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The Forestry Contractors International Working Group Explores New Ways to Develop Smallholder Certification

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

© FSC GD/Christian Irrgang

The New Approaches for Smallholders and Communities Certification (commonly named ‘New Approaches’) team and the Forestry Contractors International Working Group met at the end of October to explore new solutions to increase smallholder certification worldwide.

One of the key measures discussed was the introduction of forestry contractors into the FSC certification scheme. This shift might reduce the burden that compliance represents for smallholders by allowing the division of responsibilities between forest owners, group entities and forestry contractors. It might also increase the number of smallholders and the total area of certified forests in the FSC system worldwide.

Since forest certification started 20 years ago, forestry contractors felt largely left out of the discussion around the responsible management of the world’s forests. The working group meeting held in Vilnius, Lithuania, aimed to engage forestry contractors by setting a shared vision of smallholder certification. The Executive Director of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, Dana Doran, stated during the event that forestry contractors “have so much value to add to this process and the time is now for them to have a seat at the table in the process from this moment forward.”

Two FSC International staff members and nine representatives of forestry contractors participated in the event. The representatives came from Finland, Lithuania, and the United States. Their geographic regions were chosen strategically to align with those where smallholder certification might rapidly expand.

The meeting in Vilnius was the second encounter of the working group this year to identify a clear path for engagement in the FSC system. The Forestry Contractors International Working Group and the New Approaches team worked closely on developing ways to improve the FSC certification system at national and international levels. Their outcome included an analysis of the current restrictions set by the FSC regulatory procedures. The participants also evaluated how to apply potential scenarios while preserving the integrity of the FSC certification system.

The New Approaches team and the working group will develop a proposal for forestry contractors to access the FSC system. The proposal will be open for public consultation by the end of 2018. Pilot tests are also being carried out to explore how forestry contractors could access the FSC certification scheme.

For more information on the pilot test project, please contact Lauri Ilola, topic lead for forestry contractors, at l.ilola@fi.fsc.org.

For more details on the New Approaches project, please contact Vera Santos, Project Manager, at v.santos@fsc.org.


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Keeping up with all the latest information about forest management and certification can be difficult. That’s why we collect it for you in our newsroom. The newsroom is where you’ll find news from FSC, as well as information about developments in the wider forestry industry. It’s also home to The Root of the Matter, the monthly blog from FSC Director General Kim Carstensen.