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Plantations revisited

FSC General Assembly report 7 July 2011

As noted by one FSC member, the issue of plantations is a great divider. This was clear during negotiations, where Motion 18 on plantations was changed substantially. The original motion specifically asked FSC to consider “under what circumstances and conditions post 1994 converted plantations may be able to be FSC certified”.

The final motion passed by the members on Friday 1 July merely calls for completion of the Plantations Review that was left uncompleted in 2009, and does not refer specifically to the conversion criterion. The change reflects the controversies surrounding the conversion cut-off date, as well as the fact that there are other points of concern regarding plantations.

During discussions, the need for clear messages from FSC about its approach to plantations was highlighted. The issue is very emotional among stakeholders, and not only within the FSC system. Prior to and during the General Assembly events, FSC’ moves on plantations were closely watched from the outside by several observers and NGOs. 

While the one-stop website for forest conservation Mongabay represented various aspects and arguments surrounding Motion 18, giving voice to opposing views on the topic, the Ecological Internet went ahead with a campaign against what they perceived as a worsening of "FSC's ecocidal greenwash” before the issue was due to be discussed at the General Assembly. 

The membership passed motion 18 along with a related motion (21), asking FSC to provide guidance on how to mitigate the impacts of intensive management, in line with the recommendations by the FSC Plantations Policy Working Group.

Related articles
Plantations - the step-child of FSC (7/7 2011)
Sabah: Conversion criterion hinders expansion of FSC (27/6 2011)
Impact study confirms benefits of FSC certification in Brazilian plantations (4/11 2008)