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Legal vs. certified timber: Preliminary impacts of forest certification in Cameroon


  • Cerutti, Paolo Omar
  • Tacconi, Luca
  • Nasi, Robert
  • Lescuyer, Guillaume


The concept of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) has a pivotal role for both the Cameroonian legal framework and market-based instruments such as forest certification. We assess the different impacts on timber harvesting of the forest legal framework as compared to the adoption of forest certification, on the ten Forest Management Unit (FMUs) that had received a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification by mid-2009, and discuss some differences between legal and certified timber. Results show that the average reduction in the annual allowable cut (AAC) of concerned FMUs is about 11% when legal harvesting rules are adopted, about 18% when the FSC rules as requested by the certifying bodies (CBs) are applied, and about 34% when the 'FSC logic of sustainable harvesting', as agreed upon on paper by logging companies and CBs, is used. Our findings confirm that forest certification has the potential to improve weak normative frameworks that allow the unsustainable use of forests. However, they also suggest that certifying bodies tend to reduce the stringency of the FSC rules in certified FMUs if not backed by a uniform FSC standard and by a stronger legal framework. We elaborate on the reasons why that may occur and provide suggestions for improvements.

Suggested Citation

  • Cerutti, Paolo Omar & Tacconi, Luca & Nasi, Robert & Lescuyer, Guillaume, 2011. "Legal vs. certified timber: Preliminary impacts of forest certification in Cameroon," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 184-190, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:forpol:v:13:y:2011:i:3:p:184-190

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kiker, Clyde F. & Putz, Francis E., 1997. "Ecolocical certification of forest products: Economic challenges," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 37-51, January.
    2. Cashore, Benjamin & van Kooten, G. Cornelis & Vertinsky, Ilan & Auld, Graeme & Affolderbach, Julia, 2005. "Private or self-regulation? A comparative study of forest certification choices in Canada, the United States and Germany," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 53-69, January.
    3. van Kooten, G. Cornelis & Nelson, Harry W. & Vertinsky, Ilan, 2005. "Certification of sustainable forest management practices: a global perspective on why countries certify," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(6), pages 857-867, November.
    4. Ralph Espach, 2006. "When is Sustainable Forestry Sustainable? The Forest Stewardship Council in Argentina and Brazil," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 6(2), pages 55-84, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:ecoser:v:22:y:2016:i:pa:p:51-59 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Lewis, Robin A. & Davis, Stacey R., 2015. "Forest certification, institutional capacity, and learning: An analysis of the impacts of the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 18-26.
    3. Carlsen, Kirsten & Hansen, Christian Pilegaard & Lund, Jens Friis, 2012. "Factors affecting certification uptake — Perspectives from the timber industry in Ghana," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 83-92.
    4. Mbatu, Richard S., 2015. "Domestic and international forest regime nexus in Cameroon: An assessment of the effectiveness of REDD+ policy design strategy in the context of the climate change regime," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 46-56.
    5. A. Marx & E. Bécault & J. Wouters, 2012. "Private Standards in Forestry. Assessing the Legitimacy and Effectiveness of the Forest Stewardship Council," Chapters,in: Private Standards and Global Governance, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. A. Mosnier & P. Havlík & M. Obersteiner & K. Aoki & E. Schmid & S. Fritz & I. McCallum & S. Leduc, 2014. "Modeling Impact of Development Trajectories and a Global Agreement on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation on Congo Basin Forests by 2030," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 57(4), pages 505-525, April.
    7. repec:eee:forpol:v:90:y:2018:i:c:p:160-166 is not listed on IDEAS


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