Announcing the Smallholder Access Program, an Innovative Approach to Responsible Forest Certification

The Smallholder Access Program seeks to make Forest Stewardship Council® certification more accessible to private landowners of 250 or fewer acres.
Jul 16, 2019 4:25 PM ET

The Rainforest Alliance, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and a consortium of forward-minded forestry corporations announce the launch of the Smallholder Access Program. FSC, long considered the gold standard of ecologically-responsible, socially-conscious forest management, has worked to transform forestry practices globally for nearly 30 years through rigorous, science-based standards and a third-party certification system. Building off this experience, the Smallholder Access Program (SAP) is a two-year FSC pilot project designed to increase access to forest certification for woodland owners under 250 acres (100 hectares). The SAP will be available to landowners across Southern and Central Appalachia, encompassing parts of Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. In its pilot phase, the SAP will be limited to a total enrollment of 7,400 acres (3,000 hectares). The SAP aims to enrich the ecological health and economic productivity of the region, one of the world’s most vital wood baskets and a biodiversity hotspot.

Corporate partners in this innovative pilot include Avery Dennison, Columbia Forest Products, Domtar, Evergreen Packaging, Kimberly-Clark, and Staples. The SAP was developed by the Appalachian Woodlands Alliance—a project of the Rainforest Alliance—with the support of FSC US and FSC International’s New Approaches for Smallholders and Communities Certification program, and extensive input from corporate partners, academic research institutions, landowner groups, and forestry professionals.


“The SAP is an important step forward for the forest products industry,” said Paige Goff, Vice President of Sustainability for Domtar. “We at Domtar see it as an investment in the future of our forests, and an investment in forest communities throughout the south-central Appalachians.”

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