This paper aims to answer two questions. First, do FSC certified native tropical forests remain forests, i.e. does certification guarantee “zero deforestation”? This calls for an “adequacy evaluation”, where the aim is to compare performance with previously established adequacy criteria, or “zero deforestation” in our case. Second, does FSC actually reduce the probability of deforestation, i.e. are certified forests more likely to have been deforested if they had not been certified? To answer this question, confounding factors are controlled for through a robust counterfactual-based analysis. This working paper addresses these questions in three tropical landscapes, and in the process, illustrates the use of open-access pan-tropical datasets and the synthetic control method to evaluate policy impacts on land use and land cover change.