Small and Low Intensity Managed Forests
It has become increasingly recognized that small forest enterprises and forests that are managed at a very low intensity (for example, for harvesting some non-timber forest products, or watershed protection) encounter particular problems in accessing and maintaining forest certification. These problems stem from a number of causes, in particular:1
• problems in understanding and meeting the requirements of the standard; • the disproportionately high costs of certification in comparison to income derived from the forest.
In order to reduce these barriers to certification, some certification schemes have attempted to aim their standards and procedures at a level which is accessible to this target group. In particular, PEFC schemes in Europe which have largely been driven by Small Forest Owners’ Associations have attempted to ensure access for small forest enterprises. This has been facilitated by the development of regional certification systems (see Box 26.1) and lower sampling requirements for certification. However, many environmental NGOs consider that this has led to PEFC certification being less rigorous than other certification schemes.2