary General
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