Certification as a Tool for Sustainable Forest Management and Good Governance - South East Asia

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Although only 5% of the world's forests are located in Southeast Asia, the region accounted for about 17% of global forest loss in 2000 to 2010: An area about the size of Vietnam was deforested in the past decade. Illegal logging is one major force driving deforestation and degradation. This results in loss of biodiversity, tax revenue and the potential of forest resources to contribute to poverty reduction.

In tropical regions, the challenge of improving forest management to meet certification standards, and increasing pressure to prove timber legality, has led to development of verification schemes. These schemes offer third-party assurance of legality, and, potentially, a step-wise approach to full certification.

However several issues need to be addressed:

  • There are several well established certification schemes and an increasing number of verification schemes. The extent to which they offer proof of compliance with national laws and regulations is not well understood.
  • Certification is seen as a complementary tool for law enforcement to stimulate compliance and reduce illegality; however its enforcement power might be limited by its voluntary nature and other constraints.

Currently there is a proliferation of privat