On-line ISSN 0717-9200
TRICALLOTIS, Marcos. In what context did forest certification in Chile arise?: Environmental, social and economic performance of non-certified firms. Bosque (Valdivia), 2016, vol.37, no.3, p.613-624. ISSN 0717-9200.
Worldwide, the forest industry faces sustainability challenges that have not been adequately addressed by traditional governance instruments. It is necessary to deepen understanding, from a social sciences standpoint, of the sustainability issues faced by the Chilean forest sector and how - within that context - forest certification arose and evolved. The empirical research reported in this paper sampled 11 plantation forestry and 8 native forestry businesses, and conducted semi-structured interviews of 72 forest industry and forest governance stakeholders in 2013-2014. Results indicated that large plantation forestry businesses, whilst the most economically successful, experienced the largest gaps in environmental and social sustainability - given their covered area. In contrast, native forest owners and small and medium-sized plantation forestry businesses had fewer environmental and social issues, but they were also less economically successful. Due to the perception of international markets and some key stakeholders that traditional state governance was not adequately addressing these sustainability issues, FSC certification arose as an alternative governance mechanism. FSC certification was initially strongly resisted by the large-scale plantation forestry industry, which, with the assistance of the Chilean government, developed a competing national certification scheme: CERTFOR. More recently, major plantation forestry businesses have also adopted FSC certification. It is evident from the research that regulatory changes in plantation forestry, to set clear and equitable rules for all the actors, would enhance achievement of environmental and social sustainability objectives; and that a more appropriate incentive program is necessary to encourage the sustainable management of native forests.
Keywords: forest governance; forest certification; plantation forests; native forests; sustainability.
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