PEFC provides a new pathway for agricultural landowners to achieve forest certification

Long outside the scope of the PEFC ‘forest’ certification, low density trees on agricultural and settlement lands can be now assessed as part of the PEFC ‘Trees Outside Forests’ approach.

For small scale forestry, the Trees Outside Forests initiative provides practical and affordable forest certification options for farmers and other land managers looking to grow trees as just one of a multitude of different crops.

Speaking about the initiative, Dr Tony Bartlett championed the benefits for smallholders growing trees in agricultural landscapes for the international market

‘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.’

For Trees Outside Forests, group certification plays a key role, ensuring that the certification can be extended across multiple landowners, increasing the cost-effectiveness and the potential for delivering positive impact in the landscape.

With interest in Responsible Wood and PEFC forest certification growing amongst silvopastrol landowners, Trees Outside Forests is proving to be a great enabler for responsible forestry; taking the pressure off native forests and providing smallholders with a framework to manage land for multi-generational use.

The interpretation and requirements for ‘Trees Outside Forests’ can be found within the revised Sustainable Forest Management benchmark standard. This standard was approved by the PEFC General Assembly on 14 November 2018.

The benchmark standard is used by Responsible Wood, the Australian national governing body for PEFC, in developing the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management (4708: 2013 – Sustainable Forest Management).

For more information about the ‘Trees Outside Forests’ initiative please visit the PEFC website, for more information about the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management please visit the Responsible Wood website.