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Forest Certification for Community-Based Forest Enterprises in Brazil's Western Amazon: Local Stakeholders' Perceptions ...

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FOREST CERTIFICATION FOR COMMUNITY -BASED FOREST ENTERPRISES IN BRAZIL'S WESTERN AMAZON: LOCAL STAKEHOLDERS' PERCEPTIONS OF NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE ASPECTS OF CERTIFICATION AND HOW TO IMPROVE THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS By SHOANA S. HUMPHRIES A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005

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Copyright 2005 by Shoana S. Humphries

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This is dedicated to my family.

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iv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to begin by thanking the familie s of Peixoto, Porto Dias, and So Luis do Remanso for graciously inviting me into their homes and gener ously sharing their time and information. I am also very gratef ul to the staff of CTA and EMBRAPA in Rio Branco, Brazil, for supporting and helping to facilitate my work. Next I would like to express gratitude to Dr. Karen Kainer, Dr. Marianne Schmink, and Dr. Robert Buschbacher for their assistan ce in developing my proposal and for very constructive feedback on my thesis. I would also like to thank Drs. Kainer and Schmink for their invaluable assistance during my fiel d work, and Dr. Kainer for her enthusiastic and tireless assistance in refi ning this document. Also va luable was the feedback I received from Dr. Jack Putz, Michael Jenk ins, and Richard Donovan for the development of my research proposal. I am also extremely appreciative of the support I received from my family and friends, especially Maria DiGiano, duri ng the completion of this work. Finally, I would like to recognize the fina ncial assistance I r eceived to complete this work from the Charles Wagley Research Fellowship and the TCD Graduate Assistantship Program.

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v TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iv LIST OF TABLES............................................................................................................vii LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................viii ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ix CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 2 NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE ASPECTS OF FOREST CERTIFICATION FOR COMMUNITY-BASED FOREST ENTERPRISES....................................................3 Introduction................................................................................................................... 3 Study Area....................................................................................................................6 Methods......................................................................................................................10 Structured Interviews...........................................................................................11 Major Research Themes......................................................................................12 Perceived negative and positive aspects of certification..............................13 Relative importance of each negative and positive aspect...........................13 Reflections on certification..........................................................................14 Results........................................................................................................................ .15 Perceived Negative and Positive Aspects of Certification..................................15 Peixoto and Porto Dias.................................................................................15 Other stakeholders........................................................................................17 Relative Importance of Negative and Positive Aspects......................................20 Reflections on Certification.................................................................................24 Is certification worth it?...............................................................................24 Should the operations currently cert ified continue w ith certification?........26 Would you recommend certification to other communities?.......................27 Discussion and Conclusions.......................................................................................28 What Are the Most Important Ne gative and Positive Aspects?..........................29 How Did Perspectives Among the Stakeholder Groups Differ?.........................30 What Are the Implications for the Certification of Community-Based Enterprises?.........................................................................................................34

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vi 3 IMPROVING THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS FOR COMMUNITY-BASED FOREST OPERATIONS: STAKEHOLD ER REFLECTIONS FROM THE BRAZILIAN AMAZON............................................................................................40 Introduction.................................................................................................................40 Study Area..................................................................................................................43 Methodology...............................................................................................................45 Results........................................................................................................................ .46 What Were the Most Positive Aspect s of the Certification Process?..................46 What Could the FSC, Certifiers, Prin cipal Support Organizations, Local Associations, and Others Do to Improv e the Certification Process for CFEs?..47 What Would You Change About Your CF E’s Experience with the Certification Process if Given the Chance?.............................................................................50 What Advice Would You Give Other Co mmunities Considering Certification?51 Discussion and Conclusions.......................................................................................52 Recommendations to the FSC and Certifiers......................................................52 Recommendations to Communities.....................................................................53 Advances in Brazil..............................................................................................54 4 CONCLUSIONS........................................................................................................56 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................60 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................64

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vii LIST OF TABLES Table page 1 Similarities and differences between the two operations involved in this study.......9 2 Negative aspects of certification for th e operations in Peixoto and Porto Dias identified by APRUMA, EMBRAPA, ASPD, and CTA.........................................16 3 Positive aspects of certification for th e operations in Peixoto and Porto Dias identified by APRUMA, EMBRAPA, ASPD, and CTA.........................................17 4 Average relative importance score for each negative aspect by organization and averaged across all organizations (overall)..............................................................22 5 Average relative importance score for each positive aspect by organization and averaged across all organizations (overall)..............................................................23

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viii LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1 Examples of color-coded, illustrated cards developed from the free-listing exercise and used during interviews. A) This card represents the negative aspect, “Both the certification standards and th e auditors are hard to unde rstand.” B) This card represents the positive aspect, “Certified wood has a better price.”........................14 2 Relative importance of the negative asp ects (0 = “not a negative aspect,” 1.0 = “bad,” and 2.0 = “very bad”)....................................................................................21 3 Relative importance of the positive asp ects (0 = “not a posi tive aspect,” 1.0 = “good”, and 2.0 = “very good”)...............................................................................21

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ix Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science FOREST CERTIFICATION FOR COMMUNITY -BASED FOREST ENTERPRISES IN BRAZIL'S WESTERN AMAZON: LOCAL STAKEHOLDERS' PERCEPTIONS OF NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE ASPECTS OF CERTIFICATION AND HOW TO IMPROVE THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS By Shoana S. Humphries December 2005 Chair: Karen Kainer Major Department: Forest Resources and Conservation In recent decades community forest ma nagement has been a popular strategy in programs aimed at assisting local populations to conserve their forests and improve their livelihoods. Forest Stewardship Council ( FSC) certification is being recommended for community-based forest enterprises (CFEs) as a way to improve market access for their products. However, certification has proved mo re difficult for CFEs than expected, and few certified operations have ach ieved its highly anticipated market benefits. This has led to questioning of certification’s compatib ility with CFEs. Th is study investigates perceptions of certification for three CFEs in Brazil’s western Amazon. The specific objectives were (1) to determine the negative and positive aspects of certification as perceived by community members, their pr incipal support organiza tions, and other key stakeholders; (2) to identify the relative importance of these perceived negative and positive aspects, (3) to analyze the differences in perceptions between actors, and (4) to

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x identify actors’ suggestions for improving the certification process for CFEs. Data were collected through structured interviews and a review of pertinent documents. Overall, the most positive aspects were economic and social, and the most negative aspects concerned the certif ication process and, to a le sser extent, the associated economic expenditures. The perceived impor tance of these aspects varied among the informants. For example, the community members typically scored the positive aspects higher and the negative aspects lower than th e support organizations. This is likely due to differences in the roles and vantage point s of these actors. The recommendations for improving the certification process included (1 ) simplify the certifi cation standards and procedures for CFEs, and (2) better prepare certi fiers to work with CFEs. In general, the informants agreed that the positive aspects of certification outweighe d the negative ones. This stands in sharp contrast to communitie s in other parts of Latin America that are contemplating dropping certification. Brazil has made increasing its number of cer tified CFEs a priority, and has taken important steps towards this end. Two particular enabling conditions may have helped the operations in this study overcome common constraints for CFEs: (1) membership in a regional producers group, and (2) strong polit ical, technical, and financial support from the state government. These three operations serve as important re ferences for the rest of the Brazilian Amazon, as well as the globe. Their experi ences highlight the need to adapt the certification process for CFEs a nd demonstrate that obtaining mark et benefits is possible. A wider application of certification in CFEs stands to benefit communities, forests, and consumers.

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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION In recent decades community-based forest management has been a popular strategy in programs aimed at helping local populati ons to conserve forests and improve their livelihoods (Amaral and Amaral Neto, 2005; Bray et al. 2005). While forest certification under the guise of the Forest Stewardshi p Council (FSC) is being promoted by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), government s, and donors as a way to encourage and recognize sustainable community-based forest enterprises (CFEs), as well as improve market access for their products (MMA and Gov. of Acre, 1999; WWF, 2002; Carrera et al. in press), case studies of certified CFEs present mixed re sults (Irvine, 1999; Nittler and Nash, 1999; Madrid and Ch apela, 2003; Molnar, 2003; Bray et al. 2005; May, in press). The FSC is a non-governmental, not-fo r-profit, internationa l, membership-based organization whose Principles a nd Criteria for Forest Stewardship are used as the basis for independent, third-party certification of forest ma nagement operations around the world. To date over 50 million hectares ha ve been certified in 66 countries on public, private, and communal properties (FSC, 2005b). However, perhaps because certification wa s not originally intended for small, nonindustrial operations (Bass et al. 2001; Butterfield et al. 2005), few CFEs have been certified, and many that have ar e experiencing difficulties re taining it (Irvine, 1999; Bass et al. 2001; Thornber and Ma rkopoulos, 2001). The obstacles posed by the certification process for community-based forest enterprises (CFEs) and the disparities in the benefits realized have led some scholars, practitioners, and communities to question the

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2 practicality and utility of third-party cer tification for these operations (Markopoulos, 2003; Fonseca, in press), calling for a more detailed evaluation of the actual impacts of certification and the certification process on these communities and their operations (Nussbaum and Simula, 2004; Carrera et al. in press). As Molnar (2003, p. 30) concludes based on her extensive review of certified community-based timber operations, “It is timely to pose the question of whet her and how forest ce rtification supports community forestry. . .” This research aims to address this inform ation gap through an i nvestigation of three CFEs in Brazil’s western Amazon. Following this brief introducti on, the next chapter examines the negative and positive aspects of FSC certification and the relative importance of these aspects from the perspec tives of community members, their principal support organizations, and other certification stakeholders in volved in two of the three operations. The third chapter presents obser vations and recommendations from the actors in all three communities regarding the certification process for CFEs, and what the FSC, certifiers, local associations, and others could do to improve it. This thesis has been organized such that the second and third chap ters are two individual and fully structured papers. Each one of these two chapters ha s its own discussion and conclusions section, while chapter four summarizes the main findings of the entire study.

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3 CHAPTER 2 NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE ASPECTS OF FOREST CERTIFICATION FOR COMMUNITY-BASED FOREST ENTERPRISES Introduction In recent decades community-based forest management has been a popular strategy in programs aimed at helping local populati ons to conserve forests and improve their livelihoods (Amaral and Amaral Neto, 2005; Bray et al. 2005). Nearly one-fourth of the forests in developing countries is currently owned and/or cont rolled by low-income forest communities (White and Martin, 2002). Land is being rapidly devolved to communities (Agrawal, 1999; Stone and d' Andrea, 2001; White and Martin, 2002), and this is expected to continue into the future (Molna r, 2003). In the past these communities were often perceived as threats to conservation efforts, but more recently governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and busin esses are seeking them out to implement community-based forest management. Ne vertheless, there are few examples of successful, long-term, sustainable forest enterprises involving communities. This is due in part to the complexities of the socio-political and environmental contexts in which communities exist, and the difficulties in linking communities with markets (Schmink, 2004). While forest certification under the guise of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is being promoted by non-governmental orga nizations (NGOs), governments, and donors as a way to encourage and recognize sustai nable community-based forest enterprises (CFEs), as well as improve market access fo r their products (MMA and Gov. of Acre,

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4 1999; WWF, 2002; Carrera et al. in press), case studies of certified CFEs present mixed results (Irvine, 1999; Madrid and Chapela, 2003; Molnar, 2003; Bray et al. 2005; May, in press). The FSC is a non-governmental, not-for-profit, international, membershipbased organization whose Princi ples and Criteria for Forest Stewardship are used as the basis for independent, third-pa rty certification of forest management operations around the world. To date over 50 million hectares have been certified in 66 countries on public, private, and communal properties (FSC, 2005b). However, perhaps because certification wa s not originally intended for small, nonindustrial operations (Bass et al. 2001; Butterfield et al. 2005), few CFEs have been certified, and many that have ar e experiencing difficulties re taining it (Irvine, 1999; Bass et al. 2001; Thornber and Markopoulos, 2001). As of May 2005, 89 CFEs had been FSC certified, representing only 12.7% of the tota l 698 FSC certificates in the world and 4.2% of the total area cert ified (FSC, 2005a). While these absolute numbers may not seem impressive, they represent a 75% increase ove r the 51 operations that were certified in August 2001 (Molnar, 2003). The Americas have taken the lead in pursuing certification of CFEs, with 91% of the currently certified operations (FSC, 2005a). The costs for these operations to get certified have been significan t, and the benefits realized from certification have varied greatl y. The costs, which have largely been paid by outside interests (Irvine, 1999; Bass et al. 2001; Thornber and Markopoulos, 2001), include the direct costs paid in fees to the certifier and the indirect costs incurred from bringing management practices into complian ce with the certification standards. The market benefits of certification are repor ted to be a key motivation for pursuing certification (Bass et al. 2001; Thornber and Markopoulos, 2001; Quevedo, in press) and

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5 include (1) price premiums--the most highly an ticipated market benefit, yet most elusive (Irvine, 1999; Bass et al. 2001; Molnar, 2003), (2) access to specialized market niches for certified products, which is more co mmon (Irvine, 1999; Molnar, 2003), and (3) maintaining access to current markets (Markopou los, 2003). The non-market benefits are indirectly related to certif ication and typically involve social, environmental, and technical impacts, such as improved orga nization of local associations (Markopoulos, 2003) and improved image and prestige of operations (Markopoulos, 2003; Fonseca, in press). The difficulties for CFEs in obtaining and maintaining certification and the disparities in the benefits realized have led some scholars, practitioners, and communities to question the practicality a nd utility of third-party certi fication for these operations (Markopoulos, 2003; Fonseca, in press), calli ng for a more detailed evaluation of the actual impacts of certification and the certif ication process on th ese communities and their operations (Nussbaum and Simula, 2004; Carrera et al. in press). As Molnar (2003, p. 30) concludes based on her extensive re view of certified community-based timber operations, “It is timely to pose the question of whether and how forest certification supports community forestry. . .” This research aimed to address this in formation gap by examining local actors’ perspectives on the negative a nd positive aspects of FSC cer tification for two CFEs in Brazil’s western Amazon. Speci fic objectives were (1) to identify the negative and positive aspects of certification as perceived by community members, their principal support organizations, and other key certification stakeholders, (2) to assess the relative importance of these perceived negative and positive aspects of cer tification, and (3) to

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6 analyze the differences in perceptions betw een the two operations,, as well as between the local associations, support orga nizations, and other stakeholders. Study Area Until 1992, the state of Acre was not accessible year-round by road. This delayed linkage to the rest of the country helps explain why mini ng, cattle ranching, and largescale Amazonian colonization projects had less impact in Acre than in other parts of the basin (Kainer et al. 2003), and why as of 2003 only around ten percent of Acre had been deforested (Lentini et al. 2003). The region has been marked by struggles over competing land uses, mainly small scale agriculture and extractive activities versus large-scale cattle ranching (Azevedo and Freitas, 2003). In the 1970s and 80s, the lo cal forest-dwelling rubber tappers in eastern Acre organized themselves into a strong soci al movement to fight for legal rights to forested land they had traditionally inhab ited (Keck, 1995). In 1985, they joined forces with other allies to form the Nationa l Rubber Tappers Council and to propose establishment of extractive reserves (RESEXs) dedicated to sustainable livelihoods (Schmink and Wood, 1992; Keck, 1995). Initially, conservation-oriented land sett lements in Acre (including RESEXs and other multiple-use reserves) focused on non-tim ber forest products. Because of the historical struggle to prevent forest loss, timber management and the accompanying tree felling, has been a controversia l proposal in Acre (Azevedo and Freitas, 2003), especially in RESEXs (Kainer et al. 2003; Stone, 2003). When a handful of community-based timber management projects were initiated in the 1990s by state governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations, they were met with much resistance.

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7 A new self-proclaimed “Forest Government ” was voted into power in Acre in 1999, and re-elected in 2002, and has gradually changing societal perspectives of timber management. The governor, who is a forester embraced small-scale, sustainable timber production as part of a larger forest-based development plan to improve the management and commercialization of a variety of forest products in order to diversify and improve income, help make standing forests more attrac tive than alternative land uses, and to stem rural-urban migration (Kainer et al. 2003). Timber was seen as especially important for rubber tappers, whose traditional income base of rubber and Brazil nut had long been economically unstable (Schmink and Wood, 19 92) and insufficient (Brown and Rosendo, 2000; Azevedo and Freitas, 2003). The government also pledged to encourage FSC certification as a way to ma ke forest products more competitive in national and international markets (MMA, 2000). As of August 2004, there were 18 CFEs in Acre--on target for the state goal of 21 by the end of 2004 (Marcelo Fernandes, pers onal communication). As of May 2005, four of these operations had received FSC certification of a total of seven certified CFEs in the entire country (FSC, 2005a), and at least five mo re in Acre were in the initial stages of certification (IMAFLORA, personal communica tion; Carlos Ovdio Duarte Rocha, personal communication). Parall el to these efforts, a Co mmunity Forest Producers Group was formed in 2002 to help market the pr oducts of these growing operations (CTA, no date). At least eight of the CFEs in Acre we re participating in this organization in August 2004, which met monthly to discuss production schedules, commercialization issues, and collective organization of w ood sales to buyers, mainly in So Paulo (CTA, personal communication).

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8 This research focused on two of these ope rations located in Acre: Porto Dias and Peixoto, which attained certification in 2002 and 2003, respectively (IMAFLORA, 2005) (Table 1). These operations were chosen because they were among the first CFEs to obtain certification in Acre, and they have several notable differen ces in their livelihood systems and types of land tenure, organiza tion, forest operations, and experiences with the certification process. First, the two operations have different le gal designations which are related to their distinct livelihood systems. Peixoto is legally designated as a PDA, a settlement model based on agricultural colonization (C unha dos Santos, 2002; Stone, 2003), which supports livelihood systems centered primarily on ranching and smallscale agriculture. Porto Dias is designated as a PAE, an “agro extractive settlement project,” which is a settlement model based on extractivism of fo rest products, principally rubber and Brazil nuts. Second, the two principal support organizations working with the local associations have very different missions and project objectives. EMBRAPA, the principal support organization for the Peixoto project, is a national, government-funded research institution. It approached the project as an experiment in community forestry and lowimpact operations, and promoted the projec t as an additional source of income for farmers. The Porto Dias project works w ith CTA, an NGO that focuses on social and environmental issues in forest-based commun ities. CTA approached the project as a way to improve local livelihoods, while cons erving forests and maintaining the PAE designation for the settlement.

