Bundling forest ecosystem services for FSC certification: an analysis of stakeholder adaptability

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An expansion of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification to forest ecosystem services (FES) is a potential tool to improve FES management. Certification of FES in bundles is an expected strategy because it could decrease trade-offs among FES, increase forest owners' incomes, and reduce certification costs per FES. However, there is insufficient evidence of which bundles FES would be most feasible to certify. This study assesses the adaptability of the FSC system to FES bundles through analyses of FES projects and surveys of FSC certification bodies, enabling partners, and certificate holders. Exploratory factor analysis and multiple correspondence analysis identified two bundles: 1) soil and watershed conservation and 2) cultural ecotourism with non-timber forest products or agricultural goods. These findings indicate potentially manageable FES bundles, given the current FSC system and FES projects, as well as some implementation challenges.

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