Costs and benefits of forest management certifikation for Polish State Forests under Forest Stewardship Council scheme
Abstract: The thesis presents results and analysis of investigation conducted in four regional directorates of Polish State Forests and twelve forest districts (three in each directorate). The survey was done in autumn 2007. The main aim of the study was to find an answer for query "What are the costs and benefits of forest certification for Polish State Forests." To be précised in investigation – costs of forest certification as well as certification benefits have been divided into direct and indirect. Direct costs are connected with audit carried out in forest districts annually or every 5 years. Into indirect certification costs were included: social costs (e.g. connected with forest workers safety), extra bureaucracy work, amendments in forest management and nature costs (as dead wood left in forests, set aside areas or trees retained in forest after cuttings). Direct benefits: price premium and additional sale. Indirect benefits were divided into monetary and non-monetary. The annual direct costs per hectare range from 0.019 EUR in Białystok Regional Directorate to 0.043 EUR in Łódź Regional Directorate. Costs per hectare decrease together with increase in the considered area. Indirect Forest Certification (FC) costs connected with e.g. set aside areas or forest management improvements and other activities were nowhere to find. Roughly estimated, the highest obtained indirect costs (nature costs) are equal to almost 400 000 EUR. Such assessment was possible to make in Poznań RD case, where certificate was suspended because of too small extent of set aside areas (2% instead of required 5%). The estimated social and bureaucracy costs (average for regional directorate) amounted to around 90 000 EUR per year. The survey did not find additional sales of timber or price premium because of possessed certificate of good forest management. Among the indirect benefits indicated by respondents' participation in internationally recognized organization – Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) was brought up. Furthermore, certification highlighted some weak points in organizational and environmental structure. As an indirect benefit, forest workers' safety was also classified as being regularly revised and at the same – possibly has an influence on improvement in that matter. Certificate has an effect on avoidance of sale revenue loss. Other indirect benefits were not noticed by respondents. During the survey, beside questions about FC costs and benefits, inquiries about attitude to the issue and fulfilment of the expectations were made. Generally, opinions about forest management certification are different in different foresters' groups. Many of them assess costs as too high, and certification generally – as useless. Presented research gives general picture of FC position in Polish State Forests. Information about direct costs is reliable. Nonetheless, for more precise estimate indirect costs and benefits, much more detailed investigation needs to be carried out.
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