Public consultation on PEFC ST 1003:201X, Enquiry Draft, Sustainable Forest Management – Requirements

PEFC ST 1003:201X, Enquiry Draft, Sustainable Forest Management – Requirements

8 Operations

8.1 Criterion 1: Maintenance or appropriate enhancement of forest resources and their contribution to the global carbon cycle

8.1.1     The standard requires that management shall aim to maintain or increase forests and their ecosystem services and maintain or enhance the economic, ecological, cultural and social values of forest resources.

8.1.2     The standard requires that the quantity and quality of the forest resources and the capacity of the forest to store and sequester carbon shall be safeguarded in the medium and long term by balancing harvesting and growth rates, using appropriate silvicultural measures and preferring techniques that minimise adverse impacts on forest resources.

8.1.3     The standard requires that climate positive practices in management operations, such as green-house gas emission reductions and efficient use of resources shall be encouraged.

8.1.4     The standard requires that forest conversion shall not occur unless in justified circumstances where the conversion:

a) is in compliance with national and regional policy and legislation applicable for land use and forest management and is a result of national or regional land-use planning governed by a governmental or other official authority including consultation with affected stakeholders; and

b) entails a small proportion (no greater than 5 %) of forest type managed by an organisation; and

c) does not have negative impacts on ecologically important forest areas , culturally and socially significant areas, or other protected areas; and

d) does not destroy areas of significantly high carbon stock; and

e) makes a contribution to long-term conservation, economic, and social benefits.

8.1.5     The standard requires that reforestation and afforestation of ecologically important non-forest ecosystems shall not occur unless in justified circumstances where the conversion:

a) is in compliance with national and regional policy and legislation applicable for land use and forest management and is a result of national or regional land-use planning governed by a governmental or other official authority; and

b) is established based on a decision making where affected stakeholders have opportunities to contribute to the decision-making on conversion through transparent and participatory consultation processes; and

c) does not have negative impacts on threatened (including vulnerable, rare or endangered) non-forest ecosystems, culturally and socially significant areas, important habitats of threatened species or other protected areas; and

d) entails a small proportion of the ecologically important non-forest ecosystem managed by an organisation

e) does not destroy areas of significantly high carbon stock; and

f) makes a contribution to long-term conservation, economic, and social benefits.

8.1.6     The standard requires that conversion of severely degraded forests to forest plantations shall be considered, whenever it can add economic, ecological, social and/or cultural value. Precondition of adding such value are circumstances where the conversion:

a) is in compliance with national and regional policy and legislation applicable for land use and forest management and is a result of national or regional land-use planning governed by a governmental or other official authority; and

b) is established based on a decision making where affected stakeholders have opportunities to contribute to the decision-making on conversion through transparent and participatory consultation processes; and

c) has a positive impact on long-term carbon sequestration capacity of forest vegetation; and

d) does not have negative impacts on ecologically important forest areas, culturally and socially significant areas, or other protected areas; and

e) safeguards protective functions of forests for society and other regulating or supporting ecosystem services; and

f) safeguards socio economic functions of forests, including the recreational function and aesthetic values of forests and other cultural services; and

g) has a land history providing evidence that the degradation is not the consequence of poor forest management practices.

NOTE     An appropriate means for providing evidence for a land history could be a biological assessment by technical experts considering rotation periods to examine whether the area has been a) recovered; b) process or recovery; c) still degraded.

8.2 Criterion 2: Maintenance of forest ecosystem health and vitality

8.2.1     The standard requires that health and vitality of forest ecosystems shall be maintained or enhanced and degraded forest ecosystems shall be rehabilitated wherever and as far as economically feasible, by making best use of natural structures and processes and

8.2.2     The standard requires that adequate genetic, species and structural diversity shall be encouraged or maintained to enhance the stability, vitality and resilience of the forests to adverse environmental factors and strengthen natural regulation mechanisms.

8.2.3     The standard requires that use of fire shall be limited to regions where fire is an essential tool in forest management for regeneration, wildfire protection and habitat management or a recognized practice of indigenous people. In these cases adequate management and control measures shall be taken.