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9 Table 1 Similarities and differences between th e two operations involved in this study Peixoto Porto Dias Land tenure / Livelihoods Legal designation colonization settlement project (PAD) agroextractive settlement project (PAE) Settlement size (ha) 378,395 22,145 Number of households 3,000 88 Average landholding size per household (ha) 80 300 Productive activities Permanent agriculture for subsistence and for markets, cattle-raising Brazil nut, rubber, subsistence agriculture Organization Local association APRUMA (Association of Rural Producers in Forestry and Agriculture) ASPD (Association of Rubber Tappers of Porto Dias) Number of households involved in operation 17 8 Principle support organization EMBRAPA (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation), a federal research institute CTA (Center for Amazonian Workers), a Brazilian NGO Forest operation Year management initiated 1996 1995 Year harvesting began 1997 2000 Area under timber management (ha) 680 (17 x 40 ha) 2,400 (8 x 300 ha) Felling cycle (years) 10 25 50 (five properties are harvested each year) Mean annual harvest (m3) 340 680 (17 families x 4 ha x 5 10 m3/ha) 800 (8 families x 10 ha x 10 m3/ha) Timber extraction method animal traction tractor or skidder Timber processing portable sawmill; processing equipment for carpentry band saw; new facility for producing small, value-added products Certification process Year certified 2003 2002 Standards used FSC-approved Standards for Amazon dry land forests and the new FSC Small and Low Intensity Managed Forests (SLIMF) Streamlined Procedures FSC-approved Standards for Amazon dry land forests Pre-conditions received 0 2 Conditions received 12 31 Sources: Cunha dos Santos (2002), FSC (2005a), IMAFLORA (2005)

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10 Third, the management regimes develope d by the principal support organizations and local associations differ. The Peixot o project was designed to be a low-impact operation that utilizes a portable sawmill to cut logs into boards in the forest, and an ox and cart to transport the board s to the road. The Porto Di as project, which has much larger annual harvest units, cont racts operators to use rented tractors and trucks to skid logs and transport them to a sawmill. Finally, the certification procedures us ed differed among the two operations. Peixoto, because it was a smaller, lower im pact operation, was evaluated for certification with the FSC’s new Small and Low Impact Managed Forests (SLIMF) Streamlined Certification Procedures. The SLIMF Proce dures were designed for smaller and less intensive operations with the goal of reduc ing the costs of cer tification and applying standards that are more appropriate for thes e operations. Porto Di as, in contrast, was evaluated for certification with the same pro cedures and standards used for large-scale industrial operations. Given these differences, I hypothesized: (1 ) Porto Dias actors would perceive the social benefits to be the most important pos itive aspects of certification; (2) Peixoto actors would perceive the economic benefits to be the most important positive aspects of certification; and (3) the most important negative aspects of ce rtification for both operations would be economic costs. Methods Data on the two certified CFEs were co llected through face-to -face, structured interviews (Bernard, 2002) centered on a quest ionnaire and a review of documents from the principal support organizations and th e certifying body. The interviews were

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11 conducted from June to August 2004 in Acre, Brazil. Documents reviewed included reports, articles, and presentati ons related to the operations. Structured Interviews The questionnaire was developed to guide structured interviews with community members participating in the CFEs (hereafter referred to as manejadores ), the principal support organization for each operation (the outs ide organization that has played the most significant role in each community’s CFE), a nd other stakeholders in FSC certification. First, a preliminary version of the questionn aire was prepared to guide the interviews with the manejadores in Peixoto and Porto Dias, who are organized into local associations known as APRUMA (Associati on of Rural Producers in Forestry and Agriculture) and ASPD (Association of Rubbe r Tappers of Porto Dias), respectively. This version was then revised based on preliminary interviews with manejadores in one operation and a focus group in the other, as we ll as discussions with the principal support organizations. The questionnaire was then applied to 76% of the manejadores in Peixoto and 87% in Porto Dias. Those not intervie wed were unavailable for personal reasons, except one individual who refu sed to be interviewed. For each CFE, the manejadores were notified that the re searcher would be visiting their settlement and requesti ng interviews with them. Th e interviews were conducted with one manejador at a time and took between 45 minut es and two hours. In almost all cases, the researcher visited the house of the manejador and in a few cases, interviews were conducted in Rio Branco. In all but two cases, the primary and formal participant in the operations, or manejador was male. Finally, the questionnaire was further adapte d to be used with the principal support organizations and broader stakeholders in ce rtification. With regard to the principal

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12 support organizations, interviews were c onducted with three re presentatives of EMBRAPA and two representatives of CTA, who work with the operations in Peixoto and Porto Dias, respectively. The other st akeholders in certification interviewed included: one representative of a donor organization, WWF, which has paid the certification fees for several CFEs in Acre, as well as provided funding for courses, meetings, and travel related to certifica tion and community forest management; two representatives of the Stat e Secretary of Technical S upport and Extension of Acre (SEATER), which is providing technical support to several of the CFEs in the state; two representatives of the State Secretary of Forests (SEF), which helps develop and implement the state government’s policies on community forest management and is providing funding for the initial certification of several CF Es in the state; and one representative of the certifier involved in all three CFEs, the Inst itute of Forestry and Agricultural Management and Certification (IMAFLORA), which is a formal partner of the U.S.-based Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood Program. Major Research Themes The structured interviews focused on three major research themes: (1) the perceived negative and positive aspects of certification; (2) the relative importance of each aspect; and (3) reflections on certification. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected to illuminate the negative and positive aspects of certification to date from the perspective of the manejadores themselves, their principa l support organizations, and other stakeholders in certif ication. The positive and ne gative aspects could include economic, environmental, social, and technical changes related to pursuing or receiving certification, as well as aspect s of the certification process its elf. The relative importance of these items was then ascerta ined to understand which of th e aspects were perceived to

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13 be most positive and negative. The final topic of interest was the respondents’ reflections on certification. Perceived negative and positive aspects of certification The manejadores and their principal support organi zations were asked to free-list (Bernard, 2002) the negative and positive as pects of certification to date for their respective operations. The other stakeholders interviewed were asked to free-list these contrasting aspects of cer tification in general. Relative importance of each ne gative and positive aspect Information from the free-listing exercise was organized into a master list of positive and negative aspects for each opera tion, such that each operation had its own master list. Subsequently, a color-coded car d was created for each item; negative aspects were written on yellow cards and positive aspects on blue (Figure 1). Illustrations were drawn on each card to visually present thes e aspects for respondents with little to no reading skills. Using these cards and the que stionnaire, informants evaluated each cost using a three-point Likert-type scale (Bernard, 2002) as fo llows: “very bad” = 2, “bad” = 1, or “not a cost” = 0. Likewise, the cat egories for benefits were: “very good” = 2, “good” = 1, or “not a benefit” = 0. As each co st and benefit was evaluated, the reason for the evaluation result was also queried. The quantitative data generated by these Likert-scale responses for each negative and positive aspect were analyzed. The average scores were determined first by organization, then by operation, and fina lly, when applicable, across all four organizations to determine an overall averag e score. Relative importance of the items was then deduced based on two primary consid erations. First, the intensities of the perceived negative and positive impacts were considered, based on the average scores for

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14 each organization. For example, the number of negative aspects that scored above a 1.0 was tallied. Next, the aspects perceived to be the most negative and the most positive (i.e., those with the highest average scores) we re identified for each organization and then compared among the two organizations in each operation, across operations, and overall. Fig. 1. Examples of color-coded, illustrated cards developed from the free-listing exercise and used during interviews. A) This card represents the negative aspect, “Both the certific ation standards and the auditors are hard to understand.” B) This card represents the positive aspect, “Certified wood has a better price.” The same procedures were used to anal yze the relative importance of the negative and positive aspects by categor y (while recognizing that th ese are not categories with firm boundaries): economic, social, environmenta l, technical, and speci fic to certification. The “specific to certification” category represents negative and positive aspects related to the process of obtaining and maintaining cer tification. Next, average scores for each category were calculated for each organizati on and overall. Finally, these scores were analyzed for each organization and compar ed among organizations for each operation, across operations, and overall. This evaluation of relative importance was not performed for the group of “other stakeholders” because there was not sufficient time to generate original master lists of negative and positive aspects for them. Reflections on certification The manejadores and the principal support organi zations for the operations in Peixoto and Porto Dias were as ked a series of refl ective questions abou t certification and

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15 the certification process. Th e guiding questions included: (1 ) Is certification worth it? (2) Should the operations currently certified continue with certification in to the future? and (3) Would you recommend certification to other communities? Results Perceived Negative and Positive Aspects of Certification Peixoto and Porto Dias Negative aspects. There was little overlap in th e perceived negative aspects of certification identified by the organizations (Table 2). The actors in the Peixoto operation (APRUMA and EMBRAPA, the local associati on and the principal support organization, respectively) identified mostly economic and technical negative as pects (11 of 13 total negative aspects), while more negative aspect s specifically related to the certification process (7 of 10 total items) were identif ied by the actors in the Porto Dias operation (ASPD and CTA, the local association and the principal support organization, respectively), which had more difficulty obtai ning certification. In fact, all of the negative aspects identified by ASPD specifically concerned the certification process. No environmental negative aspects were identifie d. Also of note is that CTA was the only organization that identified a negati ve social aspect of certification. Positive aspects. In contrast to the negative aspe cts, there was more overlap in the perceived positive aspects of certification identified by the organizations in general, and specifically between the local association a nd its principal support organization in each operation (Table 3). The most common type of positive aspect identified was economic.

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16 Table 2 Negative aspects of certification for the opera tions in Peixoto and Porto Dias identified by APRUMA, EMBRAPA, ASPD, and CTA Peixoto a Porto Dias Negative aspects APRUMA EMBRAPA ASPD CTA Economic Certification is expensive to obtain and maintain Certified wood is too expensive for many buyers Certified wood is more expensive to produce Delays in receiving m oney from distant buyers Sale of certified wood is more complicated Market not as good as expected Social Creates more dependency on partner organizations and financial donors Technical Registering wood for chain-of-custody takes time and is difficult Quality of processed wood must be high Greater pressure to do good management Only wood from the CFE can be sawn in the CFEs sawmill Restrictions on where wood can be sawn Specific to certification Certification is a new and complex process Both the certification standards and the auditors are hard to understand Too many conditions to meet in one year Conditions will be difficult for community to meet Auditors lack experience with communities in the Amazon Certifiers are very distant from the community Surprise visits are bad b Certification could be lost due to the actions of others a “ ”indicates that this organization identifie d the corresponding ne gative aspect. No negative “environmental” aspe cts were identified. b This negative aspect was mentioned as an additional item during the relative importance evaluation exercise.

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17 Table 3 Positive aspects of certification for the operatio ns in Peixoto and Porto Dias identified by APRUMA, EMBRAPA, ASPD, and CTA Peixoto a Porto Dias Positive aspects APRUMA EMBRAPA ASPD CTA Economic The project is better known Certified wood is easier to sell Better price More confidence in contracts Access to new markets It differentiates the product b Social Association members are more motivated Improved organization of the Association Recognition of the work of the Association Greater credibility with state agencies The government supports the project because it is certified b Greater use of personal safety equipment Technical Improved management practices Better control of equipment used in forest management It is easier to get approval from IBAMA when an operation is certified b Environmental The forest has more value More effort to reduce damage to the forest Better management of trash a “ ”indicates that this organization identif ied the corresponding positive aspect. No positive aspects for the “specific to certi fication” category were identified. b This positive aspect was mentioned as an additional item during the relative importance evaluation exercise. Other stakeholders Negative aspects. One representative of SEF (State Secretary of Forests) previously worked at CTA and was involve d in the certification of the Porto Dias operation. He noted that the demands of cer tification, such as m onitoring, made ASPD more dependent on CTA and other outsiders. He also indicated that the decision to

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18 pursue certification came from outsi de the community, and neither the manejadores nor CTA fully understood its impli cations at the time. The representative of WWF identified two ne gative aspects of certification. First, the fees charged by IMAFLORA are very hi gh; WWF has helped cover these costs for several CFEs. Second, the pursuit of certificat ion represents very significant risks for communities as they are making large investments of time and effort to get certified without any guarantees regarding future profit. Positive aspects. The two representatives of SE ATER identified the green seal’s indication of quality and product distinction as positive aspects of certification. Other benefits of certification iden tified by at least one of the representatives were: certified products command better prices, certification pr ovides access to new markets (one stated that certification serves as a “type of passport” that permits access for forest products to new markets), certified products ar e easier to sell, and certifica tion is a type of guarantee. In addition, one representative suggested that ce rtification is creating a new type of business culture, one in which companies a nd communities work together to both sell wood and conserve the forest. He also indica ted that certification is creating awareness among local loggers that they will not be ab le to continue business as usual for much longer, which could have ma ny types of positive impacts. One representative of SEF cited dual bene fits: certification guarantees meeting specific production guidelines and contributes to improving th e image of forest product operations. He also indicated th at the pursuit of certification is in itself an educational process, and the certification of industr ial operations could co ntribute a lot to environmental education in the forest produc ts sector. Finally, he asserted that

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19 certification levels the playi ng field among countries such as Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia with respect to competition in the international wood products market. The representative of IMAFLORA reiterat ed a few positive aspects of certification identified by others: im proved self-esteem of the manejadores ; better visibility for operations; improved social or ganization, citing for example the requirements for clear rules and responsibilities for local associati on members; and, in the long-term, improved profitability. Several benef its not voiced by the other in formants included better access to information, events, and training; improve d motivation to manage conflicts (i.e., if parties to a dispute share a hi gher goal of certification, this can persuade them to resolve conflicts); and stimulation of cultural changes in terms of recognizing the importance of maintaining forests for a better quality of life. He also mentioned that in the long-term improved awareness of issues addressed in the certification standards could lead to other environmental and/or health benefits, su ch as better management of refuse. The WWF representative interviewed enumer ated two principal positive aspects of certification for communities, both economic. The first was remuneration for certified products, although he emphasized that higher pr ices are not guaranteed, and it was only in the previous year that certified CFEs in Acre finally secured hi gher prices. Second, the green seal differentiates products in the ma rketplace by indicating that the operation of origin is socially and environmentally responsib le. In addition, he sa id the fact that the products are from communities helps to furthe r differentiate them. He added that WWF, as a conservation organization, benefits fr om the CFEs they support because these operations are managing their forests well.

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20 Relative Importance of Negat ive and Positive Aspects Negative aspects. For both operations, principal support organization scored the negative aspects higher than did the local associat ion in the majority of cases. In Peixoto, APRUMA (the local association) had only one negative aspect with an average score of 1.0 (a 1.0 representing a “bad” aspect and a 2.0 a “very bad” aspect) (Table 4), while EMBRAPA (the support organiza tion) had five negative aspect s with an average score of 1.0 or higher. For the operation in Porto Dias ASPD (the local asso ciation) scored six items between 1.0 and 1.5, while CTA (the suppor t organization) scored all of the items between 1.0 and 2.0. Also notable is that the actors in Po rto Dias (the agroextractive settlement) had higher average scores for thei r top ranked negative aspe cts than the actors in Peixoto (the colonization settlement). The “specific to certification” category was perceived to be the most important, scoring relatively high for three of the orga nizations (between 1.2 and 1.6) and receiving the highest overall average score (1.1) (Fi gure 2). While “economi c” was the second highest scoring category overall (0.9), in general this cate gory scored relatively low on average (0.6 to 0.7) for three of the four organizations; CTA was th e exception with an average of 1.5. The “technical ” category also scored relati vely low overall. Finally, “social” aspects scored very high (2.0) for CT A, but relatively low for ASPD (0.7), while EMBRAPA and APRUMA did not identify any negative social aspects of certification for the operation in Peixoto. Negative “envi ronmental” aspects we re not evaluated by organizations in either operation becaus e none were identified on the master lists. Positive aspects. In contrast to the negative aspects, the local associations typically had higher scores than the support or ganizations for the positive aspects. For Peixoto, APRUMA (the local association) scor ed all of the positive aspects between 1.2

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21 and 1.8 (with 1.0 representing a good aspect and 2.0 representing a very good aspect) (Table 5). EMBRAPA (the support organizatio n) scored nine of eleven items between 1.0 and 2.0. For Porto Dias, ASPD (the loca l association) scored all of the items 0.0 1.0 2.0APRUMAEmbrapaASPDCTAOrganizationAverage score Economic Social Technical Environmental Specific to Certification Fig. 2. Relative importance of the negative as pects (0 = not a negative aspect, 1.0 = bad, and 2.0 = very bad) Fig.3. Relative importance of the positive asp ects (0 = not a posi tive aspect, 1.0 = good, and 2.0 = very good) 0.0 1.0 2.0APRUMAEmbrapaASPDCTAOrganizationAverage score Economic Social Technical Environmental Specific to Certification

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Table 4. Average relative importance score for each negative aspect by organization and averaged acro ss all organizati ons (overall) Peixoto b,c Porto Dias Overall Negative aspects a APRUMA EMBRAPA Avg. Score ASPD CTA Avg. Score Avg. Score Rank Conditions will be difficul t for community to meet (STC) ---1.5 2.0 1.8 1.8 1 Too many conditions to meet in one year (STC) ---1.5 2.0 1.8 1.8 1 Certification is expensive to obtain and maintain (Ec) 0.9 2.0 1.5 0.8 2.0 1.4 1.4 2 Certifiers are very distant from the community (STC) ---1.2 1.5 1.3 1.3 3 Creates more dependency on partner organizations and financial donors (S) ---0.7 2.0 1.3 1.3 3 Both the certification standards and the auditors are hard to understand (STC) ---1.0 1.5 1.3 1.3 3 Certification is a new and co mplex process (STC) 0.4 1.3 0.9 0.8 2.0 1.4 1.1 4 Certification could be lost due to the actions of others (STC) ---1.2 1.0 1.1 1.1 4 Auditors lack experience with communities in the Amazon (STC) ---1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 5 Registering wood for chain-of-custody takes time and is difficult (T) 0.7 1.0 0.8 0.7 1.0 0.8 0.8 6 Market not as good as expected (Ec) 0.6 1.0 0.8 ---0.8 6 Quality of processed wood must be high (T) 0.5 1.0 0.8 ---0.8 6 Only wood from the CFE can be sawn in the CFEs sawmill (T) 0.6 0.7 0.6 ---0.6 7 Certified wood is more expensive to produce (Ec) 1.0 0.0 0.5 0.5 1.0 0.8 0.6 7 Restrictions on where wood can be sawn (T) 0.8 0.3 0.6 ---0.6 7 Delays in receiving money from distant buyers (Ec) 0.9 0.0 0.5 ---0.5 8 Certified wood is too expensive for many buyers (Ec) 0.5 0.3 0.4 ---0.4 9 Sale of certified wood is more complicated (Ec) 0.3 0.3 0.3 ---0.3 10 Greater pressure to do good management (T) 0.6 0.0 0.3 ---0.3 10 a The negative aspects are coded to indicate its category as follows: (STC) = specific to certification, (Ec) = economic, (S) = s ocial, (T) = technical; b Ranking: 0 = not a cost, 1 = bad, 2 = very bad; and c A “—“indicates an item that was not evaluated because it wa s not on the master list for the corresponding operation. 22

