The forest sector directly and indirectly serves several industries and economic activities. In addition to this, forests also provide various environmental services at local and global scales. The demand and conservation of these services has been increasing more strongly in recent decades. A mechanism created to highlight “good forest management” and ensuring the sustainability of forests, is forest certification. The American continent has vast forest areas and a strong forest sector, with big consumers and producers, especially Brazil, Canada and the United States. However less than 5% of this area is certified. Thus, this study aimed to review how the different countries of the Americas carried out the process of forest certification by the FSC system and to discuss how external factors would have influenced these processes. As a result, we found that the establishment of certification was not homogenous among the American countries. It has grown faster in countries with large activities in the forest sector, namely Brazil, Canada and the United States. Overall, different factors were instrumental in furthering certification in different countries, for example market requirements in Canada and government requirements in Mexico. In Brazil and in the United States, environmental requirements have been driving the need for adherence to the process. In South America, the countries with the largest exports to the European Union have a greater number of certificates, indicating a possible influence in the market. We also conclude that domestic markets need more support and encouragement from stakeholders so that forest certification can expand.
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Vol. 20 • No. 1