Principle 10: Plantations
Plantations shall be planned and managed in accordance with Principles
and Criteria 1 - 9, and Principle 10 and its Criteria. While plantations
can provide an array of social and economic benefits, and can contribute
to satisfying the world's needs for forest products, they should complement
the management of, reduce pressures on, and promote the restoration and
conservation of natural forests.
The management objectives of the plantation, including natural
forest conservation and restoration objectives, shall be explicitly
stated in the management plan, and clearly demonstrated in the implementation
of the plan.
The design and layout of plantations should promote the protection,
restoration and conservation of natural forests, and not increase
pressures on natural forests. Wildlife corridors, streamside zones
and a mosaic of stands of different ages and rotation periods, shall
be used in the layout of the plantation, consistent with the scale
of the operation. The scale and layout of plantation blocks shall
be consistent with the patterns of forest stands found within the
Diversity in the composition of plantations is preferred, so as
to enhance economic, ecological and social stability. Such diversity
may include the size and spatial distribution of management units
within the landscape, number and genetic composition of species,
age classes and structures.
The selection of species for planting shall be based on their overall
suitability for the site and their appropriateness to the management
objectives. In order to enhance the conservation of biological diversity,
native species are preferred over exotic species in the establishment
of plantations and the restoration of degraded ecosystems. Exotic
species, which shall be used only when their performance is greater
than that of native species, shall be carefully monitored to detect
unusual mortality, disease, or insect outbreaks and adverse ecological
A proportion of the overall forest management area, appropriate
to the scale of the plantation and to be determined in regional
standards, shall be managed so as to restore the site to a natural
Measures shall be taken to maintain or improve soil structure,
fertility, and biological activity. The techniques and rate of harvesting,
road and trail construction and maintenance, and the choice of species
shall not result in long term soil degradation or adverse impacts
on water quality, quantity or substantial deviation from stream
course drainage patterns.
Measures shall be taken to prevent and minimize outbreaks of pests,
diseases, fire and invasive plant introductions. Integrated pest
management shall form an essential part of the management plan,
with primary reliance on prevention and biological control methods
rather than chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Plantation management
should make every effort to move away from chemical pesticides and
fertilizers, including their use in nurseries. The use of chemicals
is also covered in Criteria 6.6 and 6.7.
Appropriate to the scale and diversity of the operation, monitoring
of plantations shall include regular assessment of potential on-site
and off-site ecological and social impacts, (e.g. natural regeneration,
effects on water resources and soil fertility, and impacts on local
welfare and social well-being), in addition to those elements addressed
in principles 8, 6 and 4. No species should be planted on a large
scale until local trials and/or experience have shown that they
are ecologically well-adapted to the site, are not invasive, and
do not have significant negative ecological impacts on other ecosystems.
Special attention will be paid to social issues of land acquisition
for plantations, especially the protection of local rights of ownership,
use or access.
Plantations established in areas converted from natural forests
after November 1994 normally shall not qualify for certification.
Certification may be allowed in circumstances where sufficient evidence
is submitted to the certification body that the manager/owner is
not responsible directly or indirectly of such conversion.
The FSC Founding Members and Board of Directors ratified principles
1-9 in September 1994.
The FSC Members and Board of Directors ratified principle 10 in February
The revision of Principle 9 and the addition of Criteria 6.10 and
10.9 were ratified by the FSC Members and Board of Directors in January
The definition of Precautionary Approach was ratified during the 1999
FSC General Assembly in June 1999.