Estimating demand for certification of forest ecosystem services: A choice experiment with Forest Stewardship Council certificate holders

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The scope of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, a market-based mechanism targeting sustainable forest management, could be expanded to certify delivery of a range of forest ecosystem services (FES). To assess the feasibility of such an undertaking, we examined market demand for FES certification based on the benefits and costs applicable to certification of any FES. We conducted a choice experiment with 188 FSC certificate holders to assess the perspectives of potential FES certification adopters. Our results revealed preferences for FES certification system capable of providing a 50% price premium, technical training for forest owners, and greater global market reach. However, potential adopters showed low willingness to pay for FES certification and limited technical capacity to manage FES. Furthermore, only FES traded at the global scale to date is forest carbon. These findings indicate characteristics of FES certification that forest owners would likely require, as well as a number of challenges in developing such as a scheme.

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