The Forest Conservation Project is researching forest certification as an instrument to assist communities to manage forests for multiple purposes, including timber production. This research has focused on innovative models that could suggest ways of increasing the accessibility of forest certification to community-based forest management. The Forest Management and Production Certification Service (FORCERT) provides an innovative certification service for community-based timber operations in Papua New Guinea. The FORCERT model and its impacts are described in the report “Forest Management and Product Certification Service, PNG: Socio-Economic Impact Survey.”
A particularly innovative feature of the FORCERT model is its incorporation of a stepwise approach for community-based timber enterprises to achieve Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification of their forest management. The three steps of this approach are (i) Community-Based Fair Trade status, (ii) Pre-Certified status, and (iii) FSC Certified status. Other innovative features are its national application of FSC group certificates for forest management and chain of custody, and business agreements between the community-based timber producers and timber yards. It is a complex model that supports communities to have their forest management certified against the FSC standard as well as to establish a community-based timber enterprise that adheres to modern business principles. The model also incorporates a mechanism for marketing the certified timber to international buyers.
The report is based on a survey of forest management and timber milling in nine communities that are receiving FORCERT support services. It examines the socio-economic impacts of forest certification in the nine communities and it considers the sustainability of the community-based timber enterprises and the FORCERT certification network.