Thresa Henderson is a co-author of the chapter, “Costs and Benefits of Forest Certification in the Americas” in the Natural Resources: Management, Economic Development, and Protection (Nova Science Publishers, Inc. 2009, Jeanette B. Pauling Editor). The book presents research on topics relating to renewable and non-renewable natural resources and the sustainability of these resources in today’s environment.
The chapter reviews the development of several Forest Certification systems such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC), as well as the evolution of these systems to date. To provide a means to analyze these systems as to their effectiveness in forest industry, the team completed research over several years relating to the actual costs and perceived benefits using interview and survey methodologies. Research results are presented along with analyses of the data collected.
The research indicated that the implementation of a certification system by forestland owners resulted in better forest management and improved forest management practices. Also, the costs and benefits of such systems were considered critical variables in the decision-making process during implementation and continuation of these systems. Land ownership size directly impacted the total cost. Benefits, though hard to measure, were recognized by most landowners both economically and environmentally.