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Table 5 Average relative importance score for each positive aspect by organization and aver aged across all orga nizations (overall) Peixoto b,c Porto Dias Overall Positive aspects of certification a APRUMA EMBRAPA Avg. Score ASPD CTA Avg. Score Avg. Score Rank Access to new markets (Ec) 1.8 2.0 1.9 1.9 2.0 1.9 1.9 1 Better price (Ec) 1.8 1.3 1.6 2.0 2.0 2.0 1.8 2 Recognition of the work of the Association (S) ---2.0 1.5 1.8 1.8 2 The project is better known (Ec) 1.7 2.0 1.8 1.7 1.5 1.6 1.7 3 Greater credibility with state agencies (S) ---1.4 2.0 1.7 1.7 3 Greater use of personal safety equipment (S) 1.6 1.0 1.3 2.0 2.0 2.0 1.6 4 Association members are more motivated (S) 1.5 1.7 1.6 ---1.6 4 The forest has more value (Env) ---2.0 1.0 1.5 1.5 5 Improved management practices (T) ---1.9 1.0 1.4 1.4 6 More confidence in contracts (Ec) 1.5 1.7 1.6 2.0 0.5 1.3 1.4 6 More effort to reduce damage to the forest (Env) 1.5 0.3 0.9 1.9 1.5 1.7 1.3 7 Certified wood is easier to sell (Ec) 1.4 1.0 1.2 ---1.2 8 Better management of trash (Env) 1.4 1.0 1.2 ---1.2 8 Improved organization of the Association (S) 1.2 0.7 0.9 ---0.9 9 Better control over equipment used in forest management (T) 1.5 0.0 0.8 ---0.8 10 a The positive aspects are coded to indicate its category as follows: (STC) = specific to certification, (Ec) = economic, (S) = s ocial, (T) = technical. b Ranking: 0 = not a benefit, 1 = good, 2 = very good. c A “—“indicates an item that was not evaluated because it wa s not on the master list for the corresponding operation. 23

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24 between 1.4 and 2.0, and CTA (the support orga nization) scored al l but one between 1.0 and 2.0. Also, surprisingly, as they did for th e negative aspects, the actors in Porto Dias tended to score the posit ive aspects higher than the actors in Peixoto. Overall, “economic” and “social” positive aspects consistently scored relatively high for all four organizati ons, receiving average scores of 1.7 and 1.5, respectively (Figure 3). Positive “environmental” aspects sc ored relatively high for three of the four organizations. While “technical” aspects also scored high for three of the four organizations, EMBRAPA did not recognize any “technical” benefits of certification. There were no positive aspects identified on the master lists for the “specific to certification” category (which pertains to the process of obtaining and maintaining certification), therefore none were evaluate d by organizations for either operation. Reflections on Certification Is certification worth it? Almost everyone interviewed with the operations in Peixoto and Porto Dias responded positively to the broad question: “Is certification worth it ?” The exceptions were the two representatives of CTA, who replied that in some respects it is, and in others it is not. For the operation in Peixoto, two of th e three representatives of EMBRAPA interviewed reasoned that actual and potenti al price increases and market access were benefits that make certificati on “worth it,” even with all of the costs involved in the certification process. One also stated that certification could improve the organizational aspect of the operation. All 13 manejadores interviewed from APRUMA asserted that certification is indeed worth it. Almost half of the manejadores (six or 46%) cited better price as their principal justif ication, and five (38%) reasoned that certified wood is easier

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25 to sell. Other advantages cited in favor of certification included the guarantee that their wood would be sold in a legal manner, access to new markets, and increased recognition of APRUMA. One respondent outlined several disadvantages of certi fication, such as not being allowed to hunt in the timber manage ment area, but still agreed it is worth maintaining. In addition, two people also stated that certif ication is worth continuing, to see what benefits it could bring in the future. In Porto Dias, the manejadores cited the following reasons for their response that certification is worthwhile: acc ess to new markets, better price for wood, recognition of the ASPD and the community, learning more about forest management, and improved safety. The first response was mentioned by two people and the rest by one each. One person stated that if they did not have certif ication, they would not have a way to sell their wood; it is worth it because they have a market. He also declared that the time is going to come when it will be impossible to sell wood without certification. The representatives of CTA articulated positive and negative aspects of certification in response to “Is certification wo rth it?” They noted that th ere was strong donor and state government support for certification, and that the operation in Porto Dias and CTA would not have access to this support if they were not involved in certification. Indeed, both CTA and EMBRAPA stated that their main in centive for encouragi ng these operations to pursue certification was because donors were offering badly needed project funds to community forest management projects willi ng to become certified. However, the CTA representatives also observed that certification places a lot of responsibility on the community and that some of the demands of certification are impossible for the community to comply with alone (e.g., controlling land invasions). Furthermore, they

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26 also identified an important contradicti on in the goals of certification--while it supposedly strives to guarantee the inde pendence of small-sc ale operators, the 31 conditions (or corrective action requests necessa ry for maintaining certification) received by Porto Dias actually exacerbated community dependence on support organizations for technical and financial assistance. Finall y, one CTA representative concluded that certification is costly and complicated, and not that important. She also said that they were going to study other, less expensive ways to recognize community efforts to manage their forests sustainably. Should the operations currently certif ied continue with certification? There was general agreement among all re spondents that the two operations should continue with certification for the next five years, with the only deviations coming from two manejadores in Peixoto who responded “maybe.” When asked about a ten-year timeframe, one EMBRAPA respondent change d his response to “maybe” as well. For the Peixoto operation, one EMBRAPA re presentative stated that maintaining certification would be difficult for APRUMA, mostly due to the social dynamics between members, but that they should conti nue with it. The other two EMBRAPA representatives said that the decision to c ontinue with certificati on should depend on how the market changes over time. The manejadores from APRUMA were more adamant about the necessity to maintain certification, with five sayi ng that it should continue in the long-term. Two further cl arified that certification s hould be maintained even if APRUMA had to pay for it. One stated that if certification were lost, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to get it back. He affirmed that they should maintain certification for 10 years or more and added that if possible, this work should continue for the rest of their lives. One of th e two who responded that “maybe” they should

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27 continue with certification said APRUMA shoul d have a better idea of the difficulties of certification at the end of five years, and could de cide at that time. Similarly, the manejadores in Porto Dias were resolute that certification of their operation should continue indefinitely. Howeve r, the representatives of CTA were less committed to continuing certification into the future. They agreed that certification should be continued for now and one related that ongoing pressure from the state government and the wood buyers was incentive to continue with cer tification into the future. Would you recommend certification to other communities? All respondents for the operations in Peixoto and Porto Dias unanimously concurred that they would recommend certi fication to other communities. EMBRAPA reasoned that certification coul d help with organization and product marketing, the latter being especially important for operations with low production volume. In APRUMA, one manejador said that he and fellow manejadores were proud of having successfully completed the difficult certification process and that recommending certification was one of the first things they did when speaking to other communities. Three manejadores also asserted that other communities should have the same benefits they had attained. Another pointed out that if other commun ities got certified, it would increase the volume of certified wood, which would be good for everyone. Reasons cited by manejadores in Porto Dias for recommending certification included that certified wood was easier to se ll due to a higher demand (two people), certified wood had a better price (one), and th at the use of personal safety equipment was important (one). However, one person i ndicated that in his experience, other communities were not interested in certificat ion because of the amount of work involved

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28 and the fact that wood sales took a long time to complete. Two others qualified their response with the condition that the commun ity members must make an effort to understand certification (one) and become well tr ained (one). One re presentative of CTA also recommended that communities not pursu e certification until they had at least one year of experience in managing forests for timber production. Discussion and Conclusions This study was designed to illuminate stak eholder perceptions of the negative and positive aspects of FSC certification for comm unity-based forest enterprises (CFEs). While international conservati on organizations, governments, and donors are increasingly promoting FSC certification for CFEs, there is limited understanding of how local actors (both communities and their local support orga nizations) perceive ce rtification, and how these perceptions might vary acro ss different operational contexts. The research methods were specifically desi gned to tap into thes e local perceptions. The community members and representatives of their support organi zations were asked to identify specific negative and positive asp ects of certification in their own words, instead of using outsider-imposed categories. This not only more accurately captured the perceived negative and positive aspects, but also made the relative importance scoring exercise easier for the participants sin ce base-line responses came from them. By eliciting the relative importance of the percei ved contrasting aspects, instead of simply listing these items, a more informative anal ysis of the local perceptions regarding certification was provided. In addition, interviews were conducted with the manejadores and their principal support or ganization representatives sepa rately. This facilitated independent responses from both groups of actors, allowing support organizations and

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29 individual manejadores to be frank in their responses. It also permitted comparisons between these two groups. What Are the Most Important Negative and Positive Aspects? While a wide range of negative aspects were identified, not all of them were perceived to be important. As hypothesize d, economic costs of cer tification were found to be one of the two most important nega tive aspects of certifi cation, while the major preoccupation with the certification process wa s unanticipated. Nega tive social aspects were not a concern for most of the stakeh olders, with the exception of CTA, a local NGO. No negative environmental aspect s of certification were perceived. Many of the negative aspects of certificat ion identified in this study have been identified as barriers or constraints for CFEs seeking certification. For example, several studies have voiced concern over the high cost s of certification and the burden these will present communities when they assume this expense (Irvine, 1999; Bass et al. 2001; Thornber and Markopoulos, 2001). The direct co sts of certification (or fees paid to the certifier) were approximately US$ 11,420 for Port o Dias for the pre-audit visit and initial assessment (Mauricio Voivodic, personal co mmunication) and US$ 2,000 for each annual audit. For Peixoto, the costs were US$ 9,200 fo r the pre-audit visit and initial assessment (Mauricio Voivodic, personal co mmunication). These values ar e similar to what CFEs in Mexico ($12,000), and Honduras ($12,000) paid for initial as sessments (Molnar, 2003), more than what CFEs in Guatemala paid for initial assessments (around $5,000) (Soza, 2003), and significantly lower than Molnar (2003) reports for a certified CFE in Bolivia ($47,425). In contrast to the negative aspects, almo st all of the positive ones identified were perceived to be important. As hypothesized, eco nomic benefits were perceived to be the

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30 most important positive aspect of certification for Peixoto, but the local association also scored other types of benefits highly. Also as hypothesized, social benefits scored highly on average for Porto Dias, but the local asso ciation scored other positive aspects more highly. Overall, economic and social benefits were perceived to be the most important positive aspects of certification across the stakeholder groups. This is not surprising since the principal motivation for pursuing certification for bo th operations in this study was market benefits, as has been observed fo r other certified CFEs studied (Irvine, 1999; Bass et al. 2001). In addition, several studies of other certified operations have highlighted the importance of social bene fits, including improved image of the local association and operation, and re sulting greater credibility wi th governments, for example in Mexico (Markopoulos, 2003; Fonseca, in press) and Guatemala (Carrera et al. in press). When asked if certification was worth it, most stakeholders interviewed affirmed that it was, and that the certified operations s hould maintain certification into the future. Furthermore, both the manejadores and representatives of the principal support organizations stated that they do or woul d recommend certification to other communities. How Did Perspectives Among th e Stakeholder Groups Differ? The explicitly comparative approach to this study revealed that the perspectives of stakeholders differed by operation, as well as between the local association and its support organization within each operation. Th e other stakeholders in certification offered some unique perspectives as well. The two principal diffe rences were: 1) the actors in the Porto Dias operation scored both the negative and positive aspects of certification higher than their counterparts in Peixoto, and 2) the loca l associations scored

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31 the positive aspects higher a nd the negative aspects lower th an their principal support organizations. The seemingly paradoxical result that actor s in Porto Dias scored both the negative and positive aspects higher than their counterparts in Peixoto is consistent with several differences between the operations and their experiences with certification. Regarding variations in negative aspects, the bulk of these identif ied by the actors in Porto Dias pertain to the “specific to certification” categ ory, and they scored these much higher than the Peixoto actors scored the negative aspe cts identified for their operation. Possible explanations for this include disparities in experiences with the certification process, which was much more burdensome for the Porto Dias operation for several reasons. Because the Porto Dias operation uses heavy machinery and outside labor to remove logs from the forest, while the operati on in Peixoto uses animal traction and local labor, the Porto Dias operation was scrutini zed more closely du ring the certification process for environmental impact and labor issues, and given cond itions (or corrective action requests necessary for ma intaining certification) conc erning these issues. Also, because the inhabitants of Porto Dias have a long history of gathering non-timber forest products and hunting, the manejadores were required to documen t and monitor the use of these resources in addition to the standard impact monitoring of timber harvests; these were not issues in the agriculturally-oriented Peixoto. Third, because Porto Dias was only the second CFE to get certified in the country, the certifiers did not have much experience or guidance in the ce rtification of CFEs at that time. During the certification process APRUMA was held to the same sta ndards as large industrial operations, and received more than 30 pre-conditions and conditions from IMAFLORA. The operation

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32 in Peixoto, in contrast, was evaluated according to the newly drafted FSC SLIMF Streamlined Certification Procedures, and it r eceived no pre-conditions and far fewer (12) and less onerous conditions. While these f actors help explain why the certification process was much more difficult for the Port o Dias operation than the Peixoto operation, it is worth noting that a perception existed that the certification process results were unfair for Porto Dias, given that its inhabitants had traditionally maintained and utilized the forest for the sustainable harvest of nontimber forest products, while the inhabitants in Peixoto had traditionally cleared forest for agriculture and pasture. Other reasons why the actors in Porto Di as scored a wider range of types of positive aspects (environmental, social, and t echnical) of certification higher than their counterparts in Peixoto (who scored “ec onomic” aspects the highest) may include differences in livelihood systems, motivati ons for implementing timber management, and support organizations. The manejadores in Peixoto are coloni sts whose livelihoods are primarily focused on cattle production and the sale of agricultural products. The motivation for implementing timber producti on was to complement these sources of income in areas they were not allowed to deforest legally. EMBRAPA, the support organization for Peixoto, appr oached the project as an in come generation initiative and placed great emphasis on technical capacity. In contrast, the livelihoods of the manejadores in Porto Dias have long depended on intact forests for the harvest and sale of non-timber forest products. In addition to providing an increasingly significant source of income for them, timber pr oduction, due to the value it adds to the forest, helped justify their forest-b ased economy which is under consta nt threat. One of the most critical threats has been a movement by some residents to convert the legal status of the

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33 settlement from an “agroextractive settlem ent project” to a “col onization settlement project,” which would involve sweeping changes to the way land is divided and how the settlement is managed. CTA, the support organization for Porto Dias, approached certification as a way to bring critically needed infrastructure to the settlement (which lacked a permanent road) and provide income, while also conserving the forest and helping to maintain the current status of the settlement. CTA had increasingly emphasized improving the organization of the lo cal association and intensifying technical training, particularly after the initial certification assessment. Based on these differences, it is not surprising that the actors in Peixoto perceived “economic” benefits to be the most important, while their counterpa rts in Porto Dias also scor ed highly the other types of benefits (social, technical, and environmental). Richards (1997) and Schmink (2004) have emphasized that it is precisely these nonmarket benefits of forests that communities often value most highly. The higher optimism of the local associati ons regarding certification compared to their principal support organiza tions was evident in the form er’s typically lower scores for negative aspects and higher scores for positive ones. This finding appears to be consistent with the suggestion of Bass et al (2001) that the subsid izing of certification costs by donors has led communities to underestimate the economic costs and overestimate the economic benefits of cer tification. In our study, the support organizations have been responsible for pa ying the costs of certification and proving compliance with certification standards. At th e same time, they have received few of the direct economic and indirect social, envir onmental, and technical benefits (e.g., more effort to reduce damage to the forest, impr oved organization of the local association).

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34 Therefore, based on their vantage point, it is not surprising that economic costs figured most prominently for the support organizations and the positive aspects of certification less so. Similarly, from their cont rasting vantage poi nt, perhaps the manejadores were unable to accurately evaluate the economic costs, but were in a better position to evaluate the other non-economic negative and positive aspects (i.e., environmental, social, and technical). What Are the Implications for the Certif ication of Community-Based Enterprises? Many studies, including this one, have indicated that the economic costs of certification for CFEs have been substant ial and the certification process has proven difficult. However, efforts are underway by certifiers and the FSC to make the process less expensive and cumbersome, and Brazilian or ganizations have taken a leading role in this endeavor. IMAFLORA has taken severa l steps to reduce the costs for CFEs in Brazil, including: creating the Social Fund for Certification to help subsidize the direct costs of certification (fees pa id to IMAFLORA), developing the Volunteer Auditors Bank of specialists to perform certification of CF Es at no cost or at significantly discounted rates (also see Azevedo and Fr eitas, 2003), and printing a boo klet specifically aimed at informing community members about certification (the booklet is ava ilable in Portuguese at http://www.imaflora.org/arqui vos/cartilha_co munidades.pdf ). The FSC has also developed, as mentioned, new Small and Low Intensity Managed Forests (SLIMF) Streamlined Certification Procedures and FSC-Brazil has composed new SLIMF forest certification standards--which representa tives of CFEs, NGOs, and governmental organizations helped to deve lop (FSC Brazil, 2004). The results of this study s how that application of the SLIMF Procedures in Peixoto may have reduced the perceived importance of the negative aspects of certification for

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35 the local association and its support organi zation. However, the results cannot be divorced from the fact that Peixoto also had a smaller scale and lower intensity operation than Porto Dias. Nonetheless, expanded efforts to streamline the certification process, such as certification standards specifica lly for SLIMF operations, may be key to achieving widespread FSC certification of CFEs globally. See Humphries (2005) for detailed analysis of the cert ification process in the two co mmunities involved in this study. While many non-economic benefits of certific ation were perceived to be important, the economic benefits proved very important. In fact, higher prices for wood related to access to the certified market may be the only way for these operations to achieve economic viability given the disadvantages th ey face of unfavorable economies of scale (i.e., high cost per unit volume), distance from major markets, and stiff competition with illegal wood. On the other hand, the difficulty of meeti ng the certification standards (especially those concerning documentation and monitoring) and paying certification fees may doom these CFEs to indefinite dependen ce on support organizations. Time will tell if the process can be simplified enough to ma ke the standards and costs manageable for local associations, or if a permanent rela tionship with support organizations will be acceptable. Moreover, new models may emer ge to address these problems and/or new solutions for obtaining good prices for wood may be found. This study revealed differences in percep tions between the local associations and their support organizations. Differences in pe rspectives on the impor tance of the positive versus the negative aspects of certificati on could lead to conflict between local associations and support organizations over whether or not to ma ke certification a

