Written by: Rainforest Alliance 

At the 2017 General Assembly in Vancouver, Canada, FSC Membership approved Motion 46 with a focus on exploring additional ways of making FSC policy and standards more relevant to small forest owners, which included exploring the existing flexibility of FSC system.  

To help answer this call, in 2022 FSC approved the Regional Forest Stewardship Standard (RFSS) for Asia Pacific for Smallholders in Indonesia, India and Vietnam to follow.  

The new, simplified, standard sets out a more achievable level of effort, time and financial resources for these forests.  And in addition, the reforms in the new FSC group management standard provide further efficiencies and cost savings to achieve these goals.  

Additionally, a national adaptation for Indonesia has been developed and published as a pilot to test the indicators developed for specific circumstances in Indonesia. 

Following the release of FSC’s new Regional Forest Stewardship Standard (RFSS) pilot, the Rainforest Alliance is continuing an initiative to connect products from forest communities in priority landscapes with potential markets in Java, Indonesia by working with smallholders to certify their planted forests by forming a group under FSC’s new simplified RFSS. Through a project funded by RA’s Forest Allies program, called “Linking Timber Forest Community with Market Potentials in Indonesia” we are supporting 12 farmer groups from 500 households and 10 villages to gain technical skills to increase yields, improve environmental performance and, achieve FSC certification using the new RFSS pilot standard across 500 hectares of planted forest and ultimately gain access new more rewarding wood markets. Through a mapping process of potential forest communities in Java and potential buyers of FSC certified timber we are optimistic that we can link these forest communities to new regional buyers and markets. 

As part of this work, the Rainforest Alliance has also undertaken a cost/benefit analysis of the new standard to help weigh the opportunities provided by the RFSS for potential additional farmer groups in the region. 

Back in 2017 a Rainforest Alliance report identified Java as a critical component of Indonesia’s total wood resource with a total estimated wood volume of 2.9 million m3, with plantations distributed across West, Central and East Java, Banten and Yogyakarta. Currently, FSC data shows only 12 FSC certified community forests with a total area of 27,000 hectares. There is certainly plenty of room for growth of FSC certified wood with smallholder plantations in particular to balance decreasing timber supply from natural production forests outside Java and Perhutani and we are pleased to partner with the Java Learning Center (JavLec) who have successfully managed an FSC certified group as an implementing partner on this work.  

For more information on the “Linking Timber Forest Community with Market Potentials in Indonesia​”- project, please contact Mohammad Zainuri Hasyim mhasyim@ra.org