Managers of small, low-intensity, or community forests

FSC certification benefits extend to all forests.
Worker standing in a forest inspecting a tree
iStock / bee32


Every forest deserves the fruits of responsible forestry

Communities, families, and smallholders worldwide who manage small or low-intensity forests can benefit from the Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC’s) commitment to sustainable ecosystems. FSC offers a portfolio of solutions and tools these managers can use to reduce the cost and complexity of certification and open the door to new market opportunities.

What can forest management certification do for you?

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Create economic opportunity

Certification opens access to the increasingly globalized market for sustainably sourced timber and other forest products, including natural rubber, cork, nuts, and more.

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Balance economic and environmental goals

FSC certification provides a framework that can help ensure the long-term productivity of your forest while protecting its health and resilience for generations to come.

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Learn about forestry management best practices

As part of the certification process, many operations have the opportunity to learn about additional methods for responsible forestry. Tools provided by FSC can also offer support for reducing operational costs and improving administration.

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Attract financial investment

FSC is trusted by NGOs and governments worldwide. Earning FSC certification shows you are committed to responsible forest management and have an established management plan for your business. Both factors attract donors, government entities, and other investors looking to support sustainable forestry.

Low-angle shot of workers in a forest
Interholco / Tullia Baldassarri

Forest stewardship takes a village

Group certification is a simpler, less expensive way for small-forest or community operations to become FSC certified. This approach lets forest managers join together to share the workload and cost associated with becoming FSC certified. 

Forest owners can come together to form a new group or join an existing group in the area. A group administrator helps all members in the group conform with FSC standards and manages the process for certification and annual audits.

Contact your local FSC team to learn more. →

FSC has good news for forests like yours

See how forest managers around the world benefit from FSC certification. 
Three people walking through the snow
FSC Denmark / Bablu Singh 

A family in Finland bonds over sustainable forestry

See how a man named Pertii passed his love for the environment onto his kids. 

Watch →
Two women standing in a forest with chainsaws and hardhats
FSC / Bablu Singh

Swedish sisters work together to create a better future for forests

Hear how these siblings formed a company to protect biodiversity for generations to come.

Watch →
Man standing in a forest smiling
FSC / Mayank Soni

Thailand’s smallholder farmers are making a big difference

Read about the locals making a living while protecting plant and animal life.

See article →

FSC solutions for small, low-intensity, and community forests

Group certification

Forest managers can group together and share their efforts, which makes it easier for community and family forests to become FSC certified. This streamlines requirements and audit procedures, reducing the overall cost and effort involved.

Download the Group Standard here.

Continuous improvement

The continuous improvement procedure empowers small, low-intensity, and community forests to become FSC certificate holders while they work toward full implementation of the FSC standards. Forest managers initiate and implement crucial measures immediately and then commit to a step-by-step plan to conform with all requirements within five years. 

Download the procedure here

Certification for small and low-intensity managed forests (SLIMF) and community forests

FSC has developed definitions for small, low-intensity, and community forests so FSC standards and other FSC requirements can be adapted for local contexts. To find out if SLIMF or community forest certification is available in your area, contact your local FSC team.

Asia-Pacific regional standard for smallholders

FSC has developed a regional standard that meets the specific needs of small-scale forests in Southeast Asia, where the average forest size is about three hectares. This new, outcome-oriented standard significantly reduces the complexity of certification. A pilot program in India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam is now being rolled out. 

Monitor the progress of this initiative here.

Market access tools

FSC is developing a number of tools to help managers of community and family forests find and access markets for their products. These tools include: 

  • Screening tool: Helps forest managers quantitatively assess the chances of success for specific initiatives. The information helps these managers prioritize projects, invest their resources more effectively, and understand when and if to pursue funding. 
  • Volume aggregator tool: Empowers community and family forest managers to aggregate volumes and negotiate collectively with the buyer. 
  • Economic viability assessor tool: Helps community and family forest managers collectively analyze management scenarios of their resources, identifying how economic viability and other benefits can be generated as they move towards sustainable forest management. 

To discover more about these tools, contact

Know and show the true value of your forest

Be recognized for your commitment to responsible forestry with ecosystem services claims from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).  

This innovative solution empowers you to communicate the value of your forest in a way that’s scientifically quantified, reported, and verified. That information can then be used to match you with sponsors who share your vision and can offer long-term support for your sustainability goals.

Learn more →

Ready to get certified? 

Your local FSC team is here to guide you through the certification process.

Start your certification
Busque el equipo de FSC de su país o región y comience hoy mismo su proceso de certificación.  
Get in touch →
Water droplets on a green leaf / LuPa Creative
A river of life flows through this forest community
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Searching for the King Vulture in Ejido Nuevo Becal
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man with binoculars looking out on forest canopy
Red de Monitoreo / ACOFOP
Community Forestry: The Secret to Reducing Forest Fires in Guatemala’s Mayan Biosphere Reserve
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Frequently asked questions

Do managers of small, low-intensity, or community forests pay the same amount for certification as other forest managers?

We are committed to developing flexible solutions for small, low-intensity, and community forests that reduce the cost and effort of certification for both the initial certification and the annual audit process. To learn how you can take advantage of the solutions and tools covered earlier on this page, contact your local FSC team.

How can I find an existing certification group in my area?

For help finding existing groups that are accepting new members, contact your local FSC team

Is FSC certification only for timber?

No. FSC certification is available for a wide variety of forest products, including cork, bamboo, natural rubber, nuts and seeds, honey, mushrooms, and more. Find additional information about FSC certification for non-timber forest products here.