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36 priority. Support organizations may not want to commit to securing funding and providing technical assistance to meet certification standard s if they do not think the positive aspects outweigh the negative ones. This study also revealed significant differences between CFE operations in the perception of negative and positive aspects of certification, likely due to the different contexts under which the CFEs are opera ting. Accommodating differences among CFEs in livelihood and land tenure systems, motivations for implementing timber management, and types of management regimes will likely continue to be a challenge for the FSC and certifiers. Our study provides some insight into how these differences might affect operations and their perceptions of certification. Differen ces in CFEs’ perceptions of economic costs and benefits could also comp licate cooperative efforts in wood sales or cost sharing. However, no evidence of thes e types of conflicts wa s found in this study. Two important enabling conditions distingu ish the CFEs in this study from other CFEs globally, and perhaps have contributed to their success, especia lly with regard to economic benefits. First, bot h operations in this study were members of the Community Forest Producer Group, which as of August 2004 included at least eight local associations with certified and non-certified CFEs in Ac re, as well as several non-governmental and federal and state organizations The Group benefited its memb ers in three principal ways (Francisco de Assis Correa Silva, persona l communication): 1) it provided a forum to discuss certification, including the process, cost s, and benefits; 2) it provided a platform for the members to confront problems or propose change as a group, for example in dealing with IBAMA, the federal agency that approves forest manage ment plans; and 3)

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37 most importantly, it facilitate d wood sales to ten members of the Brazilian Buyers Group, a consortium of buyers of certified wood in So Paulo. According to the manejadores and their principal support organizations, both the Porto Dias and Peixoto operations had difficu lties selling wood in th e local and national markets prior to this So Paulo connection. The proliferation of illegal wood drives down local wood prices (Freitas 2004) and previous buyers had refused to pay for wood received (EMBRAPA, APRUMA, CTA, ASPD, personal communications). In contrast, the buyers in So Paulo had become regular customers, purchasing the majority of the harvest from Porto Dias and Peixoto in 2003, and additionally from several other communities in 2004. Although they were pa ying the same price for the certified sawnwood as the going rate in So Paulo for non-certified sawnwood (about R$ 800 or US$ 338 per cubic meter) (EMBRAPA, CTA, personal communications), this was at least 400% more than the standard price a co mmunity could receive in the local market (between R$ 100 200 or US$ 42 85 per cubic meter) (EMBRAPA, CTA, personal communications). In addition, these buyers ac cepted the lesser know n species and small quantities that communities offered, and were re portedly more forgiving than the industry norm with regard to quality (C TA, personal communication). This type of arrangement could dimini sh many of the constraints CFEs have traditionally encountered in their relationships with wood products markets, such as distance to certified mark ets and limited capital, pr oduction capacity, processing technology, and marketing skills (Aguilar, 2000; Bass et al. 2001; Quevedo, in press). Similar efforts at organizing the different actors in communi ty-based forestry are also underway in Mexico (Fonseca, in press) and Guatemala (Carrera et al. in press).

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38 Fonseca (in press) reports that an alliance of 12 CFEs in Mexico has helped to market members’ products, offered aggregated volum es of products for sale, and created new product designs. In this study, though some of the manejadores and representative s of the principal support organizations argued the price shoul d be higher and cautioned against assuming this marketing arrangement woul d last forever, most agreed that the higher prices and access to the So Paulo market represented ma jor benefits of certification for the local associations. Of course, it remains to be seen if the added market be nefits of certification will outweigh the economic costs and other nega tive aspects of certification in the future for the local associations in Porto Dias and Peixoto, especially when they must pay for certification themselves. Indeed, for many CFEs studied to date, due to an inability to attain and maintain market benefits re lated to certification (Irvine, 1999; Bass et al. 2001; Molnar, 2003), the added economic bene fits of certificati on do not exceed the costs. The Petn region of Guatemala, wh ere very few FSC chai n-of-custody certified operations exist, is a good example (Soza, 2003; FSC, 2005b; Carrera et al. in press). Fonseca (in press) reports some CFEs in Mexi co are questioning the value of certification for this reason. Another relatively unique en abling condition for the communities in this study is the high level of support for community forest ry and certification by the state government of Acre. Bass et al (2001) reported that government i nvolvement in the certification of CFEs studied has been minimal due to disinter est in community forest ry. In contrast, the current government of Acre has ambitious goa ls for augmenting the number of CFEs in the state and is both offering technical assist ance and paying for some of them to get

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39 certified through the FSC system (Marcelo Fe rnandes, personal communication; Carlos Ovdio Duarte Rocha, personal communi cation). Strong governmental support of community forestry and certification has also helped foment the certification of CFEs in Mexico (Fonseca, in press) and Guatemala (Soza, 2003), the countries with the highest numbers of certified CFEs (FSC, 2005a).

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40 CHAPTER 3 IMPROVING THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS FOR COMMUNITY-BASED FOREST OPERATIONS: STAKEHOLDER REFLECTIONS FROM THE BRAZILIAN AMAZON Introduction While Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification is being promoted by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), government s, and donors as a way to encourage and recognize sustainable community-based forest enterprises (CFEs), as well as improve market access for their products (MMA and Gov. of Acre, 1999; WWF, 2002; Carrera et al. in press), few CFEs have been certified to date. The large diffe rence in the number of certified industrial versus community-based ope rations has been credited to the fact that certification was not original ly intended for small, nonindustrial operations (Bass et al. 2001; Butterfield et al. 2005). Several researchers ha ve identified aspects of the certification process that are particularly challenging for CFEs, and have recommended changes (see Irvine, 1999; Bass et al. 2001; Thornber and Markopoulos, 2001). However, very few studies have captured th e reflections and recommendations directly from the actors involved in certified operations (see WWF et al. 2001, for an exception). This article aims to present suggestions for improvement to the FSC certification process for CFEs as identified by local actors involved in three certifie d CFEs in Acre, Brazil. It also presents innovative ways in which vari ous actors in Brazil ar e striving to make certification more accessible and profitable for CFEs. The FSC is a non-governmental, not-for-prof it, international, membership-based organization whose Principles a nd Criteria for Forest Stewardship are used as the basis

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41 for independent, third-party certification of forest ma nagement operations around the world. As of May 2005, a total of 698 FSC certif icates had been issued for operations in 66 countries that cover over 50 million hectar es of public, private, and communal lands (FSC, 2005b). Yet, community-based forest ente rprises (CFEs) are a small part of this total--there are 89 FSC-certifi ed CFEs, representing only 12. 7% of the total number of enterprises and 4.2% of the tota l area certified (FSC, 2005b). The FSC certification process clearly has significant shortcomings for communities and small-scale enterprises. The “certification process” refers to the set of steps that operations complete to obtain and maintain ce rtification, as well as the procedures used by the certifiers during their ev aluation of operations. Typica lly the process includes an initial visit to the operation by the certifiers, also known as a “scoping visit.” This is followed by a full-scale assessment of the operation to determine to what extent it complies with the standards for certificati on, and corrective action requests (also known as pre-conditions, conditions, and recomm endations) are given to the operation, as applicable. Annual audits are conducted for the followi ng four years to monitor compliance with the corrective action requests, after which a complete re-assessment is performed. In recognition of the need to address th e challenges of certification for smaller operations, the FSC has developed the Sm all and Low Intensity Managed Forests (SLIMF) Streamlined Procedures for Ce rtification (see FSC, 2005c), and donors are subsidizing the costs of certification for communities. However, if the FSC is going to find widespread application among these types of operations, further adjustments to the

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42 certification process and standa rds must be made, without co mpromising the integrity of the FSC label. Brazil, a leader in certified industrial ope rations in Latin America, is intent on increasing its number of certified CFEs. With only seven certified CFEs, it trails behind Mexico and Guatemala in the number of certi fied CFEs in Latin America (FSC, 2005a). Given Brazil’s vast Amazonian forests a nd the fact that it has over 300 forest management plans involving communities in the country (Amaral and Amaral Neto, 2005), this ranking seems unimpressive. Howeve r, certification has been outlined as a priority in a collaborative initiative of the federal and state governments, business sector, and civil society--known as the “Positive Agenda for th e Amazon”--aimed at reducing deforestation and improving income in the Amazon basin (MMA, 2000). Furthermore, the state government of Ac re, in Brazil’s western Amazon region, has embraced FSC certification of CFEs as part of its state policy of forest-based development with the expectation that certif ied forest products will be more competitive in national and internationa l markets (MMA and Government of Acre, 1999). Acre currently leads the country in certified CFEs w ith four certificates, two of which were the first to be issued in the country. The support offered from the state government and donors [such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and a national program called ProManejo] to local associations for obtaini ng certification and th e recent success of the certified CFEs in Acre in accessing national markets have encouraged additional communities to pursue certification. However, even with this support, Brazilia n CFEs have faced significant challenges in obtaining and retaining certification. In Chapter 2 it was revealed that the

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43 manejadores and support organizations from two cer tified CFEs participating in this research rated elements of the certificati on process among the most important negative aspects of certification. This chapter aims to provide a forum to share the observations and suggestions of community members, principal support organizations, and a donor involved in three certified CF Es in Acre, Brazil (including the two from Chapter 2), on how the certification process for CFEs could be improved. The specific objective is to identify process recommendations from these actors. As pilot operations, these CFEs are important references for other CFEs in th e Amazon region, as well as the rest of the globe. Study Area Acre is the birthplace of the extractive re serve concept. Born out of the highly publicized rubber tapper struggl e for the forests which sustained their livelihoods, this land use strategy institutionalizes coll ective resource management areas for nonindigenous populations, and assi gns management responsibilities to local people who have a long-term stake in main tenance of the resource base. Generally, traditional forest use in Acre focused solely on non-timber produc ts, and because of the historical struggle to prevent forest felling, management fo r timber production has been a controversial proposal in the state (Azevedo and Freitas, 2003). When a handful of community-based timber management projects was initiate d by state governmental agencies and nongovernmental organizations in Acre in the 1990s they were met with much resistance. However, the persistence of the self-proclai med state “Forest Government” is gradually changing societal perspectives on timber management. The popular governor, who is a forester, has embraced small-scale, sustainable timber production as part of a larger forest-b ased development plan, the aim of which is

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44 to improve the management and commercializat ion of a variety of forest products to diversify and improve income and help ma ke standing forests more attractive than alternative land uses (Kainer et al. 2003). He has stated that th e end goal is to turn Acre into a global example of sustainable devel opment based on the rati onal use of tropical forests (estado.com.br, 2001), a nd has described certification as key to reaching this end (A Tribuna, 2003; Pgina 20, 2003). This research focuses on three pilot CFEs in Acre: Porto Dias and Peixoto, which attained certification in 2002 and 2003, respectively (IMAFLORA, 2005), and So Luis do Remanso, which at the time of the study had not yet completed the certification process (Andre G. de Freitas, personal communication). These operations were chosen because they were among the first CFEs to obtain certification in Acre. In addition, while all three operations participate in th e local community fore stry producers group, they differ notably regarding their liveli hood systems, principal support organizations, and experiences with the certification process. All three communities are located within settlement models that fall under the purview of the National Institute for Coloni zation and Agrarian Reform (INCRA). Porto Dias and So Luis do Remanso are designated as “agroextractive settlement projects,” or PAEs, which is a settlement model based on extractivism of forest products, while Peixoto is a “colonizatio n settlement project,” or PDA, wh ich is a settlement model based on agricultural colonization (Cunha dos Santos, 2002; Stone, 2003). The local associations in Porto Dias, ASPD (Association of Rubber Tappers of Porto Dias), and So Luis do Remanso, ASSE R (Association of Rubber Tappers of So Luis do Remanso), are working with CTA (Center for Amazonian Workers), a local

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45 conservation and development organization, as their principal s upport organization, and APRUMA (Association of Rural Producers in Fo restry and Agriculture) in Peixoto works with EMBRAPA (Brazilian Agricultural Re search Corporation), a national research institute, as its principal s upport organization. All three a ssociations’ timber management operations were certified by IMAFLORA (In stitute of Forestry and Agricultural Management and Certification) based on the FSC-approved Standards for Amazon dry land forests. However, APRUMA’s operati on, which involves small forest management units (approximately 40 hectares per househol d) and was originally designed as a reduced-impact timber operation, was ev aluated using the FSC’s new SLIMF Streamlined Procedures for Certification. Methodology Data for the three certified CFEs were collected thr ough face-to-face, structured interviews (Bernard, 2002), conducted from June to August 2005. Respondents included community members participating in the CFEs (hereafter referred to as manejadores ), the principal support organization for each opera tion (the outside organization that has played the most significant role in each co mmunity’s forestry operation), and a donor who has supported the certificat ion of these operations. Inte rviews were conducted with 76% of the manejadores in Peixoto and 87% in Porto Di as. Those not interviewed were unavailable for personal reasons, except one in dividual who refused to participate. In So Luis do Remanso, interviews were c onducted with a purposeful sample of six manejadores from a total of ten who were managi ng for timber. This sampling scheme was selected due to time constraints of the researcher and availability and accessibility of the manejadores

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46 Regarding the principal support organizat ions, interviews we re conducted with three representatives of EMBRAPA (which wo rks with the operation in Peixoto) and three representatives of CTA (which supports the operations in Porto Dias and So Luis do Remanso). Finally, one representative was interviewed from a donor organization, WWF, which has directly or indirectly assisted all of the certified CFEs in the state. The structured interviews focused on how to improve the certification process for CFEs, and centered on the following questions: 1) What were the most positive aspects of the certification process? 2) What coul d the FSC, certifiers, principal support organizations, local associations, and others do to improve the certification process for CFEs? 3) What would you change about your CFE’s experience with the certification process if given the chance? and 4) What advice would you give other communities considering certification? Results What Were the Most Positive Asp ects of the Certification Process? The most positive aspect of the certification process named by the manejadores from all three operations was the learni ng that occurred duri ng the certifiers’1 visits. Specific issues about which the manejadores reported having learne d from the certifiers include refuse management, stream protecti on, the use of protective clothing for timber harvesting and processing, and the forest ma nagement and chain-of-custody requirements for certification. One manejador also stated that the certifiers sometimes bring 1 Since IMAFLORA is the only certifying organization the manejadores and principal support organizations have worked with, they often re ferred specifically to this organization during interviews. However, I have replaced “certif ier” for IMAFLORA because the recommendations for improving the process are relevant to all certifying bodies. Also, the term “certifiers” refers both to the certifying bodies, like IMAFLORA, and the professionals they hire to perform certification assessments and annual audits of operations.

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47 information about potential buyers. In addition, five manejadores pointed out that just as they learned from the certifiers, the certifiers also learned from them One explained that this was important because the certifiers normally work with companies, but through certifying CFEs they are becoming more fa miliar with this operation type. Finally, another manejador said, "I like [the certification process] because we get to be known and to know other people." One representative of EMBRAPA highlig hted the use of the FSC’s new SLIMF Streamlined Certification Procedures for th e certification of Peixoto’s operation as a positive innovation in the certification process. He described the development and use of these new procedures as “a great step.” A re presentative of CTA said that certifiers’ observations and suggestions during the certif ication assessment and annual audits had already led to improvements in the manage ment planning and execution for the Porto Dias and So Luis do Remanso operations. What Could the FSC, Certifiers, Prin cipal Support Organizations, Local Associations, and Others Do to Improve the Certification Process for CFEs? Focusing on FSC and the certifiers, manejadores emphasized two areas for improvement. First, they called on the FSC and certifiers to simplify the certification process for CFEs. One manejador from Porto Dias specifically recommended that certifiers simplify the language used in th eir communications with the communities and that the FSC and certifiers eliminate standard s that are inappropriate for smaller, less intensive CFEs. Two manejadores one each from Porto Dias and Peixoto, made specific suggestions to reduce the required documenta tion and minimize bureaucracy in order to reduce the requisite work load. Secondly, several manejadores recommended that the certifiers make adjustments in how they inte ract with the communities. Specifically, a

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48 manejador recommended that the certifiers speak with all of the manejadores during visits, and not assume that one of them can sp eak for the rest. Furthermore, he suggested that the certifiers work with the manejadores more as collaborators, instead of acting as policing agents. He hypothesized that this would inspire the manejadores to open up more and improve communication between them and the certifiers. Finally, several manejadores in Porto Dias and So Luis do Remanso expressed interest in having more time to converse with the certifiers. One manejador from Porto Dias suggested that continuous contact with and motivation by certifiers would impr ove the certification process. Similarly, another Porto Dias manejador speculated that a greater presence by the certifiers would increase the manejadores ’ compliance with the certification standards. Manejadores also reflected on what they could do to improve the process. One in Peixoto emphasized the importance of good or ganization of the local association in maintaining certification. He stated that his local asso ciation, APRUMA, should stay on top of things in general and be sure to do everything correctly, “because,” he said, “we have to have everything in order to maintain certification.” He further stated that certification would be easier for APRUMA if all of the manejadores communicated and debated more on certification. Th e rest (or majority) of the manejadores reported that the process was fine or otherwise did not comme nt on how the process could be improved. While the representatives of EMBRAP A did not make any suggestions for improving the certification process, the CTA representatives made several centered on FSC standards, the certification process, a nd capacity building. Th ey recommended that the FSC and certifiers develop less burdensome certification standards specifically for

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49 CFEs. They advocated that certifiers firs t prioritize the standards most important for CFEs, and treat the rest as recommendations They also reques ted that they then systematize the standards, es pecially those regarding monitoring, to simplify required documentation. One representative specifically emphasized the need to simplify the chain-of-custody requirements (which necessi tate detailed documen tation of logs and sawn products), noting that they are too cumbersome for most CFEs. Regarding the certification process, the CT A representatives recommended that the certifiers: (1) simplify the tech nical language used during visits to the CFEs and in their reports and (2) assess CFEs based on the capac ity of the local associ ation, not the support organization. CTA believed that many of the conditions the Porto Dias CFE received were beyond the capacity of the local asso ciation and increased the association’s dependence on outside assistance, especially for research. Upon successfully completing the certification proces s, a CTA representative also sugge sted that plaques issued to Brazilian operations should be in Portuguese. CTA representatives recommended that the FSC and/or certifiers implement more training, targeting several groups. First, prof essionals hired by certifiers to conduct field assessments and annual audits need adequate instruction and applied experience before working with CFEs. The CTA representatives we re critical of the certifiers used in the initial assessment of the Porto Dias oper ation for having limited experience with communities. Second, local associations need more training to understand certification standards and requirements. It is not enough to take copies of the standards to the field, explained one CTA representative; rather, th e FSC and certifiers should utilize videos

