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Forest certification and communities

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From its inception, forest certification aimed to address social as well as environmental goals. The FSC, its certifiers, and supporting donors aggressively supported community certification. As of 2003, 50 communities worldwide have received forest management certificates or chain of custody certification, and many other forest communities have been brought into the decision-making process of the certification of public and private forests as stakeholders. A rich set of lessons can be learned from their experiences that can help guide all certification schemes with an interest in community forest management. In essence, certification has benefited communities in many ways. Yet high costs, standard procedures and requirements as well as policy and regulatory constraints have precluded a large number of communities from beginning the process of certification. Going forward, the standards of certification schemes need to be reviewed and the standard-setting dialogue opened to include community clients (either by modifying the rules or creating a dual track). In parallel, alternative models of certifying sustainability should be considered.
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Keywords: Chain of custody; Communities; FSC; Forest certification; Private forests

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Director, Communities and Markets Program, Forest Trends, Washington, D.C., USA

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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