Can FSC certification be the solution for micro-plantations in the Asia-Pacific region?

October 20, 2023
Category : Standards

In the Asia-Pacific region, there are thousands of smallholders who own very little amount of land. For such forest owners with micro-plantations, FSC certification can seem a very complex and expensive process. But can FSC still be a solution even for the smallest of the small? This is a question the FSC Regional Forest Stewardship Standard pilot aims to answer.

The new Asia-Pacific Regional Forest Stewardship Standard (AP RFSS) is a solution for management units of less than 20 hectares. A five-year pilot project is being implemented in India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand. The aim of the pilot is to improve smallholders’ access to FSC certification by providing them with a simplified standard and making the certification more affordable while still delivering on FSC’s Principles and Criteria.

Vietnam_forest smallholdersThe pilot that started in 2022 and will end in 2027, has been successfully launched in both Indonesia and Vietnam. Tailor-made training workshops have been organized in both countries, as well as in India. The pilot tests and training workshops will continue in Indonesia and Vietnam until the end of the pilot test period. Next year, we will also start pilot tests and training workshops in India and Thailand, once the Thai National Forest Stewardship Standard (NFSS) and the Regional Forest Stewardship Standard have been approved.

The participation in the pilot is voluntary but smallholders and Certification Bodies wishing to join the pilot will need to follow the requirements of the Standard Operating Procedure for pilot testing of FSC-STD-RAP-01-2020 V-1 FSC Regional Forest Stewardship Standard for Smallholders PART II – Pilot Test Implementation, as well as the applicable nationally adapted standard based on the Regional Forest Stewardship Standard.

The first results will be reported on in early 2024, and we invite stakeholders to stay informed and learn more about the AP RFSS pilot process here or by contacting the Community and Family Forests programme team (