The smallholders, located in the region of San Martin in Peru, are the first group of smallholders of that size to become certified in Latin America.

This commitment of small producers to sustainable forestry contributing to reduce the pressure of agroforestry on forests, is a positive example that it is possible to achieve both the growth of the agricultural frontier and the supply of sustainable wood despite present challenges. The new certification covers over 1,100 hectares (ha) of forests, of which only about 190 ha are for planted crops.

The San Martín smallholders joined forces under the guidance of the social enterprise Amazonía Justa to take their first steps towards certification. Amazonía Justa developed training courses, including a workshop on forestry management.

"Voluntary forest certification represents one more step towards achieving our mission – to promote and demonstrate that it is possible to achieve social, environmental and economic development – in collaboration with smallholders, through active ecosystems restoration. For us, it is not just a question of developing the wood supply chain through added value, we are dignifying the efforts of smallholders who respect legality and environment. This certification is also part of the strategic proposal to develop a brand providing legal timber, AMAJusta," said Oscar Santamaría, Amazonía Justa General Manager.

Now, the smallholders, who had already received an organic cocoa certification, have now added tree species growing in their farms into their portfolio of sustainable products. They can trade them through local and international markets, while guaranteeing the origin and the value chain of their timber.

In addition to the added value for the wood products, FSC certification will also contribute to improving the quality of life of the community. Indeed, sustainable management of forest resources gives the possibility to generate benefits in areas that are fundamental for social development – such as health, housing, education.

"FSC recognizes the work and effort of the producers who, together with Amazonía Justa, have committed to the preserving and managing responsibly forests. This initiative proves that commitment and strategic alliances can help us strengthen the care of our forests by using FSC certification as a tool that guarantees forest sustainability so that we can continue enjoying them in the future", said Alba Solís, General Manager of FSC Peru.