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Group Forest Management Certification Procedures

trees-skyIn many countries, forest ownership is fragmented with many small-, family- and community-owned forests. For these forest owners, group certification is an alternative approach to individual certification, allowing several forest owners to become certified as a group and share the financial costs, as well as the administrative and organizational responsibilities.

It is this sharing that enables these smaller forest owners to obtain certification and access to global markets, especially those markets requiring both wood and non-wood forest products from certified sources.

Without group certification, small forest holdings would be faced with significant barriers to certification, including:

  • High transaction costs;
  • Extra administrative and management burdens;
  • Lack of geographic cohesion and cooperation towards meeting forest management objectives.

Within group certification, a group entity represents the individual forest owners, with overall responsibility for ensuring conformity with the forest management standard in the certified area. Individual forest owners who voluntarily join the group are required to comply with all the requirements, cooperate and assist in the forest certification implementation, and are obliged to carry out relevant corrective and preventive actions established by the group entity.

"Certification of small producers by the Brazilian Forest Certification Programme, CERFLOR, provides broad market access, information on land use regulations, best management practices and, in addition, more competitive timber prices. CERFLOR is working with SEBRAE - the Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Enterprises to meet this challenge.”

Maria Teresa Rodrigues Rezende
Brazilian Forest Certification Programme (CERFLOR)

Requirements

If you choose to include group forest management certification in your System, it is important to consider the requirements set out in the PEFC group forest management certification document (PEFC ST 1002:2010, Group Forest Management Certification – Requirements), which must be reflected in your own System documentation.

Your group forest management certification procedures will need to describe the way that group certification is organized, set requirements for the group entity and its responsibilities, and those of its members.

In order to become PEFC-certified, the group entity must comply with your set requirements. The group members will be assessed against your forest management standard, just like individually certified forest owners. Non-compliance against forest certification requirements by a single group member will risk losing the entire group’s certification.

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