8.2.4       The standard requires that appropriate forest management practices such as reforestation and afforestation with tree species and provenances that are suited to the site conditions or the use of tending, harvesting and transport techniques that minimise tree and/or soil damages shall be applied.

8.2.5       The standard requires that the indiscriminate disposal of waste on forest land shall be strictly avoided. Non-organic waste and litter shall be collected, stored in designated areas and removed in an environmentally-responsible manner. The spillage of oil or fuel during forest management operations shall be prevented.

8.2.6     The standard requires that integrated pest management, appropriate silviculture alternatives and other biological measures shall be preferred to minimise the use of pesticides.

8.2.7     The standard requires that any use of pesticides is documented.

8.2.8     The standard requires that the WHO Type 1A and 1B pesticides and other highly toxic pesticides shall be prohibited, except where no other viable alternative is available. Any exception to the usage of WHO Type 1A and 1B pesticides shall be defined in the national standard.

8.2.9     The standard requires that pesticides, such as chlorinated hydrocarbons whose derivates remain biologically active and accumulate in the food chain beyond their intended use, and any pesticides banned by international agreement, shall be prohibited.

NOTE     “Pesticides banned by international agreements” are defined in the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

8.2.10   The standard requires that the use of pesticides shall follow the instructions given by the pesticide producer and be implemented with proper equipment by trained personnel.

8.2.11   The standard requires that where fertilisers are used, they shall be applied in a controlled manner and with due consideration for the environment. Fertilizer use shall not be an alternative to appropriate soil nutrient management.

Criterion 3: Maintenance and encouragement of productive functions of forests (wood and non-wood)

8.3.1     The standard requires that the capability of forests to produce a range of wood and non-wood forest products and services on a sustainable basis shall be maintained.

8.3.2     The standard requires that sound economic performance shall be pursued, taking into account possibilities for new markets and economic activities in connection with all relevant goods and services of forests.

8.3.3     The standard requires that management, harvesting and regeneration operations shall be carried out in time, and in a way that does not reduce the productive capacity of the site, for example by avoiding damage to soil and retained stands and trees.

8.3.4     The standard requires that harvesting levels of both wood and non-wood forest products shall not exceed a rate that can be sustained in the long term, and optimum use shall be made of the harvested products.

8.3.5     The standard requires that adequate infrastructure such as roads, skid tracks or bridges shall be planned, established and maintained to ensure efficient delivery of goods and services while minimising negative impacts on the environment.

8.4 Criterion 4: Maintenance, conservation and appropriate enhancement of biological diversity in forest ecosystems

8.4.1     The standard requires that management planning shall aim to maintain, conserve or enhance biodiversity on landscape, ecosystem, species and genetic levels.

8.4.2     The standard requires that inventory, mapping and planning of forest resources shall identify, protect, conserve or set aside ecologically important forest areas.

NOTE     This does not prohibit forest management activities that do not damage the important ecologic values of those biotopes.

8.4.3     The standard requires that protected, threatened and endangered plant and animal species shall not be exploited for commercial purposes. Where necessary, measures shall be taken for their protection and, where relevant, to increase their population.

NOTE: The requirement does not preclude trade according to CITES requirements.

8.4.4     The standard requires that successful regeneration shall be ensured through natural regeneration or planting that is adequate to ensure the quantity and quality of the forest resources.

8.4.5     The standard requires that for reforestation and afforestation origins of native species that are well-adapted to site conditions shall be preferred. Only those introduced species, provenances or varieties shall be used whose impacts on the ecosystem and on the genetic integrity of native species and local provenances have been evaluated, and if negative impacts can be avoided or minimised.

NOTE     CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) Guiding Principles for the Prevention, Introduction, and Mitigation of Impacts of Alien Species that Threaten Ecosystems, Habitats or Species are recognised as guidance for avoidance of invasive species.

8.4.6     The standard requires that afforestation, reforestation and other tree planting activities that contribute to the improvement and restoration of ecological connectivity shall be promoted.

