Forests are important places for recreation, health and discovering experiences. FSC® certification enhances the diverse potential of forest use. One of the goals of the FSC certification scheme is to strengthen biodiversity in commercial forests. Even though biodiversity is often considered only from an ecological perspective, it actually benefits all forest use.
For example, waterway buffer strips improve the biodiversity of forest nature, but they are also vital for the well-being of waterways. Buffer strips also improve living conditions for fish. They provide the waterways with leaf litter, for example, which is important for many micro-organisms and fish.
Many Finns are interested in the recreational use of forests. FSC members include such organisations as the Guides and Scouts of Finland and Suomen Latu, Finland’s largest outdoor community. Recreational forest use is an essential part of their activities.
FSC certification enables recreational use by increasing the transparency of information. Transparency helps people living near forest areas, nature tourism companies, hunters and nature enthusiasts to understand the different aspects of FSC certified forest management.
Hunters benefit from the FSC certification, too. Forest management measures in FSC certified forests can be planned to benefit game. One example is leaving retention trees in seedling stands. Retention trees provide shelter for animals, and diverse deciduous trees also help many birds.
Wood production is an important source of income for forest owners, but commercial interest in other forest products is also growing. Finns have only just become aware of the tremendous opportunities for the natural product industry.
Research data on cultivating polypores and mushrooms suggests that we will very soon have the means and knowledge to produce nearly guaranteed mushroom harvests in areas where thinning and regeneration felling have been carried out. Chaga mushrooms are already in high demand in Japan, and they could be cultivated in Finnish forests in a great environment.
In the future, forest owners may be able to certify other forest products in addition to wood raw material. FSC certified sap products, blueberry product marked with the FSC logo and FSC chaga mushrooms might sound silly to a Finnish forest owner, but the FSC label is the best known guarantee for responsible production in several export markets, and it is also increasing demand for natural products.