Sustainable forestry and forest conservation are often viewed as being incompatible, as they are trying to achieve different objectives. For example forestry services are managing land for sustainable timber supply and forest conservationists are managing land for biodiversity, ecosystem services and other conservation values. One approach to combining these two objectives in environmental sustainable management is the use of forest certification schemes.
A range of forest certification schemes exist throughout the world, such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Pan-European Forest Council (PEFC), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI), ISO 14001 and Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC). After a thorough assessment of the different certification schemes available and their contribution to biodiversity conservation, it was concluded that the area of forest certified by the FSC should act as a proxy for the ‘area of certified forest under sustainable management’ indicator. UNEP-WCMC has developed a database containing information on all forest sites designated under FSC, and site area data is available from 1995. The areas of these individual sites are combined to generate the global indicator of certified forest area under sustainable management.