The pilot project will test alternative approaches to conservation requirements in effect in FSC-certified forests in China to safeguard species, habitats, and ecosystems. Alternative approaches, such as implementing the FSC Ecosystem Services Procedure in areas outside the forest management units, will aim to facilitate smallholders’ access to FSC certification.

Smallholders in Guangdong, Guangxi, and Shandong provinces will test alternative approaches to the conservation requirements of the newly-approved China National Forest Stewardship Standard (NFSS).

Smallholders in these regions are small forest producers and their holdings are often scattered in the landscape. One International Generic Indicator of the China NFSS in particular – indicator 6.5.5. – requires certificate holders to set aside 10 per cent of the forest unit as a designated conservation area. This creates an additional barrier for smallholders to achieve and maintain FSC certification.

Together with a working group, FSC China, and the New Approaches for Smallholders and Communities Certification project, FSC will analyze different alternative scenarios for smallholders to comply with this requirement. This approach intends to incentivize smallholders to obtain and maintain FSC certification. The implementation phase is currently in development, and the launch of the pilot tests is planned for early 2019.

For more information on FSC China, please contact Ma Lichao, FSC Country Director, at ma.lichao@fsc.org.

For more details on the New Approaches project, please contact Vera Santos, Project Manager, at v.santos@fsc.org.