Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification has led to significant improvements in biodiversity conservation and forest management across Europe, a WWF study has found.

The study analysed 2,817 corrective action requests raised by independent certifiers as forest managers sought to achieve and maintain FSC certification in Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Russia, Sweden and the UK.

WWF said biodiversity values were improved in all six countries through measures such as lower impact siliviculture; improved protection of key habitats; higher deadwood levels and species diversity. FSC certification has also led to safer working conditions, better worker skills and improved long-term planning.

Duncan Pollard, head of WWF’s European Forest Programme, said the study demonstrated the social and economic benefits which the FSC provided to policy makers, governments, forest owners and the forest industry.

He said: “We hope that our study makes the added value of credible forest certification clearer to all and also demonstrates that FSC certification is not just good for the environment, but for business and society as well.”