Group Certification of Community Forests in Cameroon
Originally the Congo Basin program foresaw setting up links between community forests and larger concessionaires as a way of helping the smaller producers to assure access to the (international) market. The efforts of Fair & Sustainable Advisory Services (FSAS) and the Congo Basin Program (CBP) in 2012 have led to the conclusion that semi-commercial partnerships between community forests and forest companies are not a viable option.
Because community forests become more and more important, other ways have been explored with the assistance of FSAS and Fair Tropical Timber (FTT) to include community foresters in the Congo Basin Program. An interesting and promising alternative is to go for group certification of community forests. Having experience in timber trading with Cameroonian community forests, FTT fulfills a key role in this.
The idea is that FTT will be the group manager of a group of 8 community forests in Cameroon. A certification process will be connected to this group to obtain certified legality in phase 1 and (if feasible) an FSC group certificate in phase 2. An advantage is that the group receives support and training in inventories, sustainable harvesting, transport and planning for addressing the export market. As fair prices will be paid to the communities by FTT, this will help the planning of social investments in the community and of the forest operations.
Achievements so far
End of March 2013, Fair Tropical Timber had a successful first mission launching the project on group certification of community forests. As per August 2013, two Community Forests have been identified to serve as a ‘pilot group’ and a Group Manager is hired.
More information on this project and achievements can be found here (2 pages, 1.4 Mb).