PEFC forest certification continues to grow in a strong and steady trend towards forest sustainability driven by all sectors and policy frameworks. Good management of mountains, ecosystem services and products, as well as the certification of the traceability of sustainable origin, respond to the demand for a fair social, economic and environmental model, which is also resilient, decarbonised and regenerative.
In Spain at the end of 2022 the PEFC forest certification system had registered a total of 2,689,271 hectares of certified area and 56,114 foresters and forestry managers we participant in the PEFC System, representing a net growth of 8.44% and 14.28% respectively. This means that, increasingly, more forest area is managed and there are more foresters who look after their areas taking care of biodiversity, water, improving carbon sinks, taking advantage of numerous natural resources, applying fire and damage prevention measures, taking care of their cultural values, guaranteeing the safety and health of their workers, and so on and so forth. These are the criteria and indicators evaluated in line with the Regulation UNE 162.002 of Sustainable Forest Management under which the Spanish PEFC Forest Certification System is audited.
Galicia was the Autonomous Community which registered the greatest increase, both of the certified area and new managers and active foresters, with 120,566 new hectares and 5,766 managers, or 58% and 77% of net national growth during the year. Andalucía (△20,952 ha) and Castille and León (△12,400 ha), are the Autonomous Communities with next greatest net increase in certified forest area and Asturias and Basque Country had the greatest net increase in foresters, with 712 and 291 new incorporations. With these results, at the end of 2022, the Autonomous Communities with the greatest PEFC certified area are Castille and León (804,664 ha), Galicia (409,989 ha) and Navarra (311,062 ha) and those with the greatest number of foresters adherent to the PEFC System are Galicia (45,174), Asturias (4,577) and Basque Country (3,245).
The inclusion of certified forests in the Autonomous Community of Murcia is significant as up until now it did not have any certified areas.
The PEFC system continues to be the leading forestry certification in Spain, covering more that 96% of the total certified national forest area. 14.56% of the total national tree covered area is certified under PEFC standards.
A certification accessible for all types of areas
Active foresters and managers, both public and private, adhere to the PEFC System through various certification applicant bodies that manage Sustainable Forest Management certificates. In order to facilitate the process and make certification accessible to both large and small areas, PEFC forest certification offers different types of grouping, currently divided into regional, group and individual certification. As of the end of 2022 there were 39 PEFC Sustainable Forest Management certificates in force, of which 9 were regional certificates, 22 were group certificates and 8 were individual certificates, representing, depending on each type, the management of 1,806,465 ha, 496,720 ha and 386,086 ha, respectively. AENOR, GFA and Bureau Veritas were the accredited certifying bodies which awarded these certificates.
The typology of PEFC-certified forest ownership at national level is 62% public and 38% private, with certification in privately managed forests increasing by more than 3% in 2022. However, these percentage vary between each Autonomous Community. Galicia, Catalonia and Andalusia stand out as the Autonomous Communities with the greatest percentage of privately managed certified forest area, with 383,957 ha, 246,141 ha y 187,654.65 ha, while in Castille and León, Navarra and Aragón publicly managed certified forest area predominates with 741,718 ha, 29,593 ha and 141,700, respectively.
Support from European restoration funds has led to increased adherence to the various Sustainable Forest Management certificates by private owners and managers of small areas.
Companies’ commitment to more responsible production
The sustainable origin of forestry products and their traceability is possible thanks to the certification of the PEFC Chain of Custody and the commitment of companies to demonstrate the guarantees of sustainability in their productive processes is clear. In 2022, 29 new companies implemented the certification of the Chain of Custody, and the year came to a close with a total of 1,675 PEFC certified companies. The Autonomous Communities which registered the greatest net increase in certified companies were Catalonia (△14), Galicia (△7) and Murcia (△6). The Autonomous Communities which ended 2022 with the greatest number of certified companies were Galicia (456), Catalonia (271) and Basque Country (140)
In terms of sectors, the main increases in 2022 were in the wood and construction sector (△14) and in the pulp and paper sector (△9), with 34% of the certified companies being sawmills and remnants, 30% wood and construction companies and 25% printing, pulp and paper companies. The remaining 11% are stockists, bioenergy, cork, resins and wild foods companies.
The commitment of foresters to manage and make the most of our forests and of companies to develop more sustainable production processes is growing every year, as shown by the 2022 closing data for PEFC forest certification.
Because forests matter.