Evaluating the impact of Forest Stewardship Council certification on forest loss rates in Cameroon's logging concessions.
As deforestation continues to threaten ecosystems and human livelihoods, numerous interventions have been designed to promote sustainable futures for forests and communities around the world. Many have been implemented with some success in the tropics, particularly when governments allocate land as protected areas or as sanctioned logging concessions. One market-based incentive system was introduced by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an independent, non-governmental organization founded in 1993. The voluntary certification program for forest management enables logging companies to be recognized for adherence to FSC’s Principles and Standards, which provide criteria for socially-, environmentally- and economically- responsible forest management practices. In Central Africa, the country of Cameroon became involved with FSC in 1998, with the first forest management certificate awarded in 2005. Logging occurs in most of the 114 forest management units, which are parcels of land located in the southern portion of the country.
This study attempts to understand how FSC certification affects the rate of forest loss inside logging concessions in Cameroon. The study period begins with a baseline year of 2000 and ends in 2012. We use statistical matching methods to control for several biophysical and accessibility characteristics of the concession, and use for the outcome variable the forest loss raster provided by the Global Forest Change dataset from Hansen et al. (2013). Findings will show through statistical matching methods how FSC-certification affects the rate of forest loss inside logging concessions. Overall, we believe the statistical matching methods can provide a robust comparison that controls for influential factors, and the approaches used in this study can be adapted for FSC impact evaluation in other countries.
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