The FSC Criterion 6.5 states that:
“The Organization shall identify and protect representative sample areas of native ecosystems and/or restore them to more natural conditions. Where representative sample areas do not exist or are insufficient, The Organization shall restore a proportion of the Management Unit to more natural conditions. The size of the areas and the measures taken for their protection or restoration, including within plantations, shall be proportionate to the conservation status and value of the ecosystems at the landscape level, and the scale, intensity and risk of management activities.”
The overall project objective was to make recommendations for the revision of the International Generic Indicators (IGIs) and instructions for standard developers under Criterion 6.5. More specifically obectives included:
1. Identify specific problems standard developers as well as certificate holders (CHs) face with the development and in meeting the requirements of Criterion 6.5. as well as to analyze how these problems can be addressed in different geographical regions and management unit types. This specifically includes clarifying why the use of the conceptual diagram was problematic for several standard developers and if it can be simplified.
2. Evaluate ecological outcomes of implementing Criterion 6.5.
3. Review the design of CAN and the relationship of this design with RSA.
4. Use the gathered outcomes to make recommendations for the improvement of Criterion 6.5, including the following:
o Develop improved formulations for the IGIs,
o Propose helpful guidance for CH to effectively and efficiently establish CAN and RSA,
o Update instructions for standard developers,
o Propose alternative ways to achieve the objectives of Criterion 6.5, and
o Propose potential improvements in the conceptual diagram (increase its clarity and specify minimum percentage levels for CAN – including the role of RSA – for different management contexts).
Issues were identified and evaluated at FSC’s global scale, which involved reviewing the national standards of 12 focus countries (Cameroon, Gabon, Australia, Indonesia, Bulgaria, Sweden, Portugal, Mexico, Uruguay, Canada, Russia and Ukraine), holding 45 interviews, conducting field visits to three of the focus countries, and completing a documentation review. SmartCert’s final report provides 11 recommendations.