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50 and posters. Third, training is needed [presumably for the manejadores and principal support organizations] on how to market certified products. The representative of WWF added seve ral recommendations for improving the certification process. He stated that if local certifiers were available, ideally in the same state, it could significantly re duce the fees paid to the ce rtifiers. As of August 2004, employees of IMAFLORA, which is based ne ar So Paulo, are conducting the initial assessments and annual audits of the operations in Acre. If a local office could be opened or professionals from the state were used as certifiers, savi ngs in transportation costs per assessment or audit alone could reach US $2,000. He further recommended that the FSC’s new SLIMF Streamlined Certificati on Procedures be consistently used by certifiers when working with CFEs in the futu re to further reduce costs. He also noted that high quality technical assistance is necessary for communities to become certified. He contended that training lo cal people to provide technical assistance is constructive, but the need for additional assistance from outside, highly trained silviculturalists will likely persist. Finally, he also cited impr oved government funding, fi scal incentives, and credit opportunities for community-based opera tions as positive developments that will help these operations with certification. What Would You Change About Your CFE’ s Experience with the Certification Process if Given the Chance? One manejador in Porto Dias stated that if he could change anything about the first time the operation was assesse d for certification, the manejadores would have had more internal discussions about certific ation. He also noted that the manejadores should have discussed at greater length with IMAFLORA concerns about the operation and their lengthy history of taking care of the forest, ra tionalizing that this mi ght have reduced the

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51 conditions the operation received. One manejador in Peixoto said the change he would make would be that everyone in the commun ity would be involved in certification and they would pursue certif ication for all products that have an environmental impact (only a very small percentage of residents of this la rge settlement area participate in the certified forest management operation). One EMBRAPA representative suggested th at the costs of certifying the CFEs could have been shared with the wood buye rs. One also added that the cooperation between the two sub-groups of manejadores involved in the project in Peixoto could have been better during the ce rtification process. What Advice Would You Give Other Comm unities Considering Certification? For CFEs contemplating certification, the manejadores in APRUMA emphasized the importance of having a consolidated local associat ion, including good organization, maintaining respect among the members, and investing in the training of members to more effectively benefit from certification. Being well info rmed about certification was cited by manejadores from all three communities as important preparation for certification, and specific suggestions include d: (1) the FSC and certifiers should visit communities to explain certifi cation in detail, (2) intere sted associations should participate in meetings with certifiers, and (3) association members should visit other certified CFEs, especially when certifiers are present in these established operations. In addition, a manejador from Peixoto recommended that upon gaining access to the certification standards, associa tions should strive to bring their management into full compliance. Once a CFE is engaged in the certification process, one manejador from Porto Dias underscored the importance of disc ussing with the certifiers any concerns they may have in order to minimize pre-c onditions and conditions. Finally, one manejador in

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52 Peixoto recommended that other CFEs persist in their efforts to get ce rtified because it is a great opportunity. Two of the EMBRAPA represen tatives suggested that co mmunities interested in certification should foremost improve thei r organization. Another stressed that certification is not for everyone, and for an association to get certified, they must make it a priority. The representatives of CTA emphasized that community members understand the costs and benefits of certification, the pur pose of certification, what it implies, and the steps in the certification process. They al so emphasized that communities, prepared with all of this information, should participate in the decision to become certified or not. One explained that, in contrast, the manejadores in Porto Dias entered into the certification process without understanding what they were getting into. Discussion and Conclusions Recommendations to the FSC and Certifiers In this study, the manejadores and support organizations identified several ways in which the FSC and certifiers could improve the certification process for CFEs. First, they suggested a simplification of certification standards. WWF et al. (2001) report that certification standards are excessively bureaucr atic in general, and that their focus on timber and industrial level operations is inap propriate for CFEs Further, Markopoulos (2003) and Carrera et al. (in press) cite examples of communities having trouble complying with excessively demanding standards and sometimes impractical requests while constrained by limited techni cal and/or financial capacity. Secondly, manejadores and their support organizations also noted that certifiers should be better prepared to work with local communities. Alatorre (2003, in Fonseca, in press) highlighted a lack of qualified prof essionals to implement community-focused

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53 certification assessments and annual audits as one of the most impor tant roadblocks for CFE certification in Mexico. Likewi se, Markopoulos (2003) and Carrera et al. (in press) report specific cases of certifiers demons trating a lack of unde rstanding of local conditions under which CFEs function, and bein g too subjective in their evaluations of these operations. Thirdly, certifiers need to be more accessible to the manejadores WWF et al. (2001) and Soza (2003) have highlighted th e importance of im proving the flow of information to communities on certification. In our study, manejadores noted multiple times that they were not communicating effec tively with the certifiers, lamenting that there was not enough time for discussing certif ication standards and conditions. In a complementary way, several manejadores felt that more time spent with the certifiers would also be of great benefit to the certifiers themselves. Indeed, when asked what they liked best about the certification process, both manejadores and their principal support organizati ons emphasized that they valued the learning process the most. They appreciat ed receiving feedback from certifiers on management practices and ot her aspects of the timber operations, and suggestions for improvement. Similarly, they recommended that FSC and the certifiers provide more training on certification and marketing to the communities and their principal support organizations. They want to learn more. Madrid and Chapela (2003) report that communities in Oaxaca and Durango, Mexico note d that they pursued certification to improve their timber management operations – to learn. Recommendations to Communities The manejadores and principal support organizations provided multiple suggestions to other CFEs interested in pur suing certification. Both groups highlighted

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54 the importance of having a we ll-organized local association. Madrid and Chapela (2003) emphasized the value of such social capital for communities interested in certification. In once again highlighting the importance of communication between communities and the certifying bodies, both manejadores and their support organizations recommended that other communities seeking certification s hould be well-informed on certification standards and processes. Furthermore, manejadores urged community members to discuss the certifiers’ concerns directly with them to minimize corrective action requests. Being well-informed and well-prepared was also highlighted by Thornber and Markopoulos (2001) so that co mmunities could specifically minimize financial costs and risk. Advances in Brazil Brazil has made increasing its number of certi fied CFEs a priority. In addition to national, regional, and local support to help communities to organize meet certification standards, and cover costs, Brazil has made se veral other important strides. First, three certifying organizations have opened national offices in th e country. Their presence helps cut costs and involves more local prof essionals in the certification of Brazilian operations. In addition, one of these certifying organizations IMAFLORA, specializes in certifying CFEs and has taken several notable steps to make the certification process more accessible to small-scale operations (Andr e Freitas, personal communication). The measures include creating the Social Fund fo r Certification through which part of the certification fees paid by industria l operations is used to offs et the costs of certification for communities, forming a Volunteer Audito rs Bank of professionals who work as certifiers at a reduced cost, and developi ng a booklet specifically for communities on certification.

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55 Second, the FSC-Brazil office has near ly completed the development of certification standards specifically for Small and Low Intensity Managed Forests. These were developed with input from represen tatives of CFEs, NGOs, and governmental organizations (FSC Brazil, 2004). Finally, several ways to assi st in the marketing of certif ied forest products are being innovated in Brazil. Brazil will host its second international FSC Certified Products Trade Fair in 2006, which will also double as the first Latin American FSC Certified Products Trade Fair. The first Trade Fa ir presented special opportunities for representatives of the certified CFEs in Brazil to meet with buyers of certified products, and the second promises to do so as well (C TA, personal communicatio n). In Acre, in particular, strong state government support for certification a nd marketing of CFE products has been forthcoming. Acre is hom e to the Community Forest Producers Group, which was formed in 2002 to help market the products of the CFEs in Acre, and helped the certified CFEs in the state gain access to the S o Paulo market in 2003 and 2004. It is hoped that the recommendations provi ded in this study will help inform the FSC and certifiers’ continued efforts to impr ove the certification process for CFEs in Brazil as well as the rest of th e globe. A wider application of certification in CFEs stands to benefit communities, forests, and consumers.

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56 CHAPTER 4 CONCLUSIONS My research examined the perspectives of community members, principal support organizations, and other stakeholders invol ved in certified community-based forest enterprises (CFEs) in western Brazil on the negative and pos itive aspects of certification, the relative importance of these aspects, and why the perspectives differed among informants. It also identified specifi c suggestions from these actors on how the certification process could be improved for CFEs. Two communities were involved in the study of the contrasting as pects, and three communities (t he same two plus a third) were involved in the study of the certification process. The positive aspects identified were simila r across all informan ts, but the negative ones varied greatly. While a wide range of negative aspects were identified, not all of them were perceived to be important. The type s of aspects that were perceived to be the most important (or negative) pertained to the certification process and the economic expenditures of certification. The specific as pects of most concer n were certification fees, increased dependence of communities on outside assistance, and elements of the certification process itself. In contrast to the negative aspect s, almost all of the positive ones identified were perceived to be important. Overall, the types of positive aspects that were perceived to be most important were economic and social. The most important specific positive aspects overall were acce ss to new markets, better prices, and recognition of the CFEs.

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57 There were two notable differences in the perceptions of these contrasting aspects among the actors in the two CFEs involved in th is part of the study. First, the principal support organizations typically scored the negative aspects higher and the positive aspects lower than the community members, perhaps because the support organizations feel a greater burden of responsibility fo r the certification process while it is the community members who receive more of th e benefits. Second, the actors in one community typically scored bot h the negative and the positive aspects higher than their counterparts in the other community. This is li kely related to the fact that the community with the higher scores both had more difficu lty with the certificat ion process (and thus typically scored the negative aspects highe r) and perceived a greater range of positive aspects to be more important. The latter is likely due to differences between the two communities in livelihood strategies, motiva tions for implementing timber management, and the influence of support organizations. The informants interviewed agreed that the positive aspe cts of certification outweighed the negative ones, and that they would recommend it to other communities. Indeed, the economic benefits of certification being realized were pe rceived to be very important. In fact, the higher price the CFEs are receiving due to new access to certified wood markets in So Paulo may be key to the economic viability of these operations given the plethora of disadvantages, such as size and isolation, they otherwise face. At the same time, the maintenance of market benefits may ultimately require indefinite dependence of the CFEs on outside support due to the high costs of certification and challenges of standards compliance. Ho wever, the FSC and certifiers are making substantial efforts to render the process le ss cumbersome and expensive (e.g., the Small

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58 and Low Impact Managed Forests Streamlined Certification Procedures), and Brazil is a leader in this endeavor. The recommendations made by the actors in all three communities of ways in which the FSC and certifiers should improve th e certification process for CFEs included (1) simplify the certification standards and pro cess for CFEs, (2) better prepare certifiers to work with local communities, and (3) be more accessible to community members, including the provision of more training on certification and marketing to communities and their principal support or ganizations. The principal re commendations for other CFEs interested in certification were (1) to have a well-organized local association, (2) to be well-informed on certification, a nd (3) to discuss the certifiers’ concerns with them to minimize corrective action requests. It is important to note two important enab ling conditions that di stinguish the CFEs in this study from other CFEs globally, and perhaps have contribute d to their success, especially with regard to economic benef its: (1) membership in a regional producers group, and (2) strong political, technical, and financial support from the state government. If these conditions were to cha nge, or if the differences in perspectives revealed in this study among the actors in the CFEs were to lead to conflict, these CFEs could encounter more difficulty in maintain ing certification and access to higher price markets. Although as of August 2004 Brazil had onl y seven certified CFE operations, widespread support and dedication exists in th e FSC-Brazil office, ce rtifiers, the national and state governments, and non-governmental or ganizations to increase this number.

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59 Therefore, the three certified CFEs examined in this study serve as important references for the rest of the Brazilian Amazon, as well as the globe. The specific negative and positive aspects perceived by the actors in the operations in this study, reasons behind the differences in perceptions, and the conditions that have enabled these operations to achie ve relative success help to improve our understanding of the application of certificati on in CFEs. In addition, th e recommendations from these pilot CFEs may help improve the certification process in Brazil and the rest of the globe. A wider application of certification in CFEs stands to benefit communities, forests, and consumers.

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60 LIST OF REFERENCES A Tribuna, 2003. Jorge Viana faz palestra sobr e manejo no Panam: meta a certificao da floresta do Antimari. http://www.jornalatribuna.com.br/ date accessed: July 14, 2005. Agrawal, A., 1999. "Community" and natura l resource conservation. In: Gale, F., M'Gonigle, R. M. (Eds.), Nature, pro duction, power: Towards an ecological political economy. Edward Elgar, London, UK, pp. 35-55. Aguilar, F., 2000. Opportunities and limitati ons for the certification of community forestry management A view from Bolivia Forests, Trees, a nd People. Newsletter No. 43. Amaral, P., Amaral Neto, M., 2005. Manejo Florestal Comunitrio: Processos e aprendizagens na Amaznia brasileira e na Amrica Latina. IEB and IMAZON, Belem. Azevedo, T. R. d., Freitas, A. G. d., 2003. Fore st certification in Br azil. In: Molnar, A. (Ed.) Forest certification and communities: Looking forward to the next decade. Forest Trends, Washington, DC, p. Annex 1. Bass, S., Thornber, K., Markopoulos, M ., Roberts, S., Grieg-Gran, M., 2001. Certification's impacts on forests, stakehol ders and supply chains. Instruments for Sustainable Private Sector Forestry Series International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London. Bernard, H. R., 2002. Research methods in an thropology. Altamira Press, Walnut Creek, California. Bray, D., Merino-Prez, L., Barry, D., Ed s., 2005. The community forests of Mexico: Managing for sustainable landscapes. Un iversity of Texas Press, Austin. Brown, K., Rosendo, S., 2000. Environmentalists rubber tappers and empowerment: The politics and economics of extractive reserves. Dev. Change. 31, 201-227. Butterfield, R., Hansen, E., Fletcher, R., Nikinmaa, H., 2005. Forest certification and small forest enterprises: Key trends and impacts benefits and barriers. Forest Trends and the Rainforest Alliance, Washington, DC.

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61 Carrera, F., Stoian, D., Campos, J. J., Morales, J., Pinelo, G., in press. Forest certification in Guatemala. In: Cashore, B., Gale, F., Meidinger, E., Newsom, D. (Eds.), Confronting sustainability: Forest certif ication in developi ng and transitioning countries. Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Press, New Haven, Connecticut, p. not available. CTA, no date. Formao do Grupo de Produtores Florestais Comunitrios do Acre e Rondnia. Centro dos Trabalha dores da Amaznia (CTA), http://www.ctaacre.org/manejo/bruzzi.html date accessed: July 28, 2005. Cunha dos Santos, M., 2002. Adaptive Co-m anagement (ACM): A case study PAE Porto Dias, Acre, Brazil. CIFOR. Unpublished. estado.com.br, 2001. Acre obtm US$132 milhes do BID. http://www.estadao.com.br date accessed: July 14, 2005. Fonseca, S. A., in press. Fo rest certification in Mexic o. In: Cashore, B., Gale, F., Meidinger, E., Newsom, D. (Eds.), Confr onting sustainability: Forest certification in developing and transitioning countr ies. Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Press, New Ha ven, Connecticut, p. not available. Freitas, A. G. d., 2004. Brazil forest certi fication case study. In: Richards, M. (Ed.) Certification in complex socio-political settings: Looking forward to the next decade. Forest Trends, Washington, DC, p. Annex 2. FSC Brazil, 2004. Padro de Certificao do FSC para o Manejo Florestal em Pequena Escala e de Baixa Intensidade em Florestas Nativas da Amaznia Brasileira. Verso 4.0. Forest Stewardship Counc il (FSC) Brazil Natio nal Initiative, Brasilia/DF, Brazil. FSC, 2005a. FSC Certificates Worldwide. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), www.fscinfo.org date accessed: June 28, 2005. FSC, 2005b. FSC Certified Forests. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Accreditation Business Unit, http://www.fsc.org date accessed: May 30, 2005. FSC, 2005c. SLIMF: Procedures and Standard s. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), http://www.fsc.org/slimf/ date accessed: July 19, 2005. IMAFLORA, 2005. Empreendimentos Flor estais Certificados. IMAFLORA, www.imaflora.org date accessed: May 30, 2005. Irvine, D., 1999. Certification and community forestry: Curre nt trends, challenges, and potential. Background paper for the Wo rld Bank/WWF Alliance. Workshop on Independent Certification, Wa shington, DC, Nov. 9 10, 1999. Kainer, K. A., Schmink, M., Leite, A. C. P., Fadell, M. J. d. S., 2003. Experiments in forest-based development in western Am aznia. Soc. & Nat. Res. 16 (10), 869-886.

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62 Keck, M. E., 1995. Social equity and environm ental politics in Brazil: Lessons from the rubber tappers of Acre. Comp. Politics. 27 (4), 409-424. Lentini, M., Verssimo, A., Sobral, L., 2003. Fatos florestais da Amaznia. IMAZON, Belm, Brazil. Madrid, S., Chapela, F., 2003. Certificati on in Mexico: The cases of Durango and Oaxaca. In: Molnar, A. (Ed.) Forest certification and communities: Looking forward to the next decade. Forest Trends, Washington, DC, p. Annex 3. Markopoulos, M., 2003. The role of certification in community-based forest enterprise. In: Meidinger, E., Elliott, C., Oesten, G. (Eds.), Social and political dimensions of forest certification. Verlag: www.forstbuch.de Remagen-Oberwinter, pp. 105-130. May, P., in press. Forest certification in Brazi l. In: Cashore, B., Gale, F., Meidinger, E., Newsom, D. (Eds.), Confronting sustainabi lity: Forest certification in developing and transitioning countries. Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Press, New Haven, Connecticut, p. not available. MMA (Minister of the Environment), 2000. Age nda positiva para a Amaznia. Secretary of Coordination for the Amazon. Unpublished. MMA (Minister of the Environment), Govern ment of Acre, 1999. Alternativas para o desenvolvimento de atividades sustentveis. Agenda Positiva do Estado do Acre. Unpublished. Molnar, A., 2003. Forest certification and commu nities: Looking forward to the next decade. Forest Trends, Washington, D.C. Nussbaum, R., Simula, M., 2004. Forest Cer tification: A review of impacts and assessment frameworks. The Forests Dialogue. School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale Un iversity, New Haven, Connecticut. Pgina 20, 2003. Acre tem sua segunda rea flor estal certificada com selo verde do FSC. http://www2.uol.com.br/pagina20 date accessed: July 14, 2005. Quevedo, L., in press. Forest certificati on in Bolivia. In: Ca shore, B., Gale, F., Meidinger, E., Newsom, D. (Eds.), Confr onting sustainability: Forest certification in developing and transitioning countr ies. Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Press, New Ha ven, Connecticut, p. not available. Richards, M., 1997. Common property resource in stitutions and forest management in Latin America. Dev. and Change. 28 (1), 95-117. Schmink, M., 2004. Communities, forests, markets, and conservation. In: Zarin, D., Alavalapati, J., Putz, F., Schmink, M. (E ds.), Working forests in the tropics -Conservation through sustainable manageme nt? Columbia University Press, New York, pp. 119-129.

