The purpose of the symposium is to develop a systematic assessment of the role and effects of certification in key developing countries and countries in economic transition. Our interdisciplinary team has developed an analytical framework designed to assess the direct and indirect effects of forest certification with respect to several ecological, social, and economic issues, including: silvicultural practices, biodiversity and forest function, private and public sector participation, local communities, the transparency of policy making, market flow of certified wood products, illegal logging, and rural livelihood.

We are interested in analytical work that systematically describes what is known (and what is not known) about what certification has done, and identifies obstacles and opportunities that those promoting certification have encountered. We are interested in understanding what all certification programs are doing, be they FSC, PEFC-affiliated, or of other origin. As such, these papers are different from papers that advocate one scheme or the other. In addition, while analytical, these papers will generally not be explanatory. That is, they will not develop a theory or assess or test a theory in any formal sense, but instead will systematically describe and explore the emergence and effects of forest certification. We also want to identify gaps in research and gaps in knowledge, so that we can identify the most logical next steps for future research.

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