Forest smallholders – a term encompassing forest communities, small private forest owners, and Indigenous Peoples – manage many of the world’s forests that are at risk of disruption or destruction due to competition over land use. For many of these people, the forest is not just about food, fuel, and shelter. Forests also act as safety nets when drought, crop failure, or diseases strike. Unfortunately, the drive for profits often takes precedence over the rights of forest-dependent communities and overwrites the voices of marginalized groups. In turn, these activities entrench poverty, while also destroying forests, their ecosystems, and their communities.
FSC has a 20+ year legacy of giving voice to people who have been under-represented in forest management decision making. Today, FSC is adapting forest certification solutions that specifically work for smallholders and community forest managers, while maintaining a balance with the credibility of FSC certification to ensure social, economic, and environmental impacts. Those include:
- Require worker’s rights to be acknowledged and held to a high standard.
- Promote gender equality.
- Acknowledge Indigenous Peoples’ rights and tenure. and promote responsible products from their ancestral lands.