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63 Schmink, M., Wood, C. H., 1992. Contested frontie rs in Amazonia. Columbia University Press, New York. Soza, C., 2003. The process of forest certifi cation in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve in Peten, Guatemala. In: Molnar, A. (Ed.) Forest certification and communities: Looking forward to the next decade. Forest Trends, Washington, DC, p. Annex 2. Stone, R. D., d' Andrea, C., 2001. Tropical fore sts and the human spirit: Journeys to the brink of hope. University of California Pre ss, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California and London, England. Stone, S., 2003. From tapping to cutting trees : Participation and agency in two community-based timber management proj ects in Acre, Brazil. PhD Dissertation. Anthropology. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. Thornber, K., Markopoulos, M., 2001. Certif ication: Its impacts and prospects for community forests, stakeholders, and markets. International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London. White, A., Martin, A., 2002. Who owns the worl d's forests? Forest tenure and public forests in transition. Forest Trends and th e Center for Internat ional Environmental Law, Washington, DC. WWF, 2002. Forest certification. Position paper. http://assets.panda.org/downloads/po3certification.pdf date accessed: November 18, 2005. WWF, GTF, GTZ, ECLNV, 2001. Toward polic ies of community forest management (CFM) & certificati on in Latin America. Proposal forthcoming from the Santa Cruz Workshop, Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Wo rld Wildlife Fund (WWF), Forestry Working Group for Indigenous People (GTF), German Agency for Development (GTZ), National Reference Center for Na ture Management of the Netherlands (ECLNV).

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64 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Shoana Humphries was born in Grass Valley, California, in 1974. She moved around quite a bit during her childhood, and graduated from high school in Anniston, Alabama. Shoana received her Bachelor of Science degree in natural resource conservation from the School of Forest Resour ces and Conservation at the University of Florida. Before returning to the University of Florida to complete a Master of Science degree in community forest management, S hoana worked for three years in forest certification in the Southeastern United Stat es and three years in community development and conservation in Bolivia and Peru.


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Copyright Date: 2008

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FOREST CERTIFICATION FOR COMMUNITY-BASED FOREST ENTERPRISES IN
BRAZIL'S WESTERN AMAZON: LOCAL STAKEHOLDERS' PERCEPTIONS OF
NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE ASPECTS OF CERTIFICATION AND HOW TO
IMPROVE THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS















By

SHOANA S. HUMPHRIES


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2005

































Copyright 2005

by

Shoana S. Humphries
































This is dedicated to my family.















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to begin by thanking the families of Peixoto, Porto Dias, and Sao Luis

do Remanso for graciously inviting me into their homes and generously sharing their

time and information. I am also very grateful to the staff of CTA and EMBRAPA in Rio

Branco, Brazil, for supporting and helping to facilitate my work.

Next I would like to express gratitude to Dr. Karen Kainer, Dr. Marianne Schmink,

and Dr. Robert Buschbacher for their assistance in developing my proposal and for very

constructive feedback on my thesis. I would also like to thank Drs. Kainer and Schmink

for their invaluable assistance during my field work, and Dr. Kainer for her enthusiastic

and tireless assistance in refining this document. Also valuable was the feedback I

received from Dr. Jack Putz, Michael Jenkins, and Richard Donovan for the development

of my research proposal.

I am also extremely appreciative of the support I received from my family and

friends, especially Maria DiGiano, during the completion of this work.

Finally, I would like to recognize the financial assistance I received to complete

this work from the Charles Wagley Research Fellowship and the TCD Graduate

Assistantship Program.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv

LIST OF TA BLE S ............... .............. ................ ......... .............. .. vii

LIST OF FIGURES ................... ...................... .. ................... viii

ABSTRACT .............. .................. .......... .............. ix

CHAPTER

1 IN T R O D U C T IO N ............................................................................. .............. ...

2 NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE ASPECTS OF FOREST CERTIFICATION FOR
COMMUNITY-BASED FOREST ENTERPRISES............................... ...............3

Introduction ............... ..... .. .......... ........ .. ....................... 3
Stu dy A rea ......................................................................... . 6
M eth o d s ...............................................................10
Structured Interview s ....................... ........................ .............. 11
M major R research Them es ..................... .. ............................ ... .... ............... 12
Perceived negative and positive aspects of certification............................13
Relative importance of each negative and positive aspect...........................13
R elections on certification ........................................ ....... ............... 14
R e su lts................. .......... ..... ....... ... .................... ........... ................ 1 5
Perceived Negative and Positive Aspects of Certification.............................15
Peixoto and Porto D ias ....................................................... .... ........... 15
O their stakeholders ............ ....... .. .. .. .................. ........ ............. 17
Relative Importance of Negative and Positive Aspects .............. ...............20
Reflections on Certification...................... ...... ........................... 24
Is certification w orth it? ..................... ............... ... ..................... .... 24
Should the operations currently certified continue with certification? ........26
Would you recommend certification to other communities? .....................27
D discussion and Conclusions .............. ... ........ ........... ..................................... 28
What Are the Most Important Negative and Positive Aspects? ........................29
How Did Perspectives Among the Stakeholder Groups Differ? .......................30
What Are the Implications for the Certification of Community-Based
Enterprises? ......... ............. ..... .............. ...... 34



v









3 IMPROVING THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS FOR COMMUNITY-BASED
FOREST OPERATIONS: STAKEHOLDER REFLECTIONS FROM THE
B R A Z IL IA N A M A Z O N ........................................ .............................................40

Intro du action .................................................................................................... 4 0
S tu d y A rea ................................................................4 3
Methodology ............... ............................................ 45
Results ................................. ............. .............. ................. .46
What Were the Most Positive Aspects of the Certification Process? ..................46
What Could the FSC, Certifiers, Principal Support Organizations, Local
Associations, and Others Do to Improve the Certification Process for CFEs? ..47
What Would You Change About Your CFE's Experience with the Certification
Process if G iven the Chance? ..................... ... ................ ...................... 50
What Advice Would You Give Other Communities Considering Certification?51
Discussion and Conclusions ...................................... ...... ......... 52
Recommendations to the FSC and Certifiers .....................................52
Recommendations to Communities............................ ............. ..53
A advances in B razil ............. ..................... .........................................54

4 CON CLU SION S ................................................................................. 56

L IST O F R EFE R EN C E S ............................................................................. ............. 60

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E TCH ..................................................................... ..................64
















LIST OF TABLES


Table pge

1 Similarities and differences between the two operations involved in this study .......9

2 Negative aspects of certification for the operations in Peixoto and Porto Dias
identified by APRUMA, EMBRAPA, ASPD, and CTA.............. ...... ......... 16

3 Positive aspects of certification for the operations in Peixoto and Porto Dias
identified by APRUMA, EMBRAPA, ASPD, and CTA.............. ................17

4 Average relative importance score for each negative aspect by organization and
averaged across all organizations (overall) ................................... .................22

5 Average relative importance score for each positive aspect by organization and
averaged across all organizations (overall) ................................... .................23















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure pge

1 Examples of color-coded, illustrated cards developed from the free-listing exercise
and used during interviews. A) This card represents the negative aspect, "Both the
certification standards and the auditors are hard to understand." B) This card
represents the positive aspect, "Certified wood has a better price." .......................14

2 Relative importance of the negative aspects (0 = "not a negative aspect," 1.0 =
"bad," and 2.0 = "very bad")......... ................................................ ............... 21

3 Relative importance of the positive aspects (0 = "not a positive aspect," 1.0 =
"good", and 2.0 = "very good") ........................................ .......................... 21














Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

FOREST CERTIFICATION FOR COMMUNITY-BASED FOREST ENTERPRISES IN
BRAZIL'S WESTERN AMAZON: LOCAL STAKEHOLDERS' PERCEPTIONS OF
NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE ASPECTS OF CERTIFICATION AND HOW TO
IMPROVE THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS


By

Shoana S. Humphries

December 2005

Chair: Karen Kainer
Major Department: Forest Resources and Conservation

In recent decades community forest management has been a popular strategy in

programs aimed at assisting local populations to conserve their forests and improve their

livelihoods. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification is being recommended for

community-based forest enterprises (CFEs) as a way to improve market access for their

products. However, certification has proved more difficult for CFEs than expected, and

few certified operations have achieved its highly anticipated market benefits. This has

led to questioning of certification's compatibility with CFEs. This study investigates

perceptions of certification for three CFEs in Brazil's western Amazon. The specific

objectives were (1) to determine the negative and positive aspects of certification as

perceived by community members, their principal support organizations, and other key

stakeholders; (2) to identify the relative importance of these perceived negative and

positive aspects, (3) to analyze the differences in perceptions between actors, and (4) to









identify actors' suggestions for improving the certification process for CFEs. Data were

collected through structured interviews and a review of pertinent documents.

Overall, the most positive aspects were economic and social, and the most negative

aspects concerned the certification process and, to a lesser extent, the associated

economic expenditures. The perceived importance of these aspects varied among the

informants. For example, the community members typically scored the positive aspects

higher and the negative aspects lower than the support organizations. This is likely due

to differences in the roles and vantage points of these actors. The recommendations for

improving the certification process included (1) simplify the certification standards and

procedures for CFEs, and (2) better prepare certifiers to work with CFEs. In general, the

informants agreed that the positive aspects of certification outweighed the negative ones.

This stands in sharp contrast to communities in other parts of Latin America that are

contemplating dropping certification.

Brazil has made increasing its number of certified CFEs a priority, and has taken

important steps towards this end. Two particular enabling conditions may have helped

the operations in this study overcome common constraints for CFEs: (1) membership in a

regional producers group, and (2) strong political, technical, and financial support from

the state government.

These three operations serve as important references for the rest of the Brazilian

Amazon, as well as the globe. Their experiences highlight the need to adapt the

certification process for CFEs and demonstrate that obtaining market benefits is possible.

A wider application of certification in CFEs stands to benefit communities, forests, and

consumers.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

In recent decades community-based forest management has been a popular strategy

in programs aimed at helping local populations to conserve forests and improve their

livelihoods (Amaral and Amaral Neto, 2005; Bray et al., 2005). While forest certification

under the guise of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is being promoted by non-

governmental organizations (NGOs), governments, and donors as a way to encourage and

recognize sustainable community-based forest enterprises (CFEs), as well as improve

market access for their products (MMA and Gov. of Acre, 1999; WWF, 2002; Carrera et

al., in press), case studies of certified CFEs present mixed results (Irvine, 1999; Nittler

and Nash, 1999; Madrid and Chapela, 2003; Molnar, 2003; Bray et al., 2005; May, in

press). The FSC is a non-governmental, not-for-profit, international, membership-based

organization whose Principles and Criteria for Forest Stewardship are used as the basis

for independent, third-party certification of forest management operations around the

world. To date over 50 million hectares have been certified in 66 countries on public,

private, and communal properties (FSC, 2005b).

However, perhaps because certification was not originally intended for small, non-

industrial operations (Bass et al., 2001; Butterfield et al., 2005), few CFEs have been

certified, and many that have are experiencing difficulties retaining it (Irvine, 1999; Bass

et al., 2001; Thornber and Markopoulos, 2001). The obstacles posed by the certification

process for community-based forest enterprises (CFEs) and the disparities in the benefits

realized have led some scholars, practitioners, and communities to question the









practicality and utility of third-party certification for these operations (Markopoulos,

2003; Fonseca, in press), calling for a more detailed evaluation of the actual impacts of

certification and the certification process on these communities and their operations

(Nussbaum and Simula, 2004; Carrera et al., in press). As Molnar (2003, p. 30)

concludes based on her extensive review of certified community-based timber operations,

"It is timely to pose the question of whether and how forest certification supports

community forestry ... ."

This research aims to address this information gap through an investigation of three

CFEs in Brazil's western Amazon. Following this brief introduction, the next chapter

examines the negative and positive aspects ofFSC certification and the relative

importance of these aspects from the perspectives of community members, their principal

support organizations, and other certification stakeholders involved in two of the three

operations. The third chapter presents observations and recommendations from the actors

in all three communities regarding the certification process for CFEs, and what the FSC,

certifiers, local associations, and others could do to improve it. This thesis has been

organized such that the second and third chapters are two individual and fully structured

papers. Each one of these two chapters has its own discussion and conclusions section,

while chapter four summarizes the main findings of the entire study.














CHAPTER 2
NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE ASPECTS OF FOREST CERTIFICATION FOR
COMMUNITY-BASED FOREST ENTERPRISES

Introduction

In recent decades community-based forest management has been a popular strategy

in programs aimed at helping local populations to conserve forests and improve their

livelihoods (Amaral and Amaral Neto, 2005; Bray et al., 2005). Nearly one-fourth of the

forests in developing countries is currently owned and/or controlled by low-income forest

communities (White and Martin, 2002). Land is being rapidly devolved to communities

(Agrawal, 1999; Stone and d' Andrea, 2001; White and Martin, 2002), and this is

expected to continue into the future (Molnar, 2003). In the past these communities were

often perceived as threats to conservation efforts, but more recently governments, non-

governmental organizations (NGOs), and businesses are seeking them out to implement

community-based forest management. Nevertheless, there are few examples of

successful, long-term, sustainable forest enterprises involving communities. This is due

in part to the complexities of the socio-political and environmental contexts in which

communities exist, and the difficulties in linking communities with markets (Schmink,

2004).

While forest certification under the guise of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

is being promoted by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments, and donors

as a way to encourage and recognize sustainable community-based forest enterprises

(CFEs), as well as improve market access for their products (MMA and Gov. of Acre,









1999; WWF, 2002; Carrera et al., in press), case studies of certified CFEs present mixed

results (Irvine, 1999; Madrid and Chapela, 2003; Molnar, 2003; Bray et al., 2005; May,

in press). The FSC is a non-governmental, not-for-profit, international, membership-

based organization whose Principles and Criteria for Forest Stewardship are used as the

basis for independent, third-party certification of forest management operations around

the world. To date over 50 million hectares have been certified in 66 countries on public,

private, and communal properties (FSC, 2005b).

However, perhaps because certification was not originally intended for small, non-

industrial operations (Bass et al., 2001; Butterfield et al., 2005), few CFEs have been

certified, and many that have are experiencing difficulties retaining it (Irvine, 1999; Bass

et al., 2001; Thornber and Markopoulos, 2001). As of May 2005, 89 CFEs had been FSC

certified, representing only 12.7% of the total 698 FSC certificates in the world and 4.2%

of the total area certified (FSC, 2005a). While these absolute numbers may not seem

impressive, they represent a 75% increase over the 51 operations that were certified in

August 2001 (Molnar, 2003). The Americas have taken the lead in pursuing certification

of CFEs, with 91% of the currently certified operations (FSC, 2005a).

The costs for these operations to get certified have been significant, and the benefits

realized from certification have varied greatly. The costs, which have largely been paid

by outside interests (Irvine, 1999; Bass et al., 2001; Thornber and Markopoulos, 2001),

include the direct costs paid in fees to the certifier and the indirect costs incurred from

bringing management practices into compliance with the certification standards. The

market benefits of certification are reported to be a key motivation for pursuing

certification (Bass et al., 2001; Thornber and Markopoulos, 2001; Quevedo, in press) and









include (1) price premiums--the most highly anticipated market benefit, yet most elusive

(Irvine, 1999; Bass et al., 2001; Molnar, 2003), (2) access to specialized market niches

for certified products, which is more common (Irvine, 1999; Molnar, 2003), and (3)

maintaining access to current markets (Markopoulos, 2003). The non-market benefits are

indirectly related to certification and typically involve social, environmental, and

technical impacts, such as improved organization of local associations (Markopoulos,

2003) and improved image and prestige of operations (Markopoulos, 2003; Fonseca, in

press).

The difficulties for CFEs in obtaining and maintaining certification and the

disparities in the benefits realized have led some scholars, practitioners, and communities

to question the practicality and utility of third-party certification for these operations

(Markopoulos, 2003; Fonseca, in press), calling for a more detailed evaluation of the

actual impacts of certification and the certification process on these communities and

their operations (Nussbaum and Simula, 2004; Carrera et al., in press). As Molnar (2003,

p. 30) concludes based on her extensive review of certified community-based timber

operations, "It is timely to pose the question of whether and how forest certification

supports community forestry ... ."

This research aimed to address this information gap by examining local actors'

perspectives on the negative and positive aspects of FSC certification for two CFEs in

Brazil's western Amazon. Specific objectives were (1) to identify the negative and

positive aspects of certification as perceived by community members, their principal

support organizations, and other key certification stakeholders, (2) to assess the relative

importance of these perceived negative and positive aspects of certification, and (3) to









analyze the differences in perceptions between the two operations,, as well as between

the local associations, support organizations, and other stakeholders.

Study Area

Until 1992, the state of Acre was not accessible year-round by road. This delayed

linkage to the rest of the country helps explain why mining, cattle ranching, and large-

scale Amazonian colonization projects had less impact in Acre than in other parts of the

basin (Kainer et al., 2003), and why as of 2003 only around ten percent of Acre had been

deforested (Lentini et al., 2003).

The region has been marked by struggles over competing land uses, mainly small

scale agriculture and extractive activities versus large-scale cattle ranching (Azevedo and

Freitas, 2003). In the 1970s and 80s, the local forest-dwelling rubber tappers in eastern

Acre organized themselves into a strong social movement to fight for legal rights to

forested land they had traditionally inhabited (Keck, 1995). In 1985, they joined forces

with other allies to form the National Rubber Tappers Council and to propose

establishment of extractive reserves (RESEXs) dedicated to sustainable livelihoods

(Schmink and Wood, 1992; Keck, 1995).

Initially, conservation-oriented land settlements in Acre (including RESEXs and

other multiple-use reserves) focused on non-timber forest products. Because of the

historical struggle to prevent forest loss, timber management and the accompanying tree

felling, has been a controversial proposal in Acre (Azevedo and Freitas, 2003), especially

in RESEXs (Kainer et al., 2003; Stone, 2003). When a handful of community-based

timber management projects were initiated in the 1990s by state governmental agencies

and non-governmental organizations, they were met with much resistance.









A new self-proclaimed "Forest Government" was voted into power in Acre in

1999, and re-elected in 2002, and has gradually changing societal perspectives of timber

management. The governor, who is a forester, embraced small-scale, sustainable timber

production as part of a larger forest-based development plan to improve the management

and commercialization of a variety of forest products in order to diversify and improve

income, help make standing forests more attractive than alternative land uses, and to stem

rural-urban migration (Kainer et al., 2003). Timber was seen as especially important for

rubber tappers, whose traditional income base of rubber and Brazil nut had long been

economically unstable (Schmink and Wood, 1992) and insufficient (Brown and Rosendo,

2000; Azevedo and Freitas, 2003). The government also pledged to encourage FSC

certification as a way to make forest products more competitive in national and

international markets (MMA, 2000).

