The triple win of Trees outside Forests

“Certifying Trees outside Forests creates a win-win-win situation,” said Thorsten Arndt, Head of Communications at PEFC International, during the International Softwood Conference 2018* in Riga, Latvia, last week.

“We can positively impact the lives of small famers and improve the management of trees in agriculture, whilst increasing the amount of wood available to society for products from sustainably managed sources.”

“We will also enable cities to certify urban trees and parks, making it possible for them to provide assurances to their inhabitants that city trees are managed sustainably and raising awareness of the tremendous services that trees in cities provide to urban populations,” he added.

PEFC is well-positioned to further expand the area of certified forests, explained Mr. Arndt. With the PEFC General Assembly expected to approve the revised sustainable forest management standard in November, trees outside forests will be eligible for certification.

This presents a tremendous opportunity in terms of wood supply: In India alone, the growing stock of timber is estimated to be 4.5 million m3 in forests, while trees outside forests add a further 1.6 million m3.

“Furthermore, the advantages of PEFC’s unique inclusive bottom-up approach, which gives local stakeholders a strong voice in forest certification at national level, are well recognized, with PEFC expecting to welcome it’s 50th national forest certification system member before the end of the year,” he said.

Yet increasing the area of certified forests alone is not sufficient. It is also important to ensure that certified wood is used by companies and reaches the marketplace.

“This is where Chain of Custody certification comes in, and the approach taken by PEFC is to find the balance between simplicity, reliability and robustness.”

“We are currently in the midst of the revision process for this particular standard, and we welcome the input of all concerned stakeholders to come up with the best possible solution,” concluded Mr. Arndt.

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