All in for Forests: Community and family forest’s journeys to FSC

Jonathan Perugia
kenya woman in nursery
Jonathan Perugia
March 12, 2024
Category : Standards

Communities, family forest owners, and Indigenous Peoples have long been the unsung heroes of forest stewardship, their intimate connection to the land shaping sustainable practices for generations. As custodians of the world's forests, their role is pivotal in preserving biodiversity and ensuring the long-term health of our ecosystems. Recognizing their significance, FSC has the Community and Family Forests Toolbox, a comprehensive set of solutions aimed at empowering these groups and enhancing their capacity to safeguard our forests.

Embracing Stewardship

At the core of FSC's mission lies a profound respect for the expertise and wisdom of smallholders, communities, and Indigenous Peoples. These groups possess a deep spiritual connection to their land, fostering management practices that prioritize conservation and resilience. Through the Community and Family Forests Toolbox, FSC endeavors to amplify their voices and support their efforts in sustainable forest management.

Hear their voices

We have groups around the world embarking on a journey to FSC certification using our toolbox. Hear from a community tree planting association in Kenya here or below:


Across the world in Wales, a group of woodland communities are forming together to get recognized for their ecosystem services. Learn about how and why they are getting started here:

Learn about how the group is established and their ecosystem services here:

Our Toolbox

The Community and Family Forests Toolbox is designed to foster an environment where these groups can thrive. It comprises:


Raising Awareness: Through innovative communication strategies, including videos and quizzes, FSC translates complex concepts into accessible information, bridging the gap between technical standards and practical implementation.

E-Training: Accessible online training programs in multiple languages enable participants to familiarize themselves with FSC standards, promoting broader engagement and understanding.

Capacity building
(c) Jonathan Perugia

Capacity Building: FSC offers on-site training and capacity building tailored to the specific needs of each community or family forest group, empowering them with the knowledge and skills necessary for effective forest stewardship.

Community of Practice: FSC is building a global network of facilitators to consolidate the local capacity  around responsible forest management for communities, families and smallholders. This network enables knowledge sharing and peer-to-peer support, strengthening the capacity of community and family forest owners worldwide.

Fundraising & Partnerships: FSC facilitates partnerships between community and family forest groups and external organizations, leveraging mutual initiatives to secure essential resources and support on-the-ground efforts.

Market and Social Benefits

Welsch smallholders
(c) Nathan Williams

Collective Impact methodology: FSC uses a proven model that offers a systemic approach to tackle the lack of enabling conditions. It proposes the joint commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific problem with relevant social dimensions. In order for the commitment to be successfully achieved, five criteria must be secured: common agenda, mutually reinforcing activities, shared measurement system, continuous communication and a backbone organization.

Economic Viability Tool: Strengthen communities’ processes for assessing the socioeconomic benefits of forest management in the context of other economic activities in their landscapes, enabling conditions and value chains, empowering them to make informed decisions that balance conservation with livelihood needs.

Timber Training Program: Enhances the skills of forest operations in sustainable timber harvesting and processing, promoting responsible forestry practices and maximizing value from forest resources.

Policy Solutions

FSC has developed accessible and tailor-made policy and standard solutions for community and family forest owners. See all policy solutions here.

Learn more and test your knowledge!

In the journey towards resilient forests and improved livelihoods, the involvement of communities, family forest owners, and Indigenous Peoples is not just desirable – it is essential. FSC's Community and Family Forests Toolbox represents a crucial step forward in empowering these groups, recognizing their invaluable contributions, and securing the future of our forests for generations to come. Test your knowledge on these solutions and learn more at