The effect of agricultural certification schemes on biodiversity loss in the tropics

In Biological Conservation
Volume (Issue): 261
Peer-reviewed Article

Scholars have quantified the impact of the production and consumption of commodities, in particular agricul- tural commodities, on biodiversity loss. Certification schemes, meanwhile, have been instituted as a means to limit biodiversity loss caused by the production of some of these commodities. This paper clarifies how biodi- versity loss can be limited by certification schemes in oil palm and fastwood plantation concessions by applying three methodological approaches to biodiversity assessment. We consider concessions in West Kalimantan province, Indonesia, as an example. We found that certified plantation concessions that are committed to deforestation-free production are limited in their ability to prevent further biodiversity loss, due to the past conversion of forest habitats to plantations. Concession holders can improve forest habitats through corridor development and other measures, which would mitigate, but not prevent, further biodiversity loss. We suggest a broadening of focus from protecting natural habitats within concession areas, to the wider landscape around concessions in collaboration with neighbors. This will require institutional arrangements to enable access to finance and technical expertise.