Ecosystem services and goods are the multiple benefits people obtain from ecosystems. The benefits provided by forests include carbon sequestration, prevention of erosion, flood control, and water purification as well as aesthetic beauty. Although humans are fundamentally dependent on these services, they also pose threat to the services through their activities such as deforestation and water pollution.
One potential way to improve forest management is the emerging certification of ecosystem services. Either the forest management (including the ecosystem services provided by the forest) or the provision of the ecosystem services could be certified. Regardless of the approach chosen monitoring is required as it provides evidence to buyers that certified goods and services are indeed obtained from forests managed according to agreed standards. Furthermore, monitoring helps to assess whether certain strategies are effective and efficient in achieving the management objectives. However, building effective monitoring programs is challenging: Many forest managers recognize the need to monitor, but are unclear about the best approach: what to measure and how to measure it.
This working paper provides the groundwork for the development of compliance and impact monitoring indicators and building monitoring programmes. It introduces certification and discusses the implications of certification of ecosystem services for measuring and monitoring. It provides an overview of different types of monitoring and possible impact indicators and their measurement. Finally, it addresses compliance monitoring indicators in the context of existing Forest Stewardship Council certification standards.