As of August 2004, there were 18 CFEs in Acre--on target for the state goal of 21

by the end of 2004 (Marcelo Fernandes, personal communication). As of May 2005, four

of these operations had received FSC certification of a total of seven certified CFEs in the

entire country (FSC, 2005a), and at least five more in Acre were in the initial stages of

certification (IMAFLORA, personal communication; Carlos Ovidio Duarte Rocha,

personal communication). Parallel to these efforts, a Community Forest Producers Group

was formed in 2002 to help market the products of these growing operations (CTA, no

date). At least eight of the CFEs in Acre were participating in this organization in August

2004, which met monthly to discuss production schedules, commercialization issues, and

collective organization of wood sales to buyers, mainly in Sao Paulo (CTA, personal

communication).









This research focused on two of these operations located in Acre: Porto Dias and

Peixoto, which attained certification in 2002 and 2003, respectively (IMAFLORA, 2005)

(Table 1). These operations were chosen because they were among the first CFEs to

obtain certification in Acre, and they have several notable differences in their livelihood

systems and types of land tenure, organization, forest operations, and experiences with

the certification process.

First, the two operations have different legal designations which are related to their

distinct livelihood systems. Peixoto is legally designated as a PDA, a settlement model

based on agricultural colonization (Cunha dos Santos, 2002; Stone, 2003), which

supports livelihood systems centered primarily on ranching and small-scale agriculture.

Porto Dias is designated as a PAE, an "agroextractive settlement project," which is a

settlement model based on extractivism of forest products, principally rubber and Brazil

nuts.

Second, the two principal support organizations working with the local associations

have very different missions and project objectives. EMBRAPA, the principal support

organization for the Peixoto project, is a national, government-funded research

institution. It approached the project as an experiment in community forestry and low-

impact operations, and promoted the project as an additional source of income for

farmers. The Porto Dias project works with CTA, an NGO that focuses on social and

environmental issues in forest-based communities. CTA approached the project as a way

to improve local livelihoods, while conserving forests and maintaining the PAE

designation for the settlement.











Table 1
Similarities and differences between the two operations involved in this study
Peixoto Porto Dias


Land tenure / Livelihoods
Legal designation
Settlement size (ha)
Number of households
Average landholding size per
household (ha)

Productive activities

Organization

Local association

Number of households
involved in operation

Principle support
organization

Forest operation
Year management initiated
Year harvesting began

Area under timber
management (ha)

Felling cycle (years)

Mean annual harvest (m3)

Timber extraction method


Timber processing


Certification process
Year certified



Standards used



Pre-conditions received


colonization settlement
project (PAD)
378,395
3,000
80
Permanent agriculture for
subsistence and for markets,
cattle-raising

APRUMA (Association of
Rural Producers in Forestry
and Agriculture)
17
EMBRAPA (Brazilian
Agricultural Research
Corporation), a federal
research institute

1996
1997

680 (17 x 40 ha)

10

340 680 (17 families x 4 ha
x 5 10 m3/ha)

animal traction

portable sawmill; processing
equipment for carpentry


2003
FSC-approved Standards for
Amazon dry land forests and
the new FSC Small and Low
Intensity Managed Forests
(SLIMF) Streamlined
Procedures
0


agroextractive settlement
project (PAE)
22,145
88
300

Brazil nut, rubber, subsistence
agriculture


ASPD
(Association of Rubber
Tappers of Porto Dias)
8


CTA (Center for Amazonian
Workers), a Brazilian NGO


1995
2000

2,400 (8 x 300 ha)

25 50 (five properties are
harvested each year)
800 (8 families x 10 ha x 10
m3/ha)

tractor or skidder

band saw; new facility for
producing small, value-added
products


2002


FSC-approved Standards for
Amazon dry land forests


Conditions received 12
Sources: Cunha dos Santos (2002), FSC (2005a), IMAFLORA (2005)









Third, the management regimes developed by the principal support organizations

and local associations differ. The Peixoto project was designed to be a low-impact

operation that utilizes a portable sawmill to cut logs into boards in the forest, and an ox

and cart to transport the boards to the road. The Porto Dias project, which has much

larger annual harvest units, contracts operators to use rented tractors and trucks to skid

logs and transport them to a sawmill.

Finally, the certification procedures used differed among the two operations.

Peixoto, because it was a smaller, lower impact operation, was evaluated for certification

with the FSC's new Small and Low Impact Managed Forests (SLIMF) Streamlined

Certification Procedures. The SLIMF Procedures were designed for smaller and less

intensive operations with the goal of reducing the costs of certification and applying

standards that are more appropriate for these operations. Porto Dias, in contrast, was

evaluated for certification with the same procedures and standards used for large-scale

industrial operations.

Given these differences, I hypothesized: (1) Porto Dias actors would perceive the

social benefits to be the most important positive aspects of certification; (2) Peixoto

actors would perceive the economic benefits to be the most important positive aspects of

certification; and (3) the most important negative aspects of certification for both

operations would be economic costs.

Methods

Data on the two certified CFEs were collected through face-to-face, structured

interviews (Bernard, 2002) centered on a questionnaire and a review of documents from

the principal support organizations and the certifying body. The interviews were









conducted from June to August 2004 in Acre, Brazil. Documents reviewed included

reports, articles, and presentations related to the operations.

Structured Interviews

The questionnaire was developed to guide structured interviews with community

members participating in the CFEs (hereafter referred to as manejadores), the principal

support organization for each operation (the outside organization that has played the most

significant role in each community's CFE), and other stakeholders in FSC certification.

First, a preliminary version of the questionnaire was prepared to guide the interviews

with the manejadores in Peixoto and Porto Dias, who are organized into local

associations known as APRUMA (Association of Rural Producers in Forestry and

Agriculture) and ASPD (Association of Rubber Tappers of Porto Dias), respectively.

This version was then revised based on preliminary interviews with manejadores in one

operation and a focus group in the other, as well as discussions with the principal support

organizations. The questionnaire was then applied to 76% of the manejadores in Peixoto

and 87% in Porto Dias. Those not interviewed were unavailable for personal reasons,

except one individual who refused to be interviewed.

For each CFE, the manejadores were notified that the researcher would be visiting

their settlement and requesting interviews with them. The interviews were conducted

with one manejador at a time and took between 45 minutes and two hours. In almost all

cases, the researcher visited the house of the manejador and in a few cases, interviews

were conducted in Rio Branco. In all but two cases, the primary and formal participant in

the operations, or manejador, was male.

Finally, the questionnaire was further adapted to be used with the principal support

organizations and broader stakeholders in certification. With regard to the principal









support organizations, interviews were conducted with three representatives of

EMBRAPA and two representatives of CTA, who work with the operations in Peixoto

and Porto Dias, respectively. The other stakeholders in certification interviewed

included: one representative of a donor organization, WWF, which has paid the

certification fees for several CFEs in Acre, as well as provided funding for courses,

meetings, and travel related to certification and community forest management; two

representatives of the State Secretary of Technical Support and Extension of Acre

(SEATER), which is providing technical support to several of the CFEs in the state; two

representatives of the State Secretary of Forests (SEF), which helps develop and

implement the state government's policies on community forest management and is

providing funding for the initial certification of several CFEs in the state; and one

representative of the certifier involved in all three CFEs, the Institute of Forestry and

Agricultural Management and Certification (IMAFLORA), which is a formal partner of

the U.S.-based Rainforest Alliance's SmartWood Program.

Major Research Themes

The structured interviews focused on three major research themes: (1) the

perceived negative and positive aspects of certification; (2) the relative importance of

each aspect; and (3) reflections on certification. Quantitative and qualitative data were

collected to illuminate the negative and positive aspects of certification to date from the

perspective of the manejadores themselves, their principal support organizations, and

other stakeholders in certification. The positive and negative aspects could include

economic, environmental, social, and technical changes related to pursuing or receiving

certification, as well as aspects of the certification process itself. The relative importance

of these items was then ascertained to understand which of the aspects were perceived to









be most positive and negative. The final topic of interest was the respondents' reflections

on certification.

Perceived negative and positive aspects of certification

The manejadores and their principal support organizations were asked to free-list

(Bernard, 2002) the negative and positive aspects of certification to date for their

respective operations. The other stakeholders interviewed were asked to free-list these

contrasting aspects of certification in general.

Relative importance of each negative and positive aspect

Information from the free-listing exercise was organized into a master list of

positive and negative aspects for each operation, such that each operation had its own

master list. Subsequently, a color-coded card was created for each item; negative aspects

were written on yellow cards and positive aspects on blue (Figure 1). Illustrations were

drawn on each card to visually present these aspects for respondents with little to no

reading skills. Using these cards and the questionnaire, informants evaluated each cost

using a three-point Likert-type scale (Bernard, 2002) as follows: "very bad" = 2, "bad" =

1, or "not a cost" = 0. Likewise, the categories for benefits were: "very good" = 2,

"good" = 1, or "not a benefit" = 0. As each cost and benefit was evaluated, the reason for

the evaluation result was also queried.

The quantitative data generated by these Likert-scale responses for each negative

and positive aspect were analyzed. The average scores were determined first by

organization, then by operation, and finally, when applicable, across all four

organizations to determine an overall average score. Relative importance of the items

was then deduced based on two primary considerations. First, the intensities of the

perceived negative and positive impacts were considered, based on the average scores for









each organization. For example, the number of negative aspects that scored above a 1.0

was tallied. Next, the aspects perceived to be the most negative and the most positive

(i.e., those with the highest average scores) were identified for each organization and then

compared among the two organizations in each operation, across operations, and overall.

A [Inugern dos padres e A rnadera er+icada
d auditsre e c "p ro u m preso melhor






Fig. 1. Examples of color-coded, illustrated cards developed from the free-listing
exercise and used during interviews. A) This card represents the negative
aspect, "Both the certification standards and the auditors are hard to
understand." B) This card represents the positive aspect, "Certified wood has
a better price."

The same procedures were used to analyze the relative importance of the negative

and positive aspects by category (while recognizing that these are not categories with

firm boundaries): economic, social, environmental, technical, and specific to certification.

The "specific to certification" category represents negative and positive aspects related to

the process of obtaining and maintaining certification. Next, average scores for each

category were calculated for each organization and overall. Finally, these scores were

analyzed for each organization and compared among organizations for each operation,

across operations, and overall. This evaluation of relative importance was not performed

for the group of "other stakeholders" because there was not sufficient time to generate

original master lists of negative and positive aspects for them.

Reflections on certification

The manejadores and the principal support organizations for the operations in

Peixoto and Porto Dias were asked a series of reflective questions about certification and









the certification process. The guiding questions included: (1) Is certification worth it? (2)

Should the operations currently certified continue with certification into the future? and

(3) Would you recommend certification to other communities?

Results

Perceived Negative and Positive Aspects of Certification

Peixoto and Porto Dias

Negative aspects. There was little overlap in the perceived negative aspects of

certification identified by the organizations (Table 2). The actors in the Peixoto operation

(APRUMA and EMBRAPA, the local association and the principal support organization,

respectively) identified mostly economic and technical negative aspects (11 of 13 total

negative aspects), while more negative aspects specifically related to the certification

process (7 of 10 total items) were identified by the actors in the Porto Dias operation

(ASPD and CTA, the local association and the principal support organization,

respectively), which had more difficulty obtaining certification. In fact, all of the

negative aspects identified by ASPD specifically concerned the certification process. No

environmental negative aspects were identified. Also of note is that CTA was the only

organization that identified a negative social aspect of certification.

Positive aspects. In contrast to the negative aspects, there was more overlap in the

perceived positive aspects of certification identified by the organizations in general, and

specifically between the local association and its principal support organization in each

operation (Table 3). The most common type of positive aspect identified was economic.










Table 2
Negative aspects of certification for the operations in Peixoto and Porto Dias identified
by APRUMA, EMBRAPA, ASPD, and CTA
Peixoto a Porto Dias
Negative aspects
APRUMA EMBRAPA ASPD CTA
Economic
Certification is expensive to obtain and maintain 9 9 9
Certified wood is too expensive for many buyers 9
Certified wood is more expensive to produce 9
Delays in receiving money from distant buyers 9
Sale of certified wood is more complicated 9
Market not as good as expected _
Social
Creates more dependency on partner organizations
and financial donors









Specific to certification
Certification is a new and complex process
Both the certification standards and the auditors are
hard to understand
Too many conditions to meet in one year
Conditions will be difficult for community to meet
Auditors lack experience with communities in the
Amazon
Certifiers are very distant from the community
Surprise visits are bad b
Certification could be lost due to the actions of
others
a "/"indicates that this organization identified the corresponding negative aspect. No
negative "environmental" aspects were identified.
b This negative aspect was mentioned as an additional item during the relative importance
evaluation exercise.










Table 3
Positive aspects of certification for the operations in Peixoto and Porto Dias identified by
APRUMA, EMBRAPA, ASPD, and CTA
Peixoto a Porto Dias
Positive aspects
APRUMA EMBRAPA ASPD CTA
Economic
The project is better known
Certified wood is easier to sell
Better price
More confidence in contracts 9
Access to new markets
It differentiates the product b
Social
Association members are more motivated
Improved organization of the Association 9
Recognition of the work of the Association
Greater credibility with state agencies
The government supports the project because it is
certified b
Greater use of personal safety equipment







Environmental
The forest has more value
More effort to reduce damage to the forest 9 9 9
Better management of trash _
a ""indicates that this organization identified the corresponding positive aspect. No
positive aspects for the "specific to certification" category were identified.
b This positive aspect was mentioned as an additional item during the relative importance
evaluation exercise.

Other stakeholders

Negative aspects. One representative of SEF (State Secretary of Forests)

previously worked at CTA and was involved in the certification of the Porto Dias

operation. He noted that the demands of certification, such as monitoring, made ASPD

more dependent on CTA and other outsiders. He also indicated that the decision to









pursue certification came from outside the community, and neither the manejadores nor

CTA fully understood its implications at the time.

The representative of WWF identified two negative aspects of certification. First,

the fees charged by IMAFLORA are very high; WWF has helped cover these costs for

several CFEs. Second, the pursuit of certification represents very significant risks for

communities as they are making large investments of time and effort to get certified

without any guarantees regarding future profit.

Positive aspects. The two representatives of SEATER identified the green seal's

indication of quality and product distinction as positive aspects of certification. Other

benefits of certification identified by at least one of the representatives were: certified

products command better prices, certification provides access to new markets (one stated

that certification serves as a "type of passport" that permits access for forest products to

new markets), certified products are easier to sell, and certification is a type of guarantee.

In addition, one representative suggested that certification is creating a new type of

business culture, one in which companies and communities work together to both sell

wood and conserve the forest. He also indicated that certification is creating awareness

among local loggers that they will not be able to continue business as usual for much

longer, which could have many types of positive impacts.

One representative of SEF cited dual benefits: certification guarantees meeting

specific production guidelines and contributes to improving the image of forest product

operations. He also indicated that the pursuit of certification is in itself an educational

process, and the certification of industrial operations could contribute a lot to

environmental education in the forest products sector. Finally, he asserted that









certification levels the playing field among countries such as Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia

with respect to competition in the international wood products market.

The representative of IMAFLORA reiterated a few positive aspects of certification

identified by others: improved self-esteem of the manejadores; better visibility for

operations; improved social organization, citing for example the requirements for clear

rules and responsibilities for local association members; and, in the long-term, improved

profitability. Several benefits not voiced by the other informants included better access

to information, events, and training; improved motivation to manage conflicts (i.e., if

parties to a dispute share a higher goal of certification, this can persuade them to resolve

conflicts); and stimulation of cultural changes in terms of recognizing the importance of

maintaining forests for a better quality of life. He also mentioned that in the long-term

improved awareness of issues addressed in the certification standards could lead to other

environmental and/or health benefits, such as better management of refuse.

The WWF representative interviewed enumerated two principal positive aspects of

certification for communities, both economic. The first was remuneration for certified

products, although he emphasized that higher prices are not guaranteed, and it was only

in the previous year that certified CFEs in Acre finally secured higher prices. Second, the

green seal differentiates products in the marketplace by indicating that the operation of

origin is socially and environmentally responsible. In addition, he said the fact that the

products are from communities helps to further differentiate them. He added that WWF,

as a conservation organization, benefits from the CFEs they support because these

operations are managing their forests well.









Relative Importance of Negative and Positive Aspects

Negative aspects. For both operations, principal support organization scored the

negative aspects higher than did the local association in the majority of cases. In Peixoto,

APRUMA (the local association) had only one negative aspect with an average score of

1.0 (a 1.0 representing a "bad" aspect and a 2.0 a "very bad" aspect) (Table 4), while

EMBRAPA (the support organization) had five negative aspects with an average score of

1.0 or higher. For the operation in Porto Dias, ASPD (the local association) scored six

items between 1.0 and 1.5, while CTA (the support organization) scored all of the items

between 1.0 and 2.0. Also notable is that the actors in Porto Dias (the agroextractive

settlement) had higher average scores for their top ranked negative aspects than the actors

in Peixoto (the colonization settlement).

The "specific to certification" category was perceived to be the most important,

scoring relatively high for three of the organizations (between 1.2 and 1.6) and receiving

the highest overall average score (1.1) (Figure 2). While "economic" was the second

highest scoring category overall (0.9), in general this category scored relatively low on

average (0.6 to 0.7) for three of the four organizations; CTA was the exception with an

average of 1.5. The "technical" category also scored relatively low overall. Finally,

"social" aspects scored very high (2.0) for CTA, but relatively low for ASPD (0.7), while

EMBRAPA and APRUMA did not identify any negative social aspects of certification

for the operation in Peixoto. Negative "environmental" aspects were not evaluated by

organizations in either operation because none were identified on the master lists.

