Does the project conserve or restore Natural Forest?
The first aspect of eligibility to assess is whether the forest designated by the project to be protected or restored is natural forest, as defined by the NFS (see definition below; taken from the NFS Glossary of Terms).
Natural forest is forest which has reproduced naturally, consisting of naturally immigrant or indigenous tree species and strains.
Natural forests can be more or less influenced by culture, e.g. by logging or regeneration techniques, but the forests must not have been subject to regeneration by sowing or planting. Natural forest originates from the original forest cover, i.e. a forest reproduced naturally. Natural forest is thus a forest which has spontaneously generated itself on the location and which consists of naturally immigrant and indigenous tree species and strains.
Natural forest might be managed to some degree, or be entirely unmanaged (untouched, non-intervention forest, or a strict forest reserve).
Every piece of forest is directly or indirectly influenced by human activity; either from forestry operations, cutting, planting and drainage, or indirectly by manipulation of the grazing regime, air pollution, hindering the immigration and spreading of natural species and influencing the kind and amount of dominant species in the landscape. As such, to be considered a natural forest, a forest need not be free from human influence.
After an adequate amount of time without intervention, a previously managed or degraded forest can develop some of the basic structures of a virgin forest and be considered a natural forest.
The project should provide evidence in the form of maps and vegetation surveys or descriptions to demonstrate that the project area conforms to the NFS definition of natural forest.
Project areas that are to be subject to restoration activities should be identified. Guidance on restoration should be obtained from organisations or individuals with relevant expertise, and restoration activities should be designed with the objective of restoring the original forest structure, which should be still present in other areas of the forest or local region.
Minimum Project Area
The minimum total project area of 20,000 hectares has been adopted by the NFS to allow a statistically valid risk assessment. This minimum requirement will be reviewed periodically by the Technical Committee.
Commercial Timber Extraction
While commercial timber extraction is not permitted within the NFS project areas, this should not prevent the sustainable use of forest resources by local communities. Timber extraction is considered commercial when it exhibits any of the following characteristics:
- Conducted by a commercial business.
- Use of heavy machinery for extraction and transport.
- Use of contracted/hired labour.
- Construction of skid-tracks, extraction roads and landings.
- Logs taken to an industrial sawmill.
The Standard requires that projects shall have a minimum duration of 20 years. There is no upper limit on the duration of projects; and projects should be designed to be consistent with permanent conservation and carbon storage.
The National Forest and Nature Agency (Skov- ogNaturstyrelsen),1994. Strategy for Natural Forests and Other Forest Types of High Conservation Value in Denmark. Available at: https://www.geus.dk/departments/quaternary-marine-geol/research-themes/env-cli-res-gr-forest-def-uk.htm