The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) will host a gathering of more than 60 international representatives in Lisbon, Portugal on 7-10 May, 2008. The goal of the meeting is to identify expanded opportunities for meeting the needs of small forest operations that are seeking FSC® certification.

“The Forest Stewardship Council considers it a priority within its mission to promote equitable access to certification and address the needs of small operations,” says Alan Smith, Social Strategy Program Manager at FSC®.

Meeting participants include individuals and organizations from around the world that work with small operations and community forests. Representatives are expected from more than 20 countries, including South Africa, Cameroon, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, India, Nepal, Brazil, and Honduras as well as from throughout Europe, the US, and Canada.

More than 100 million hectares are FSC® certified worldwide. About 8% of these forests are small operations.

“In 2003, FSC® established the SLIMF (Small and Low Intensity Managed Forests) initiative to better serve the needs of small operations and we are actively tracking progress,” says Smith.

The SLIMF initiative streamlines procedures for small operations making FSC® a valid proposition for forest operations of all sizes. There are over 100 examples of SLIMF projects around the world that include nearly 2 million hectares of certified forestland.

“In the United States, forest ownerships up to 1,000 hectares in size (2,500 acres) are recognized as small operations and are eligible for streamlined auditing,” says Kathryn Fernholz, meeting participant and Executive Director of Dovetail Partners, a non-profit organization in the US that assists with forest certification efforts.

“The depth and breadth of the international experience with the FSC® system provides a strong track record to build from,” says Michael Conroy, a consultant to FSC® working on the development of this meeting.

“We expect an exciting meeting. We expect to learn more about what has been working so that successful efforts can be expanded, and we hope to identify new ideas that deserve to be tried out,” says Smith.

Forest Stewardship Council®
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) is an international organization that brings people together to find solutions which promote responsible stewardship of the world’s forests.

Dovetail Partners
Dovetail Partners is a non-profit organization that provides authoritative information about the impacts and trade-offs of environmental decisions, including consumption choices, land use, and policy alternatives.