Small-forest owners at the heart of PEFC

As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we have spoken a lot about the importance of small-forest owners. They are the reason we were created. But how do we ensure that they can access certification?

The answer is group certification. Group certification enables small-forest landowners to group together and organize themselves, pool their resources and work as a team to achieve certification. This makes PEFC certification affordable and practical for smallholders.

Around one million small-forest owners have achieved PEFC certification through group certification, and the number continues to grow. This is a testimony to the fact that forest certification is possible for small landholders, and that it is a powerful and cost-effective way of promoting forest conservation and sustainable management.

Through our Collaboration Fund and other PEFC initiatives, we continue to invest in projects and activities that support smallholder certification through engagement, innovation and capacity building. From South Africa and Portugal, to New Zealand and Nepal, our projects cross the globe. See all our smallholder projects…

We are also developing tools, such as certification for Trees outside Forests. This enables smallholders growing trees outside of forests, such as on agricultural land or within settlements, to achieve certification and take advantage of the benefits it brings.

It is vital that smallholders are able to gain PEFC certification for their sustainable practices. However, with 25% of forests owned by families and communities, it is important for the world too. In fact, in many of the countries striving to establish or expand certified forest area, small landholdings represent a significant share of the forest resource.
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