The objective of the project was to facilitate certification of small private forests through both the certification of forestry contractors and the development of guidelines and tools for sharing certification responsibilities between forest owners and contractors.
The project build on the idea that the use of certified contractors in combination with group certification of forest owners can help to reduce much of the administrative and technical burden of certification.
"One major problem with certification of smallholders in Denmark is the fact that these forest owners use contractors extensively to manage their forests, while they lack the capacity to monitor or control the contractors' performance", explained project manager Peter Feilberg.
"In the context of certification, the owner thus depends on the contractor's performance to comply with the certification standards. If the contractor is certified, the owner has third-party assurance that he may confidently place this responsibility with the contractor."
"Smallholders face special challenges regarding certification which need to be addressed. For example, their forest-based revenues are often relatively small and highly irregular. The incentive for certification is therefore lower than for larger operations. When other problems are added to this, smallholders are in practice more or less excluded from the increasingly attractive certified wood market", Peter Feilberg further explained.
Results and impact
The project developed and tested a concept for contractor certification that provides assurance that contractors comply with the relevant parts of the certification requirements. The project initially analysed the Danish FSC and PEFC forest certification standards to understand which requirements were meaningfully transferred to contractors. The analysis also served to make recommendations to PEFC and FSC on the possible adjustment of the standards to accommodate the special conditions of small holdings.
The awareness raising and training of forest owners and contractors were based on:
- Analysis of legal and national best forestry practice and obligations
- Concept development for contractor certification
- Field tests leading to certification