Social and environmental impacts of forest management certification in Indonesia
In response to unsustainable timber production in tropical forest concessions, voluntary forest management certification programs such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) have been introduced to improve environmental, social, and economic performance over existing management practices. However, despite the proliferation of forest certification over the past two decades, few studies have evaluated its effectiveness. Using temporally and spatially explicit village level data on environmental and socioeconomic indicators in Kalimantan (Indonesia), we evaluate the performance of the FSC certified timber concessions compared to noncertified logging concessions. Employing triple difference matching estimators, we find that between 2000 and 2008 FSC reduced aggregate deforestation by 5 percentage points and the incidence of air pollution by 31%. It had no statistically significant impacts on fire incidence or core areas, but increased forest perforation by 4 km on average. In addition, we find that FSC reduced firewood dependence (by 33%), respiratory infections (by 32%) and malnutrition (by 1 person) on average. By conducting a rigorous statistical evaluation of FSC certification in a biodiversity hotspot such as Indonesia, we provide a reference point and offer methodological and data lessons that could aid the design of ongoing and future evaluations of a potentially critical conservation policy.
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- Journal article
- Daniela Miteva
- Colby Loucks
- Subhrendu Pattanayak