Community forestry and certification: Dealing with interfaces between global standards and local community action


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K. Freerk Wiersum, Shoana S. Humphries and Severine van Bommel

Presentation for the conference on
Taking stock of smallholders and community forestry
Montpellier France
March 24-26, 2010

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Community forestry and certification: Dealing with interfaces between global standards and local community action

  1. 1. Community forestry and certification: Dealing with interfaces between global standards and local community action K. Freerk Wiersum 1 , Shoana S. Humphries 2 and Severine van Bommel 1 1 Forest and Nature Conservation Policy group Wageningen University, the Netherlands 2 FSC International, Bonn, Germany
  2. 2. Contents <ul><li>Evolution in community forestry </li></ul><ul><li>Development of community forest certification </li></ul><ul><li>Present status community forest certification </li></ul><ul><li>Experiences with community forestry certification </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul>
  3. 3. Institutional characterization of community forestry <ul><li>The ideal picture of community forestry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Community as a locality with shared norms and local interdependencies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Options for local stimulation of forest conservation and poverty alleviation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Devolution of forest management decision-making </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Socially embedded </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mobilization of community experience </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>The reality in case of commercial timber production </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Combined processes of devolution and increased regulation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need for external inputs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>professional knowledge to meet standards </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>investment in equipment and marketing </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Evolving commitments regarding community forestry Commercial production & income earning Basic needs Local rights Poverty alleviation Forest conservation Decrease local use pressure on valuable forests Rehabilitate degraded lands Incorporate CF in mainstream forestry developments Create dual forest economy Large-scale professional forestry versus small-scale community forestry To From
  5. 5. Four phases in community development Incorporation of CF in globalizing financial networks Train communities in fulfilling global standards Phase 4 Joint and collaborative forest management Stimulate multi-level decision-making and benefit sharing between public forestry administration and communities Phase 3 Democratization and empowerment Meet basic needs of rural people Recognize rights and knowledge indigenous people Stimulate local decision-making and control Phase 2 Forest conservation through dual forest sector Lighten pressure on high value forests by meeting forest related needs of local people from village lands Phase 1
  6. 6. Pathway of community forestry development 1 3 2 4 Commitment to basic needs Commitment to meet local forest needs Commitment to incorporate CF in mainstream forestry Commitment to income generation 1 – 4 = development phase
  7. 7. Outcome of evolution: Increasing role of multi-actor partnerships NGO’s International standards (amended from Lemos & Agrawal, 2006)
  8. 8. Experiences with application of global standards The example of certification of community forestry <ul><li>FSC certification </li></ul><ul><li>Voluntary system promoted by governments, NGOs and donors </li></ul><ul><li>Status in 2008 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>120 certified CFE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>13% of all 933 certified enterprises </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3.7% of 103 million ha of certified forest area </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Multi-level approach to standard setting <ul><li>International Assembly </li></ul><ul><li>Equal voice and power for: social, environmental, and economic interests, North and South </li></ul><ul><ul><li>10 Principles & Criteria </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adaptation strategies to stimulate smallholder and community forestry </li></ul></ul><ul><li>National Working Groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>National/regional Indicators & Verifiers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adjusted Indicators & Verifiers for smallholder and community forestry </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Present status of FSC certification FSC Certificates by Area FSC Certificates by Number
  11. 11. Why does FSC care about communities and small producers? <ul><li>Social and ethical commitment to distribution of certification benefits among different stakeholders. </li></ul><ul><li>Communities and small producers are critically important forest managers, controlling substantial forest resources around the world. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Different opinions on added value of certification <ul><li>Certification as a development tool </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Highest score, especially amongst communities and NGOs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased identity & recognition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improved contacts with external world </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Certification as a marketing tool for commercial timber enterprises </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Medium score, relative highest amongst NGOs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Better corporate image for timber merchants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But no higher prices for producers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Certification as a means to stimulate combined forest conservation and local benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lowest score, relative highest amongst NGOs </li></ul></ul>Source: R. Reguera
  13. 13. Challenges for community enterprises <ul><ul><li>Understanding and proving compliance with FSC certification standards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paying for certification </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficulty engaging in certified forest products markets and realizing market benefits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competing with industrial operations in certified forest products markets. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. How to proceed with CF certification: adding objectives or simplifying standards?
  15. 15. FSC Initiatives to stimulate certification for small & community producers <ul><li>Initial initiatives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SLIMF (small & low intensity managed forests) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Eligibility standards </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Streamlined procedures </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Adapted standards </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Group certification </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Recent initiatives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>FSC-FLO joint certification </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community-origin label </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modular approach to certification </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contractor-Landowner joint certification </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Developing CF certification: an actor-network activity <ul><li>Local communities as forest managers and forest product sellers </li></ul><ul><li>Trading and manufacturing enterprises as marketing partner </li></ul><ul><li>Local/(inter)national NGOs as development partner </li></ul><ul><li>Independent standardization organisations as certification partner </li></ul>
  17. 17. Multiple contractual arrangements for CFE development
  18. 18. Contradictions between assumed and actual experienced benefits of certification
  19. 19. Conclusion 1 <ul><li>Single-loop learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning that does not question fundamental design, goals and activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical learning about instruments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>SLIM, group certification </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Common approach to policy implementation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Double-loop learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning that does question fundamental design, goals and activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conceptual learning about goals and strategies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social learning about e.g. responsibilities, appropriate ways of interacting </li></ul></ul>Development of CF certification requires double-loop instead of single-loop learning
  20. 20. Conclusion 2 <ul><li>From advocacy networks for stimulating CF certification </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ad-hoc arrangements between parties from different sectors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Without explicit marketing analysis </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes specific development standards added to certification standards </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Around pragmatic ideas of linking decentralisation trends and marketing chain development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aimed at fulfilling global standards for sustainable forest management and international timber trade </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To sustainable partnerships for dealing with community products </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contractual arrangements between parties from different sectors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Around integrated community development and conservation goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aimed at shared social learning on options for incorporating different types of ecologically responsible community-based production systems in various types of commercial networks </li></ul></ul>Double-loop learning for effective CF certification requires new institutional arrangements
  21. 21. Conclusion <ul><li>The main focus of community forestry gradually changed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From creating dual forest economy to embedding in mainstream forest policy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From fulfilling basic needs to income generation through commercialization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From advocating local knowledge and autonomy to participation in external networks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The nature of PES schemes is gradually changing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From voluntary schemes to formal government mediated schemes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The advent of climate payments involves a partial redirection in forest policy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From decentralisation and devolution of forest policy to state mediation of global standards </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In order to profit from climate payments community forestry should further enhance their power of negotiation at national level </li></ul><ul><ul><li>By forming strategic alliances </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Development of umbrella organisations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Membership of multi-stakeholder partnerships </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By recognizing the specific characteristics of different types of community forestry schemes </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Conclusion: Achievements and future development scope <ul><li>Community forestry has ‘come of age’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No ‘second (hand)’ management strategy in dual forest sector </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accepted as socially-desirable and viable approach to forest management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Incorporated in external commercial and policy networks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Changing focus from decentralisation and devolution to multi-level governance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From focus on indigenous knowledge / practice and autonomous decision-making to focus on balancing local norms with fulfilment of professional norms / standards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From focus on organisation and decision-making at local level to focus on partnership arrangements with external organisations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Need to further strengthen role of community forestry organisations as partners in interactive development processes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Formation of strategic alliances </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Umbrella organisations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Partnerships with civil society and commercial organisations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adaptation of global standards to community conditions in a reiterative learning process </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Thank you