Certification of Community Forestry Enterprises
Experiences with incorporating community forestry in a global system for forest governance.
This paper discusses the history and present status of community forest certification as an illustration of the growing interactions between global and local processes in forest governance. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification system is analyzed as an illustrative case of the trend towards increased incorporation of community-based forest enterprises (CFEs) into international initiatives for sustainable forest management and global markets. First the paper reviews the development of community-based forest management and the evolution in certification of community-based forest enterprises. Next it discusses the main challenges and opportunities for making CFE certification accessible and beneficial for communities. Finally it illustrates the importance of multi-level and multi-actor partnerships for creating effective interfaces between global standards and community forestry practices. The experiences with FSC certification of community-based forest enterprises demonstrate that community forestry is enlarging its scope from autonomous decision-making on local practice to incorporation in international forest governance systems. This experience also demonstrates that the application of global standards for sustainable forest management requires adaptation to local realities. These lessons are of relevance for further incorporation of community forestry in the newly evolving global programs for forest management and conservation.