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Adding Value and Conserving Community Forests: The Case of Certification in Vermont, USA

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Lorenzo, Mark
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Globalisation, the Ninth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Conf. Date: June 17-21, 2002
Date: 2002
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/887
Sector: Forestry
Region: North America
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
certification
forest products
forest management
community forestry
value
Abstract: "Can independent third-party forest certification, as promoted by the internationally recognized Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) support the conservation of biological diversity in community forests while adding economic value to forest products? Vermont Family Forests (VFF), a fledgling community forestry initiative based in Bristol, Vermont (pop. 3800), earned the first FSC group certificate in the US, verifying that over thirty separate forest parcels were jointly well-managed. VFF is directed by the Addison County Forester, and works in partnership with the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, and National Wildlife Federation to stem rates of forest loss and wildlife habitat decline by creating opportunities for improved economic returns commensurate with careful land stewardship. VFF marketing explicitly links ecological forestry practices on participating forests to creative, direct forest product marketing to customers and the general public. "The family and community-owned forests in VFF operate in an ecological context of fragmented young second-growth forest, an economic context of increasingly global forest products markets, and a social context of controversy about forest practices and deforestation. VFF benefits from the counter-trend of interest in policies and programs that integrate community, economic and ecological sustainability, especially as to be implemented in sustainable forest management. At this stage, FSC certification serves as an intervening filter between local forest ecosystems and economic markets, enhances community social capital, and helps generate market premiums."

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