PEFC convenes experts to explore the way forward for certification of trees outside forests
23 December 2015 News
“Trees outside Forests are an important part of the global forest resource and we have to take care of them for improved livelihoods,” said David Morales, Forestry Officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
His remark came as experts gathered from Asia, Africa, North America, Latin America and Europe to share experience and give advice to PEFC as we embark on developing an approach for certification of trees outside forests.
“Expanding PEFC’s scope from trees within forests, to include trees outside forests (TOFs), is an important consideration for advancing sustainable landscapes and rural livelihoods,” highlighted Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International. “We need to make the certification of trees outside forests affordable, scaleable and accessible to farmers, and the diverse contributions we received from experts during the meeting have greatly enriched our development process.”
“It was refreshing to be in a meeting where such important topics were being discussed,” said Amos Gyau, Research Leader at World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). “Agroforestry systems typical to western Africa which produce cocoa and coffee use trees for shade, so developing an approach to enable the certification of these trees could support farmers in many ways, such as increased clarity around tree ownership.”
Trees outside forests (TOFs) can range from hedgerows to single trees, and even street trees in cities, but what they all have in common is their ability to improve the quality of urban and rural livelihoods. These trees are not only vital as wildlife and biodiversity corridors, they also serve as crucial income generating opportunities for farmers and smallholders. In countries such as India, 80% of industrial wood requirements originate from outside of forest.
It is therefore vital that these trees are managed sustainably and that forest certification systems develop an appropriate approach to facilitate the inclusion of these important sources within certified forest product value chains.
“Nearly all of Thailand’s productive trees are grown outside of forests in agricultural land,” said Dr. Nikhom Laemsak, Professor of Forestry at Kasetsart University, Thailand. “For instance, developing the certification of trees outside forests will have a big impact on the 3.5 million hectares of Thailand’s rubber plantations, and making sure rubber wood has market access is an important aspect for farmers’ incomes.”