The Importance and Challenges of Boreal Forests

By María Luisa Muñoz Cobo, FSC Latin America

The boreal forests, located in Canada (our general assembly host country), Russia, and Nordic countries, “represents a vast land of carbon storage for the planet”, in the words of Joanna Kerr, Executive Director for Greenpeace Canada.
Despite the importance of these forests, there are many factors that make their preservation more challenging. “With climate change, we’ve been experiencing natural disasters, such as the worst fires we have had in 60 years,” Kerr noted.
In addition, boreal forests are not just a great source of timber, but they are also home to many Indigenous Peoples in the region. As David Flood, representative of the Aboriginal Chamber in Canada says, resource extraction has led to systemic violations of Indigenous Peoples’ rights.
What can FSC do to ensure sustainability and integrity related to the use of this invaluable resource? Some stakeholders have suggested that in order to show our deep commitment to the rights of Indigenous Peoples, we can link indigenous cultural landscapes (ICLs) and intact forest landscapes (IFLs), because they believe that IFLs cannot be properly managed without the integration of the communities living in the forests.
Hans Djurberg from Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (a Swedish timber, pulp and paper manufacturer), pointed out that FSC certification has being increasing in boreal forests, and stressed the importance of creating “shared value”, to ensure economic, social and environmental growth..
Peter Gardiner, Natural Resources Manager at Mondi Group, stated that “the boreal forests hold the potential to meet the global demand for forests- fibre- fuel- fresh water and all the other essential forest ecosystem services for the well-being of people and the planet”.
The Mondi Group Executive remarked than “making more from less”, is a key part of achieving future global demands for wood, fibre, fuel and all the other forest products and services.
According to Gardiner, there is a global equation that aligns high conservation value (HCV) areas, sustainable work and resource filled forests with ecological networks. This results in resilient landscapes and sustainable products and services.