FSC is testing a standalone regional forest stewardship standard and associated tools in four Asian countries to improve smallholder access to the FSC certification scheme in the region, by introducing a simplified standard more suitable to their needs. Source: Timberbiz
Smallholders in the Asia-Pacific region typically manage a very small portion of land (below 1 or 2 hectares), which serves as one of their main sources of income. Small portions include agricultural land interspersed with some trees and forest.
A high rate of poverty combined with low levels of education make it very complex for these smallholders to access the FSC system.
To support them, FSC is developing a regional forest management standard to implement in the Asia-Pacific region. This standard has been devised to focus on the requirements that are most relevant to address the risks in the region. An easy-to-read version of the standard will also be developed, to facilitate its understanding. Other supporting tools are also under development, like a self-assessment checklist.
The regional simplified standard and the self-assessment check list will be field tested in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, with the support of certification bodies working in these countries.
Participating auditors must know the local language, culture, and forestry context. The field test results will help improve the regional standard, and verify its comprehensibility.
The sites where the regional standard will be field tested were selected to balance the needs of FSC-certified forests and those that are not yet certified.
The selected sites include:
- ITC Limited-PSPD Unit Bhadrachala (India)
- PT Xylo Indah Pratama (Indonesia)
- Panel Plus (Thailand)
- Gio Linh, Quang Tri (Vietnam)
The field tests will be completed between September and October.
In November, the project team intends to launch a public consultation to gather worldwide stakeholder input on the regional standard, aiming to submit the finalized version of the standard and associated tools to the FSC policy and standards committee in early 2020.