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Forest Certification

Forest Certification

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Forest Certification

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  1. Forest Certification Solomon Islands

  2. Solomon Islands

  3. Solomon Islands • Total land area: 27,000 sq km dispersed over 800,000 sq km of sea • Number of islands : 996 of which 350 are inhabited • 90% of land under customary land ownership • Population: 410,000 (386,000 in the village) • Main Exports – Logs, fish, copra, cocoa • GDP per capita - US$450 • Independence in 1978 with Westminster-style Parliamentary democracy • Three tiers government – Central, Provincial & Area Council

  4. Forest Industry • Major economic activity – export of round logs (80% of foreign exchange earnings) • Dominated by foreign logging companies some in partnership with local landowner companies • Current commercial natural forest area – 560,000 ha • Current rate of forest cut – 700,000 m3 / yr • Sustainable cut – 200 000 m3 / yr • Predicted national wood flow from natural forests will be exhausted by year 2018 • Current markets are insensitive to forest certification

  5. Stakeholders in Forest Logging Industry • Landowners - own the trees and grant timber rights • Logging companies (Foreign and Local) – apply for timber rights • Government – issue timber right license under Forest Resources and Timber Utilization Act 1970

  6. Measures to Control Logging • Government • - Code of logging practice 2002 • - Review of Forestry Act 2004 (in daft) • - Encourages plantation forestry • NGO’s/Landowners • - Awareness • - Community Forestry (saw milling & sustainable harvesting) • - Certification

  7. NGO Activities • Environmental conservation and environmental awareness • Village based eco-forestry involving selective harvesting and sawmilling • Marketing of processed forest products • Support for other village based and managed activities including eco-tourism, Non Timber Products and butterfly farming

  8. Initial support for certification • Support for forest certification came from NGO’s • - Unsustainable logging & land degradation, - Conflict among landowners - Logging undermines traditional economies, values and adversely affects the livelihoods of people • NGO’s & Landowners wants control logging activities, sustainable harvesting and maximum return from forest use • Little or no support from government

  9. Village Based Sawmilling (VBS) • NGO’s encouraged & promoted VBS among landowners prior to emergence of certification • Landowners benefited through employment and income • More interest and adoption of VBS among Landowners • NGO’s built on VBS to promote certification • Extra and heavy workload associated with certification discouraged landowners

  10. Organizations involved in certification • NGO’s - Solomon Western Island Fair Trade (SWIFT) – FSC - Soltrust - FSC - Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT) – Eco-timber - Natural Resources Development Foundation (NRDF) – Eco-timber • Landowners • Kolombangara Forest Products Limited (KFPL) - FSC • No Government involvement

  11. Market Impact • Higher price led to interest in certification by Landowners • NGO’s used reliable market outlets and higher price to promote certification • KFPL used certification because of the market demand and premium price for certified logs • Landowners did not produce consistently to maintain a regular supply to meet market demand. Landowners or timber producers only produced timber when they needed money

  12. Standard Setting • Soltrust developed its FAMP in partnership with landowners using FSC principles & Criteria to meet local needs • SWIFT’s whole forest management system was set up by forestry experts from Holland • SIEF developed Eco-timber standard in collaboration with ITTG (Market), Greenpeace, landowners

  13. SOLCERT- National Standard • Process initiated 1996/97 with the aim of defining a national FSC standard for community forestry • Formed in 1998 by with membership from NGO’s, Government and Forest Industry Association • Coordinate all certification related work among all stakeholders and set national standards. • Did not function as expected due to lack of coordination between the members and has remained ineffective since its formation in 1998

  14. SIEF eco-timber • Timber producers did not comply well with FAMP’s developed according to FSC standards. • Lessons learned forced SIEF to develop SIEF eco-timber (2nd party eco-timber verification) • SIEF eco-timber takes communities or producers step-by-step towards FSC standards; it’s a first step towards FSC certification • High cost of certification under FSC

  15. Road blocks & Challenges • Lack of awareness or knowledge among government authorities/decision makers & Landowners • Lack of government support for certification • Higher cost of certification • Heavy manual work involved • Landowners are not in a position to take up certification on their own • NGO’s programs are dependent on external funding

  16. Certification Issues • Certification of forest under customary ownership is the option for Solomon Islands (90 % of land under customary ownership) • No initiative from landowners - rely NGO’s who initially introduced and promoted certification • When NGO’s programs stopped, timber producers also stopped production • Government is not doing its part in promoting certification to support NGO’s

  17. Impact of certification • Some impact at community level • - logging stop in certain areas • - Build capacity, provide employment and income • No impact at national level • - no action and policy change

  18. Certification & Forestry Problems • Problems • - Unsustainable and illegal extraction of forest through logging • - Deforestation and loss of biodiversity through logging, shifting cultivation and forest clearance for plantation agriculture • Certification is not effectively addressing these forest problems at the present time

  19. Situation today • Soltrust & SWIFT ceased operation in 2000 and 2001 • SIDT (SIEF) in operation with 16,000 ha under its eco-timber program • NRDF started in 2003 using SIEF eco-timber label • KFPL only FSC certified has 40,000 ha of forest and plantation certified. • Foreign logging companies are well aware of certification but see it as an unnecessary business cost. Not until buyers/markets demand certified product will they change this position or SIG make it mandatory which is most unlikely. No body is pressing logging companies to adopt forest certification

  20. Future • Commitment from government, NGO’s, donor funding and markets for certification • Education Awareness among landowners to appreciate the direct benefit of certification and become proactive • Policy change from government push for certification on forest concession areas