FSC Smallholder Fund

Our work to support smallholder certification began nearly a decade ago

Smallholder Fund (© J.M.D.)© J.M.D.Smallholders, family forest owners and forest communities worldwide are key stakeholders in responsible forest management. Nearly half of Europe’s forest land, for example, is owned by private individuals who often manage very small plots.

Yet smallholders often face a multitude of challenges in meeting the requirements of FSC certification processes and standards.


Providing support to overcome these challenges in order to increase the number of certified smallholders is a high priority for FSC

Our work to support smallholder certification began nearly a decade ago. In 2004, small and low-intensity managed forests (SLIMFs) were defined as a distinct client for FSC certification, and have subsequently benefited from streamlined procedures.

Sometimes, smallholders lack resources to comply with the FSC Principles and Criteria, or may need to find support in translating the technical language of audit reports or forest management requirements. They may want to seek technical training themselves, but professional courses can be costly and unavailable locally.

Smallholders often find it difficult to access markets and long-term commitments from buyers. Although FSC certification can give producers access to a price premium, smaller businesses are also less able to access investment finance because their size increases risk.

This is why FSC has developed tools to help smallholders meet the requirements of FSC certification, such as the Small and Community Label Option and the Smallholder Fund that you can discover in this section.

Learn more about the Smallholder Fund 

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