8.4.7     The standard requires that genetically-modified trees shall not be used.

NOTE     The restriction on the usage of genetically-modified trees has been adopted by PEFC General Assembly based on the Precautionary Principle. Until enough scientific data on genetically-modified trees indicates that impacts on human and animal health and the environment are equivalent to, or more positive than, those presented by trees genetically improved by traditional methods, no genetically-modified trees will be used.

8.4.8     The standard requires that a diversity of both horizontal and vertical structures and the diversity of species such as mixed stands shall be promoted, where appropriate. The practices shall also aim to maintain or restore landscape diversity.

8.4.9     The standard requires that traditional management practices that create valuable ecosystems on appropriate sites shall be supported, where appropriate.

8.4.10   The standard requires that tending and harvesting operations shall be conducted in a way that does not cause lasting damage to ecosystems. Wherever possible, practical measures shall be taken to maintain or improve biological diversity.

8.4.11 The standard requires that infrastructure shall be planned and constructed in a way that minimises damage to ecosystems, especially to rare, sensitive or representative ecosystems and genetic reserves, and that takes threatened or other key species – in particular their migration patterns – into consideration.

8.4.12   The standard requires that, with due regard to management objectives, measures shall be taken to control the pressure of animal populations on forest regeneration and growth as well as on biodiversity.

8.4.13   The standard requires that standing and fallen dead wood, hollow trees, old groves and rare tree species shall be left in quantities and distribution necessary to safeguard biological diversity, taking into account the potential effect on the health and stability of forests and on surrounding ecosystems.

8.5 Criterion 5: Maintenance or appropriate enhancement of protective functions in forest management (notably soil and water)

8.5.1 The standard requires that protective functions of forests for society, such as their potential role in erosion control, flood prevention, water purification, climate regulation, carbon sequestration and other regulating or supporting ecosystem services shall be maintained or enhanced.

8.5.2     The standard requires that areas that fulfil specific and recognised protective functions for society shall be mapped, and forest management plans and operations shall ensure the maintenance or enhancement of these functions.

8.5.3     The standard requires that special care shall be given to forestry operations on sensitive soils and erosion-prone areas as well as in areas where operations might lead to excessive erosion of soil into watercourses. Techniques applied and the machinery used shall be suitable for such areas. Special measures shall be taken to minimize the pressure of animal populations on these areas.

8.5.4     The standard requires that special care shall be given to forestry operations in forest areas with water protection functions to avoid adverse effects on the quality and quantity of water resources. Inappropriate use of chemicals or other harmful substances or inappropriate silvicultural practices influencing water quality in a harmful way shall be avoided. Downstream water balance and water quality shall not be significantly affected by the operation.

8.5.5     The standard requires that construction of roads, bridges and other infrastructure shall be carried out in a manner that minimises bare soil exposure, avoids the introduction of soil into watercourses and preserves the natural level and function of water courses and river beds. Proper road drainage facilities shall be installed and maintained.

8.6 Maintenance or appropriate enhancement of socio-economic functions and conditions

8.6.1     The standard requires that forest management planning shall aim to respect all socio economic functions of forests.

8.6.2     The standard requires that adequate public access to forests for the purpose of recreation shall be provided taking into account respect for ownership rights, safety and the rights of others, the effects on forest resources and ecosystems, as well as compatibility with other functions of the forest.

8.6.3     The standard requires that sites with recognised specific historical cultural or spiritual significance and areas fundamental to meeting the needs of indigenous peoples and local communities (e.g. health, subsistence) shall be protected or managed in a way that takes due regard of the significance of the site.

8.6.4     The standard requires that management shall promote the long-term health and well-being of communities within or adjacent to the forest management area, where appropriate supported by engagement with local communities and indigenous peoples.

8.6.5     The standard requires that the best use shall be made of forest-related experience and traditional knowledge, innovations and practices such as those of forest owners, NGOs, local communities, and indigenous peoples. Equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge shall be encouraged.

8.6.6     The standard requires that management shall give due regard to the role of forestry in local economies. Special consideration shall be given to new opportunities for training and employment of local people, including indigenous peoples.

8.6.7 The standard requires that forest management shall contribute to research activities and data collection needed for sustainable forest management or support relevant research activities carried out by other organisations, as appropriate.