The standard responds to the Ecuadorian reality, where there are small areas of plantations with low exploitation intensity, as well as in forests owned by indigenous communities. In addition, it includes indicators for non-timber forest products such as bamboo (for more details visit section B.2 on the scope of the standard).
A chamber-balanced standard development working group conducted the development following a multi-stakeholder engagement process with companies, NGOs and social stakeholders including representatives of Indigenous Peoples, communities, and smallholders. The draft of the Ecuadorian national standard went through two field tests, one in plantations of a forestry industry and another with a species of NTFP (Non-Timber Forest Product) managed by small producers. These consultations developed with the interested parties sought to confirm its applicability for different user groups.
Ecuador began the process in 2015, taking on the challenge of developing a FSC Forest Stewardship Standard and going beyond to test new indicators, matrices, and procedures. The resulting standard now includes:
- the adaptation of the International Generic Indicators V2-0;
- the inclusion of specific indicators for smallholders; and
- the inclusion of indicators related to the Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ rights, which propose the implementation of FPIC (Free, Prior and Informed Consent) processes.
Ecuador has approximately 12.5 million hectares nationwide of forest, where 51% are under conservation; such as in protected areas, forests and protective vegetation areas, or as part of the Socio Bosque Program. The remaining 49% of forests are managed by communities and individual owners who can use FSC certification to show their sustainable forest management practices and manage their forests in an environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically attractive way. This is why it is important that the standard includes specific indicators for community and family forests and ensuring the implementation of FPIC for Indigenous Peoples.
The forest production area in Ecuador for commercial purposes is made up of plantations of species such as pine, eucalyptus, balsa, teak, melina, which are mostly found on the Ecuadorian coast where there is the greatest development of the forest chain. The largest natural forests are found in the Amazon Region and in the Province of Esmeraldas. The Ecuadorian national standard is applicable for the diverse forest area that Ecuador offers.
The official version of the NFSS for Ecuador (Spanish version) can be consulted in the FSC Document Center.
Visit the FSC Ecuador’s website for more related news.
Photo credit Miranda Mars