FSC in China

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has operated in China for 20 years, having issued its first chain of custody certification in 1998. From 2008 to 2013, there was particularly rapid growth in the number of FSC certificates issued and the area they cover.

By June 2013, FSC certification covered 3.1 million hectares (2% of China’s total forest area), with 59 forest operation units (mainly in state-owned natural forest in Northeast China) accounting for 85% of the certified area.

In 2014, China’s logging ban in state-owned natural forest was mapped out. This removed the incentive for certification. As a result, China’s FSC certified forest area to under 1.2 million hectares by November 2015, down 60% compared with 2013.

While the certified area decreased greatly, the number of certified forest operation units increased year after year, reaching67 by November 2015. This was eight more than in June 2013. Most of the certificate holders are collective forest and man-made forest operation enterprises in South China.

In contrast to the fall in forest operation certification, there has been continuous growth in FSC chain of custody certification in China. The number of certified enterprises increased from 44 in 2003 to 4065 in November 2015. The certified enterprises are mainly in major provinces for timber processing, production and export such as Guangdong, Zhejiang and Shandong, etc.