Final report FSAS18-01-2013
Including community forests in the Congo Basin Program
A large and increasing portion of the Cameroonian forest (non-permanent forest estate) has come or is coming under control of communities; in 2010 some 180 Community Forest Enterprises had signed management agreements, covering 677,000 ha. Another 300,000 ha is in the application phase. None of the Community Forest Enterprises is currently certified, nor can it be expected that this will happen in the next 3-5 years autonomously. Reasons are: practically none of their buyers requires FSC certification, low volumes and high costs of certification.
FSAS concludes that the time has not yet come to engage concession holders for partnerships with community forest enterprises. The CBP can however play a role and provide incentives to (a group of) Community Forest Enterprises to overcome the abovementioned hurdles.
CBP support to community forestry should start by working with the most advanced CFEs which have sufficient and accessible commercial standing timber volumes. Through a step by step approach capacities can gradually be built up towards the ultimate aim of FSC certification with intermediate milestones of legal verification and Controlled Wood. During the process intermediate assessments should be made to ensure the profitability of pursuing FSC Group certification.
The Congo Basin Program has taken further steps down this road and it will do a pilot project on group certification of community forests in cooperation with Fair Tropical Timber, see previous newsitem 'Including community foresters'.
Buddy system service providers
Even though 9 service providers showed serious interest, none of them submitted a buddy proposal in the end. The main bottleneck was the very limited demand for CBP services by concession holders so far. As a result, service providers were not sure if their effort for a buddy proposal would indeed lead to additional sales of services.
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