For small-scale forest growers to be successful in accessing certified timber markets, good management and marketing skills are crucial, a new study shows.
Demand for certified wood has increased in recent years, and in response to this, the amount of small-scale forest growers entering the certification market has increased as well. 22 % of all forest management certificates were in 2015 made by smallholders, FSC reported.
However, entering the certified markets for smallholders can be tied to certain challenges. The new study “Beyond good wood: Exploring strategies for small-scale forest growers and enterprises to benefit from legal and sustainable certification in Indonesia” was published in Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Tropics and Subtropics, and has authors from various institutions in Indonesia: Faculty of Forestry, Universitas Gadjah Mada, District Forest Service of Gunungkidul, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and also CIFOR.
It explores various strategies for smallholders to enter the certified markets in Indonesia by looking at three case studies located in Gunungkidul and Kulon Progo districts in Java, Indonesia. All cases are small-scale forest growers, but have different management structures. By comparing the cases, the study gives insights into how different management approaches influence the success of the forest growers to enter certified markets.
Two main conclusions can be drawn from the study: Firstly, for small-scale forest growers it is demanding to enter and be part of the certified markets, and to achieve the promised premium prices for their certified wood. Secondly, certification alone is not enough for smallholders to gain the advantages of the certified markets. Skilled managers that can establish a network to potential buyers are key for smallholders to sell their certified timber.
Based on these conclusions, the study advocates for improvement of the entrepreneurship and marketing skills of smallholders. Especially, ways to enter the certified market and links to potential buyers are key for smallholders to achieve the full potential of entering the certified markets.