To update on project activities and pilot activities to benefit smallholders and communities.

The New Approaches for Smallholders and Communities Certification (New Approaches) project presented its activities and its different initiatives to more than 40 attendees from family forests, businesses, US government agencies, and FSC members on 1 and 2 October 2018. The meeting in Asheville, North Carolina, coincided with a presentation of the FSC US forest stewardship standard and updates on the FSC US marketing strategy.

Against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina, Vera Santos, New Approaches Project Manager, discussed the progress of the New Approaches project, including its efforts to significantly increase certified area managed by small and low intensity managed forests and community producers by 2020.

By sharing the New Approaches project objectives, the attendees were informed of progress to date; and how the New Approaches project was driven by small landowners’ needs to simplify and eliminate barriers to FSC certification, engage markets and consumers, and communicate those efforts to benefit smallholders and communities. The New Approaches project also discussed two US-based initiatives. The first initiative was to test new ways of certifying forestry contractors . The assessment would be tested in both in the United States and in Europe; in Europe the assessments were running in the Baltic and Nordic regions. The second initiative would test a simplified standard to landowners below 100 hectares. Working with the Appalachian Woodlands Alliance, FSC US, Rainforest Alliance, the second initiative would test a simplified standard for landowners with less than 100 hectares to determine if low-impact logging could be a proxy for responsible forest management for smallholders.

Both initiatives are directly aligned with New Approaches’  objective to evolve FSC’s regulatory procedures, with a focus on exploring the existing flexibility of the FSC system, improving relevant international standards, and developing new solutions. Results from these ground-level tests – as well as several other initiatives occurring globally to test locally-relevant solutions – will determine whether the solutions assessed are feasibly implementable, if they facilitate access to and maintenance of FSC certification, and the costs of their implementation.

These local efforts of the New Approaches project – linked to other global initiatives – will continue to ensure FSC remains an internationally recognized solution that is locally relevant to smallholders and communities throughout the world.

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