Finding Forest Certification that Works for Communities

We are building pathways for small-scale and community forests to achieve certification on multiple fronts; by adapting our regulatory framework and creating optimal market conditions. FSC is a responsible forest certification system with international credibility, which we have worked with small-scale and community forest owners to make more applicable and less costly. We are doing this through pilot testing, development and revisions of the standard framework and proof of concept. 


Community and Family Forests Program
FSC Smallholder Communities
FSC DK / Namibia

In order to increase our impact to make the FSC system more attractive to small-scale and community forests, we have initiated the following processes around the world.

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Asia Pacific Regional Standard

Throughout the Asia-Pacific region, many thousands of smallholders with very small pockets of land predominate. People generally have limited access to education, and there is a high level of poverty. They may...

Worker in the forest

Certification of Forest Contractors

Contractors providing services to any forest management certificate holder have recently been included in the FSC certification framework. FSC has tried to find an effective way to divide responsibilities between...

Smallholders in China See Fruits of Certification

Chinese Pilot Test

Thousands of small forest owners in China want to use FSC certification, but are held back by a specific requirement in China's National Forest Stewardship Standard (NFSS). This barrier is related to the...

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Smallholder Pilot Test in USA

This pilot is based in the Southern and Central Appalachian region of the United States, where more than half of the forest land is owned by private landowners, with 39 million hectares of forests of less than...

FSC Train the Trainers program in Latin America

Continuous Improvement: Latin America

Validation of a proposed FSC Continuous Improvement Scheme for the certification of small producers and communities in Latin America through participatory workshops.

Photo of a tropical forest in Gabon

Continuous Improvement: Africa

Develop and test the concept of Continuous Improvement in Africa to provide recommendations to FSC on how to integrate and apply the concept of "continuous improvement" in FSC's standards system.


Continuous Improvement Procedure

This procedure, currently under development, will allow a gradual approach to certification.

How to get certified?

We understand that getting certified can be a complicated and difficult process, especially for small-scale, family or community forest owners it can be hard to even know where to begin. Answering the below will be helpful to identify what policy solutions and market tools are more suitable for your specific case. 

Finding Applicable FSC Standards and Procedures

To make FSC policy or certification solutions more relevant and adaptable to small-scale and community operations, we have worked on three international normative documents. One is the Group Standard, which allows for smaller operations to work together in a "group" and share certification costs. To make National Forest Stewardship Standards relevant for smaller operations, FSC has created criteria that can be incorporated to these national standards, called "small and low intensity forest criteria (SLIMF)." Currently, we are working on developing an innovative procedure aimed at allowing for operations to commit to sustainability and conform with a subset of criteria in a step-wise approach, called to Continuous Improvement Procedure. 

All can be used together and can complement certification requirements. Learn more and explore them by clicking the links below:

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Group Standard

FSC has developed a Group Standard to allow organizations to join together to form a single "group" and share costs.

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National Standards

FSC has developed small and low-intensity forest (SLIMF) criteria. These criteria are for national standard developers to incorporate into their national standards and helps streamline certification requirements...