Bolivia takes the lead in certifying tropical forests
In recognition of achieving good forestry management, timber company CIMAL/IMR received an award, on behalf of the certifier SmartWood, for its commitment to certifying 300,000ha of its forests. Of the 300,000ha, 25 per cent is considered a forest of high conservation value and has been designated a reserve. Also recognized at the award ceremony were 23 national forest operations for their contributions in making Bolivia a world leader in forest certification.
“This privileged position represents the effort and responsibility of Bolivia’s private and community companies in guaranteeing the sustainable management of forests,” said Roger Landivar, WWF's country representative in Bolivia.
“This is also a world accomplishment that strengthens the image of Bolivia’s forestry industry thanks to its strict compliance with international norms of the Forest Stewardship Council.”
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent, not-for-profit, non-government organization based in Bonn, Germany, providing standard setting, trademark assurance, and accreditation services for companies and organizations interested in responsible forestry. It was created in 1993 by environmental organizations such as WWF.
Bolivia was one of the first countries to initiate efforts promoting the conservation of its forests through sustainable management and FSC forest certification, a trend that began early in the 1990s and grew stronger following the passing of the country’s forestry law in 1995.
“The government of Bolivia is a pioneer in Latin America by having a progressive forestry law,” said FSC International Executive Director Heiko Liedeker in the presence of Bolivian President Eduardo Rodriguez Velze who attended the ceremony.
The certified forest sector in Bolivia currently generates about US$16 million annually from exports. This includes such certified products as doors, furniture, floor boards, parquet, chairs, veneers, handicrafts, and sawn timber. These products are mainly exported to the United States and United Kingdom, as well as to other countries, including Chile, Indonesia, Paraguay, France, Peru, Spain, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brazil and Italy.
In addition to economic benefits, certification has also had a positive impact on social benefits.
“The FSC certification process in Bolivia has improved labor conditions of forestry workers in terms of level of income, safety, hygiene and health, as well as access to opportunities to strengthen their capacities,” added Landivar.
“Indirectly it has helped improve relationships between forestry companies and local population regarding assistance and employment opportunities.”
Since 2002, Bolivia has been acknowledged internationally as working towards the sustainable harvesting of forest resources and received, that same year, the “Gift to the Earth”, a recognition awarded by WWF for the first one million certified hectares.
In the following three years, Bolivia duplicated its certified extension, which to date covers over 2.2 million hectares of tropical forest certified under the FSC logo. Of the 16 certified forest operations, 13 are forest concessions, two are private properties, and one is an Indigenous communal land.
The certified operations are primarily located within the Southwest Amazon, one of WWF’s Global 200 priority eco-regions worldwide.
For further information:
Viviane von Oven, Communications Coordinator
Tel: +591 3 343 0609