Environmentalism

Report: Forest Certification Schemes Create 'Perverse Incentives'

Raises costs, harms ecosystems

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Environmental activists who say they support strong, healthy forests actually are pushing an agenda that would undermine the timber industry, enrich special interests and burden the sensitive habitats they claim to champion.

That's the key finding of a new report George Mason University has authored in partnership with Forisk Consulting, an organization that tracks financial impacts on forestry operations.

At issue is the forest certification process, a concept that was introduced during the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro as a subset of "sustainable development." To become certified, forest managers must work to ensure that trees are harvested in an environmentally sound manner with minimal ecological impacts.