FSC Advances Global Family Forest Strategy

Submitted by: Phil Riebel 03/07/2013

In recognition of the critical role that family forests play in responsible forest management worldwide, FSC International recently organized an advisory group to develop a long-term strategy for increasing capacity, value and supply from this landowner class.


March 1, 2013

via Forest Stewardship Council

In recognition of the critical role that family forests play in responsible forest management worldwide, FSC International recently organized an advisory group to develop a long-term strategy for increasing capacity, value and supply from this landowner class. 

Known as “smallholders” in most other countries, this group owns a substantial share of the world’s forests, but their holdings are divided into small acreages and typically lack good support infrastructure. They often do not have the economy of scale or access to FSC markets to gain enough value from certification without support.

At the same time, smallholders have much to gain from FSC certification. FSC provides a framework for improving environmental practices and encouraging safe working conditions, supporting local economies, protecting land and use rights, and safeguarding high conservation values. FSC can also be a positive intervention in the value chain, helping smallholders access better markets and add value to their products.

Over the next five years, FSC plans to streamline processes around the world and deliver on strategies to achieve the following outcomes: 

  • Increase the financial, environmental, and social benefit to smallholders.
  • Reduce the cost of certification for smallholders.
  • Reduce "leakage" in the FSC supply chains by maintaining materials within the Chain of Custody.
  • Increase collaboration among FSC offices and partners to support smallholders.
  • Improve capacity of smallholders, group managers and national offices.
  • Increase the demand for FSC-certified products from smallholders.

Over the next six months, the advisory group will develop the strategy and help educate FSC stakeholders on a range of resources and options. The group includes representation from all of FSC’s global regions and FSC-US Director of Business Development, Ian Hanna, is co-representing North America, along with Orrin Quinn of Ecotrust in Canada. Both have extensive experience as FSC forest management group certificate managers and will ensure the unique circumstances of family forest ownership in North America are represented.