Smallholders solutions

From its inception, FSC has supported smallholders on their journey to sustainable forest management. We recognise that smallholders face unique challenges, not only in their daily operations but also in getting certified. That's why we have implemented a number of projects over the years to assist in overcoming these challenges.

FSC Smallholder Solutions
FSC Denmark

Small is beautiful

The specific challenges that smallholders face are not only linked to the requirements of FSC certification, which are sometimes too complex or costly for them, but also to marketing and the lack of resources to secure and maintain multiple revenue streams.

Some of the solutions we have provided include streamlined requirements, the creation of resources such as group certificates, and funds and specific market labels to help establish and maintain value chains.

Small or low-intensity forests

A small or low-intensity managed forest, or SLIMF, can qualify for streamlined requirements and auditing procedures that reduce the cost of implementation and audit.

Many countries include specific forest management requirements for SLIMF in their FSC national standards, aimed at facilitating the certification process for smallholders. Check your national standard or talk to your national or regional office to find out whether this is the case in your country.

Similarly, the auditing process can be adapted for SLIMF operations. Download the relevant document below to learn about the eligibility criteria for SLIMF that certification bodies use to determine if a forest is eligible.

Group certification

To reduce certification costs and workload, FSC certificate holders can also form a group. Group certification makes it easier, particularly for smallholders, to become FSC-certified, as it enables group members to share certification costs among themselves, reducing the cost and workload for each member related to achieving and maintaining an FSC certificate.

Group certification is regulated by standard FSC-STD-30-005, FSC Standard for Group Entities in Forest Management Groups, which is currently under revision.

The New Approaches for Smallholders and Communities Certification project

In 2016, FSC established the New Approaches project to develop alternative and additional ways to support smallholders and communities to achieve certification. 

Additional guides and resources

FSC forest certification - simple guide for forest stakeholders (IMAFLORA)
Chain of Custody Certification – for community forest enterprises (ANSAB)
Certification of Community Managed Forests (ANSAB)


User-friendly guide to FSC certification for smallholder
PDF, Size: 1.12MB
FSC step-by-step guide
PDF, Size: 1.13MB
FSC Group Certification Toolkit - Supporting Documents (PDF)
PDF, Size: 3.14MB
SLIMF Eligibility Criteria Addendum
PDF, Size: 355.68KB
FSC-STD-01-003 V1-0 EN_SLIMF Eligibility Criteria.pdf
PDF, Size: 100.90KB
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