First Forest Smallholder Group Achieves FSC certification in Vietnam | WWF
First Forest Smallholder Group Achieves FSC certification in Vietnam

Posted on 09 November 2010

Quang Tri, Vietnam – The Quang Tri Smallholder Forest Certification Group was awarded with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, making it the first group of small forest owners in Vietnam to be certified against the internationally recognised standard for environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable forest management.
Quang Tri, Vietnam – The Quang Tri Smallholder Forest Certification Group was awarded with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, making it the first group of small forest owners in Vietnam to be certified against the internationally recognised standard for environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable forest management.

Spanning 118 forest households living across five villages in two districts of Gio Linh and Vinh Linh, the Quang Tri group collectively achieved certification for 317 hectares of acacia. And this joint effort is starting to pay off.

The smallholders have already signed a contract with a Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) company in Vietnam, who offered nearly a 25 per cent higher price as compared to the local market for uncertified timber. In addition, the farmers benefit from that fact that FSC timber is accepted with lower diameters that were previously sold as cheap industrial chipwood. Combined with direct sales from the farmer to the factory, without intermediate traders, certification leads to an estimated 50 percent higher income as compared to uncertified timber. This increased income is vital to the livelihoods of one of Vietnam’s most impoverished regions.

“As one of the poorest provinces of Vietnam, responsible forest management is a new way to stimulate the Quang Tri economy and therefore the livelihood of local communities. The FSC certificate is a credible trademark linking us to customers, both national and international,” said Mr. Hoang Duc Doanh, Director of Quang Tri Department of Forestry Protection. “We highly appreciate WWF’s support throughout the whole assessment process”

The certification process is a part of WWF’s “Linking Trade Demand and Sustainable Forest Management” project, which aims to provide market linkages between production forests in Vietnam and the growing number of international companies with responsible purchasing policies, through credible third party certification of responsible forest management under FSC.

In exchange for these benefits, farmers gradually improve the forest management. Biodiversity areas for strict protection are delineated and the use of native tree species is encouraged among the farmers in order to avoid large scale, even-aged monocultures that are both damaging the environment but also putting the plantations at risk of pests and diseases.

Mr. Le Bien Hoa, team leader for Kim Mon village expressed, “The project is very helpful. Firstly, our incomes will be higher since FSC wood is increasingly preferred in the market. Secondly, the fact that we were guided to not harvest within 30 meters from the Kim Mon lake side and river bank helps to protect us from erosion and sedimentation of the lake. Finally, our plantation and management skills have been greatly improved through training courses provided by the project staff.”

The vast majority of Vietnam’s 2.5 million hectares of plantation forests are managed by forest smallholders, most of them poor rural households. Since the late 90s, the demand for increasing demand for FSC certified wood from Vietnamese furniture exporting companies has increased dramatically and almost entirely met by expensive imports from overseas. However, the model demonstrated by the Quang Tri farmers shows that group certification is an effective solution for both Vietnam’s forests communities and the country’s burgeoning furniture industry.

“I hope that the WWF could continue their support for our young acacia trees. However, the most important thing is that Quang Tri authorities integrate sustainable forest management into the economic and social development plan of the province. Then small forest owners like us could, therefore, access long-term and efficient support,” Hoa added.

Vietnam’s forest strategy aims to certify 30 per cent of the country’s 4.48 million hectares of production forests in the next decade. As a result, there is a significant potential for the government, GFTN-Vietnam and the private sector to expand this pilot approach to a larger area, including WWF priority landscapes where the approach is highly suitable for management of biodiversity corridors.

“We are so proud to have the Quang Tri Group awarded FSC. After two and a half years, we have successfully piloted a group scheme for responsible smallholder acacia management in Quang Tri Province” said Mr. Sebastian Schrader, Project Manager and GFTN-Laos Manager.

“FSC certification has become an important element in the decision making process of consumers worldwide. As a market driven mechanism, FSC empowers consumers to express their demand in the market for responsible forestry by offering an independent, global and credible label for forest products. For Vietnam’s evolving furniture export market, FSC certification has already become a major factor for access to high value markets,” he added.


For more information:

Nguyen Anh Thu
Communications Officer
WWF Greater Mekong – Vietnam Programme
D13 Thang Long International Village, Cau Giay dist., Hanoi
Tel. 84-4-3719 30 49, ext.136
Fax. 84-4- 3719 30 48
E-mail: thu.nguyenanh@wwfgreatermekong.org
acacia harvest
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