PEFC Trees outside Forests at the World Agroforestry Congress

Trees outside Forests makes PEFC certification accessible to millions of farmers who own or manage trees on agricultural or settlement land.

PEFC Trees outside Forests at the World Agroforestry Congress

June 7, 2019 Driving innovation

For decades, only trees in forests came within the scope of forest certification. However, trees also grow outside forests, in hedgerows, scattered on farms, along streets in urban areas… With the approval of our revised Sustainable Forest Management benchmark standard last year, this is set to change.

This was the message the PEFC team took to the World Agroforestry Congress, held last month in Montpellier, France. 

The inclusion of Trees outside Forests (TOF) makes PEFC certification accessible for the first time to millions of farmers who own or manage trees on agricultural or settlement land. This will increase income generation opportunities for rural populations and in parallel support the delivery of a range of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“I really want to congratulate PEFC for taking the initiative to develop a standard for Trees outside Forests,” said Tony Bartlett, Advisor to the ACIAR Forestry Program, speaking at the World Agroforestry Congress.

“I have always been concerned that smallholders growing trees in agricultural landscapes are disadvantaged or even discriminated against in international markets. This is because it is difficult for them to meet international standards that apply to larger forest areas. So this is much needed.”

We have tailored this new approach to PEFC certification to the unique conditions of trees growing at low density on agriculture and settlement land. It is also practical and affordable to farmers or other land managers, who often grow trees as just one of their many crops. Find out more…

Getting the first TOF smallholders certified

Following the approval of the international sustainable forest management standard, national forest certification systems need to develop their own TOF certification, adapted to local conditions. Leading the way is India.

“Our TOF standard is currently in a draft state, and once ready will be submitted to PEFC for endorsement,” explained Dr Devendra Pandey, TOF Chairman for NCCF, our national member in India.

“I am sure the moment it is approved in India, its implementation will be of great help for the farmers and also for the industries, who will be in the position to export their products outside the country.”

Once the Indian TOF standard has achieved PEFC endorsement, smallholders in the country will be able to apply for PEFC certification for their trees outside forests. 

“To see three years of work coming to the implementation stage is amazing. We are committed to providing the international TOF framework throughout the region. Starting in India, we hope to realize the opportunities within the smallholder-dominated landscape of Southeast Asia,” said Richard Laity, Southeast Asia Development Representative. 

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