Positive aspects. In contrast to the negative aspects, the local associations

typically had higher scores than the support organizations for the positive aspects. For

Peixoto, APRUMA (the local association) scored all of the positive aspects between 1.2










and 1.8 (with 1.0 representing a "good" aspect and 2.0 representing a "very good" aspect)

(Table 5). EMBRAPA (the support organization) scored nine of eleven items between

1.0 and 2.0. For Porto Dias, ASPD (the local association) scored all of the items




2.0

o Economic

0 O Social

S1.0 Technical

Environmental

O Specific to
Certification
0.0
APRUMA Embrapa ASPD CTA

Organization



Fig. 2. Relative importance of the negative aspects (0 = "not a negative aspect," 1.0 =
"bad," and 2.0 = "very bad")




2.0 = OEconomic

I Social

| Technical
1.0 ----- -
I [I Environmental

[ Specific to
Certification
0.0
APRUMA Embrapa ASPD CTA
Organization


Fig.3. Relative importance of the positive aspects (0 = "not a positive aspect," 1.0 =
"good", and 2.0 = "very good")















Table 4.
Average relative importance score for each negative aspect by organization and averaged across all organizations (overall)
Peixoto b,c Porto Dias Overall
Negative aspects EMBRAPA Avg. SPD CTA Avg. Avg.
APRUMAScore Score Score Rank
Score Score Score


Conditions will be difficult for community to meet
(STC)
Too many conditions to meet in one year (STC)
Certification is expensive to obtain and maintain
(Ec)
Certifiers are very distant from the community
(STC)
Creates more dependency on partner organizations
and financial donors (S)
Both the certification standards and the auditors are
hard to understand (STC)
Certification is a new and complex process (STC)
Certification could be lost due to the actions of
others (STC)
Auditors lack experience with communities in the
Amazon (STC)
Registering wood for chain-of-custody takes time
and is difficult (T)
Market not as good as expected (Ec)
Quality of processed wood must be high (T)
Only wood from the CFE can be sawn in the CFEs
sawmill (T)
Certified wood is more expensive to produce (Ec)
Restrictions on where wood can be sawn (T)

Delays in receiving money from distant buyers (Ec)


1.5 2.0 1.8

1.5 2.0 1.8

0.8 2.0 1.4

1.2 1.5 1.3

0.7 2.0 1.3

1.0 1.5 1.3

0.8 2.0 1.4

1.2 1.0 1.1

1.0 1.0 1.0

0.7 1.0 0.8


1.8 1

1.8 1
1.4 2

1.3 3

1.3 3


1.1 4 t

1.1 4

1.0 5

0.8 6


0.6 7


0.5 1.0 0.8


0.5 8


Certified wood is too expensive for many buyers 0.5 0.3
(Ec)0.5 0.3 0.4 -- -- -- 0.4 9
(Ec)
Sale of certified wood is more complicated (Ec) 0.3 0.3 0.3 -- -- 0.3 10
Greater pressure to do good management (T) 0.6 0.0 0.3 -- -- -- 0.3 10
a The negative aspects are coded to indicate its category as follows: (STC) = specific to certification, (Ec) = economic, (S) = social, (T) = technical; b Ranking: 0
= not a cost, 1 = bad, 2 = very bad; and c A "-"indicates an item that was not evaluated because it was not on the master list for the corresponding operation.














Table 5
Average relative importance score for each positive aspect by organization and averaged across all organizations (overall)
Peixoto bc Porto Dias


Positive aspects of certification a


Avg.
APRUMA EMBRAPA Avg.
Score


ASPD CTA


Access to new markets (Ec) 1.8 2.0 1.9 1.9 2.0
Better price (Ec) 1.8 1.3 1.6 2.0 2.0
Recognition of the work of the Association (S) -- -- 2.0 1.5
The project is better known (Ec) 1.7 2.0 1.8 1.7 1.5
Greater credibility with state agencies (S) -- -- 1.4 2.0
Greater use of personal safety equipment (S) 1.6 1.0 1.3 2.0 2.0
Association members are more motivated (S) 1.5 1.7 1.6
The forest has more value (Env) -- -- 2.0 1.0
Improved management practices (T) -- -- 1.9 1.0
More confidence in contracts (Ec) 1.5 1.7 1.6 2.0 0.5
More effort to reduce damage to the forest
1.5 0.3 0.9 1.9 1.5
(Env)
Certified wood is easier to sell (Ec) 1.4 1.0 1.2
Better management of trash (Env) 1.4 1.0 1.2
Improved organization of the Association (S) 1.2 0.7 0.9 --
Better control over equipment used in forest
management (T) 1.5 0.0 0.8
a The positive aspects are coded to indicate its category as follows: (STC) = specific to certification, (Ec) = economic, (S)
bRanking: 0 = not a benefit, 1 = good, 2 = very good.
C A "-"indicates an item that was not evaluated because it was not on the master list for the corresponding operation.


Avg.
Score
1.9
2.0
1.8
1.6
1.7
2.0


Avg. R
Score
1.9
1.8
1.8
1.7
1.7
1.6


1.7


lank

1
2
2
3
3
4


1.3 7

1.2 8


0.8 10

social, (T) = technical.


Overall









between 1.4 and 2.0, and CTA (the support organization) scored all but one between 1.0

and 2.0. Also, surprisingly, as they did for the negative aspects, the actors in Porto Dias

tended to score the positive aspects higher than the actors in Peixoto.

Overall, "economic" and "social" positive aspects consistently scored relatively

high for all four organizations, receiving average scores of 1.7 and 1.5, respectively

(Figure 3). Positive "environmental" aspects scored relatively high for three of the four

organizations. While "technical" aspects also scored high for three of the four

organizations, EMBRAPA did not recognize any "technical" benefits of certification.

There were no positive aspects identified on the master lists for the "specific to

certification" category (which pertains to the process of obtaining and maintaining

certification), therefore none were evaluated by organizations for either operation.

Reflections on Certification

Is certification worth it?

Almost everyone interviewed with the operations in Peixoto and Porto Dias

responded positively to the broad question: "Is certification worth it?" The exceptions

were the two representatives of CTA, who replied that in some respects it is, and in others

it is not.

For the operation in Peixoto, two of the three representatives of EMBRAPA

interviewed reasoned that actual and potential price increases and market access were

benefits that make certification "worth it," even with all of the costs involved in the

certification process. One also stated that certification could improve the organizational

aspect of the operation. All 13 manejadores interviewed from APRUMA asserted that

certification is indeed worth it. Almost half of the manejadores (six or 46%) cited better

price as their principal justification, and five (38%) reasoned that certified wood is easier









to sell. Other advantages cited in favor of certification included the guarantee that their

wood would be sold in a legal manner, access to new markets, and increased recognition

of APRUMA. One respondent outlined several disadvantages of certification, such as not

being allowed to hunt in the timber management area, but still agreed it is worth

maintaining. In addition, two people also stated that certification is worth continuing, to

see what benefits it could bring in the future.

In Porto Dias, the manejadores cited the following reasons for their response that

certification is worthwhile: access to new markets, better price for wood, recognition of

the ASPD and the community, learning more about forest management, and improved

safety. The first response was mentioned by two people and the rest by one each. One

person stated that if they did not have certification, they would not have a way to sell

their wood; it is worth it because they have a market. He also declared that the time is

going to come when it will be impossible to sell wood without certification. The

representatives of CTA articulated positive and negative aspects of certification in

response to "Is certification worth it?" They noted that there was strong donor and state

government support for certification, and that the operation in Porto Dias and CTA would

not have access to this support if they were not involved in certification. Indeed, both

CTA and EMBRAPA stated that their main incentive for encouraging these operations to

pursue certification was because donors were offering badly needed project funds to

community forest management projects willing to become certified. However, the CTA

representatives also observed that certification places a lot of responsibility on the

community and that some of the demands of certification are impossible for the

community to comply with alone (e.g., controlling land invasions). Furthermore, they









also identified an important contradiction in the goals of certification--while it

supposedly strives to guarantee the independence of small-scale operators, the 31

conditions (or corrective action requests necessary for maintaining certification) received

by Porto Dias actually exacerbated community dependence on support organizations for

technical and financial assistance. Finally, one CTA representative concluded that

certification is costly and complicated, and not that important. She also said that they

were going to study other, less expensive ways to recognize community efforts to manage

their forests sustainably.

Should the operations currently certified continue with certification?

There was general agreement among all respondents that the two operations should

continue with certification for the next five years, with the only deviations coming from

two manejadores in Peixoto who responded "maybe." When asked about a ten-year

timeframe, one EMBRAPA respondent changed his response to "maybe" as well.

For the Peixoto operation, one EMBRAPA representative stated that maintaining

certification would be difficult for APRUMA, mostly due to the social dynamics between

members, but that they should continue with it. The other two EMBRAPA

representatives said that the decision to continue with certification should depend on how

the market changes over time. The manejadores from APRUMA were more adamant

about the necessity to maintain certification, with five saying that it should continue in

the long-term. Two further clarified that certification should be maintained even if

APRUMA had to pay for it. One stated that if certification were lost, it would be

difficult, if not impossible, to get it back. He affirmed that they should maintain

certification for 10 years or more, and added that if possible, this work should continue

for the rest of their lives. One of the two who responded that "maybe" they should









continue with certification said APRUMA should have a better idea of the difficulties of

certification at the end of five years, and could decide at that time.

Similarly, the manejadores in Porto Dias were resolute that certification of their

operation should continue indefinitely. However, the representatives of CTA were less

committed to continuing certification into the future. They agreed that certification

should be continuedfor now, and one related that ongoing pressure from the state

government and the wood buyers was incentive to continue with certification into the

future.

Would you recommend certification to other communities?

All respondents for the operations in Peixoto and Porto Dias unanimously

concurred that they would recommend certification to other communities. EMBRAPA

reasoned that certification could help with organization and product marketing, the latter

being especially important for operations with low production volume. In APRUMA,

one manejador said that he and fellow manejadores were proud of having successfully

completed the difficult certification process and that recommending certification was one

of the first things they did when speaking to other communities. Three manejadores also

asserted that other communities should have the same benefits they had attained.

Another pointed out that if other communities got certified, it would increase the volume

of certified wood, which would be good for everyone.

Reasons cited by manejadores in Porto Dias for recommending certification

included that certified wood was easier to sell due to a higher demand (two people),

certified wood had a better price (one), and that the use of personal safety equipment was

important (one). However, one person indicated that in his experience, other

communities were not interested in certification because of the amount of work involved









and the fact that wood sales took a long time to complete. Two others qualified their

response with the condition that the community members must make an effort to

understand certification (one) and become well trained (one). One representative of CTA

also recommended that communities not pursue certification until they had at least one

year of experience in managing forests for timber production.

Discussion and Conclusions

This study was designed to illuminate stakeholder perceptions of the negative and

positive aspects of FSC certification for community-based forest enterprises (CFEs).

While international conservation organizations, governments, and donors are increasingly

promoting FSC certification for CFEs, there is limited understanding of how local actors

(both communities and their local support organizations) perceive certification, and how

these perceptions might vary across different operational contexts.

The research methods were specifically designed to tap into these local perceptions.

The community members and representatives of their support organizations were asked

to identify specific negative and positive aspects of certification in their own words,

instead of using outsider-imposed categories. This not only more accurately captured the

perceived negative and positive aspects, but also made the relative importance scoring

exercise easier for the participants since base-line responses came from them. By

eliciting the relative importance of the perceived contrasting aspects, instead of simply

listing these items, a more informative analysis of the local perceptions regarding

certification was provided. In addition, interviews were conducted with the manejadores

and their principal support organization representatives separately. This facilitated

independent responses from both groups of actors, allowing support organizations and









individual manejadores to be frank in their responses. It also permitted comparisons

between these two groups.

What Are the Most Important Negative and Positive Aspects?

While a wide range of negative aspects were identified, not all of them were

perceived to be important. As hypothesized, economic costs of certification were found

to be one of the two most important negative aspects of certification, while the major

preoccupation with the certification process was unanticipated. Negative social aspects

were not a concern for most of the stakeholders, with the exception of CTA, a local

NGO. No negative environmental aspects of certification were perceived.

Many of the negative aspects of certification identified in this study have been

identified as barriers or constraints for CFEs seeking certification. For example, several

studies have voiced concern over the high costs of certification and the burden these will

present communities when they assume this expense (Irvine, 1999; Bass et al., 2001;

Thornber and Markopoulos, 2001). The direct costs of certification (or fees paid to the

certifier) were approximately US$ 11,420 for Porto Dias for the pre-audit visit and initial

assessment (Mauricio Voivodic, personal communication) and US$ 2,000 for each annual

audit. For Peixoto, the costs were US$ 9,200 for the pre-audit visit and initial assessment

(Mauricio Voivodic, personal communication). These values are similar to what CFEs in

Mexico ($12,000), and Honduras ($12,000) paid for initial assessments (Molnar, 2003),

more than what CFEs in Guatemala paid for initial assessments (around $5,000) (Soza,

2003), and significantly lower than Molnar (2003) reports for a certified CFE in Bolivia

($47,425).

In contrast to the negative aspects, almost all of the positive ones identified were

perceived to be important. As hypothesized, economic benefits were perceived to be the









most important positive aspect of certification for Peixoto, but the local association also

scored other types of benefits highly. Also as hypothesized, social benefits scored highly

on average for Porto Dias, but the local association scored other positive aspects more

highly. Overall, economic and social benefits were perceived to be the most important

positive aspects of certification across the stakeholder groups. This is not surprising

since the principal motivation for pursuing certification for both operations in this study

was market benefits, as has been observed for other certified CFEs studied (Irvine, 1999;

Bass et al., 2001). In addition, several studies of other certified operations have

highlighted the importance of social benefits, including improved image of the local

association and operation, and resulting greater credibility with governments, for example

in Mexico (Markopoulos, 2003; Fonseca, in press) and Guatemala (Carrera et al., in

press).

When asked if certification was worth it, most stakeholders interviewed affirmed

that it was, and that the certified operations should maintain certification into the future.

Furthermore, both the manejadores and representatives of the principal support

organizations stated that they do or would recommend certification to other communities.

How Did Perspectives Among the Stakeholder Groups Differ?

The explicitly comparative approach to this study revealed that the perspectives of

stakeholders differed by operation, as well as between the local association and its

support organization within each operation. The other stakeholders in certification

offered some unique perspectives as well. The two principal differences were: 1) the

actors in the Porto Dias operation scored both the negative and positive aspects of

certification higher than their counterparts in Peixoto, and 2) the local associations scored









the positive aspects higher and the negative aspects lower than their principal support

organizations.

The seemingly paradoxical result that actors in Porto Dias scored both the negative

and positive aspects higher than their counterparts in Peixoto is consistent with several

differences between the operations and their experiences with certification. Regarding

variations in negative aspects, the bulk of these identified by the actors in Porto Dias

pertain to the "specific to certification" category, and they scored these much higher than

the Peixoto actors scored the negative aspects identified for their operation. Possible

explanations for this include disparities in experiences with the certification process,

which was much more burdensome for the Porto Dias operation for several reasons.

Because the Porto Dias operation uses heavy machinery and outside labor to

remove logs from the forest, while the operation in Peixoto uses animal traction and local

labor, the Porto Dias operation was scrutinized more closely during the certification

process for environmental impact and labor issues, and given conditions (or corrective

action requests necessary for maintaining certification) concerning these issues. Also,

because the inhabitants of Porto Dias have a long history of gathering non-timber forest

products and hunting, the manejadores were required to document and monitor the use of

these resources in addition to the standard impact monitoring of timber harvests; these

were not issues in the agriculturally-oriented Peixoto. Third, because Porto Dias was

only the second CFE to get certified in the country, the certifiers did not have much

experience or guidance in the certification of CFEs at that time. During the certification

process APRUMA was held to the same standards as large industrial operations, and

received more than 30 pre-conditions and conditions from IMAFLORA. The operation









in Peixoto, in contrast, was evaluated according to the newly drafted FSC SLIMF

Streamlined Certification Procedures, and it received no pre-conditions and far fewer (12)

and less onerous conditions. While these factors help explain why the certification

process was much more difficult for the Porto Dias operation than the Peixoto operation,

it is worth noting that a perception existed that the certification process results were

unfair for Porto Dias, given that its inhabitants had traditionally maintained and utilized

the forest for the sustainable harvest of non-timber forest products, while the inhabitants

in Peixoto had traditionally cleared forest for agriculture and pasture.

Other reasons why the actors in Porto Dias scored a wider range of types of

positive aspects (environmental, social, and technical) of certification higher than their

counterparts in Peixoto (who scored "economic" aspects the highest) may include

differences in livelihood systems, motivations for implementing timber management, and

support organizations. The manejadores in Peixoto are colonists whose livelihoods are

primarily focused on cattle production and the sale of agricultural products. The

motivation for implementing timber production was to complement these sources of

income in areas they were not allowed to deforest legally. EMBRAPA, the support

organization for Peixoto, approached the project as an income generation initiative and

placed great emphasis on technical capacity. In contrast, the livelihoods of the

manejadores in Porto Dias have long depended on intact forests for the harvest and sale

of non-timber forest products. In addition to providing an increasingly significant source

of income for them, timber production, due to the value it adds to the forest, helped

justify their forest-based economy which is under constant threat. One of the most

critical threats has been a movement by some residents to convert the legal status of the









settlement from an "agroextractive settlement project" to a "colonization settlement

project," which would involve sweeping changes to the way land is divided and how the

settlement is managed. CTA, the support organization for Porto Dias, approached

certification as a way to bring critically needed infrastructure to the settlement (which

lacked a permanent road) and provide income, while also conserving the forest and

helping to maintain the current status of the settlement. CTA had increasingly

emphasized improving the organization of the local association and intensifying technical

training, particularly after the initial certification assessment. Based on these differences,

it is not surprising that the actors in Peixoto perceived "economic" benefits to be the most

important, while their counterparts in Porto Dias also scored highly the other types of

benefits (social, technical, and environmental). Richards (1997) and Schmink (2004)

have emphasized that it is precisely these non-market benefits of forests that communities

often value most highly.

The higher optimism of the local associations regarding certification compared to

their principal support organizations was evident in the former's typically lower scores

for negative aspects and higher scores for positive ones. This finding appears to be

consistent with the suggestion of Bass et al. (2001) that the subsidizing of certification

costs by donors has led communities to underestimate the economic costs and

overestimate the economic benefits of certification. In our study, the support

organizations have been responsible for paying the costs of certification and proving

compliance with certification standards. At the same time, they have received few of the

direct economic and indirect social, environmental, and technical benefits (e.g., more

effort to reduce damage to the forest, improved organization of the local association).









Therefore, based on their vantage point, it is not surprising that economic costs figured

most prominently for the support organizations and the positive aspects of certification

less so. Similarly, from their contrasting vantage point, perhaps the manejadores were

unable to accurately evaluate the economic costs, but were in a better position to evaluate

the other non-economic negative and positive aspects (i.e., environmental, social, and

technical).

What Are the Implications for the Certification of Community-Based Enterprises?

Many studies, including this one, have indicated that the economic costs of

certification for CFEs have been substantial and the certification process has proven

difficult. However, efforts are underway by certifiers and the FSC to make the process

less expensive and cumbersome, and Brazilian organizations have taken a leading role in

this endeavor. IMAFLORA has taken several steps to reduce the costs for CFEs in

Brazil, including: creating the Social Fund for Certification to help subsidize the direct

costs of certification (fees paid to IMAFLORA), developing the Volunteer Auditors Bank

of specialists to perform certification of CFEs at no cost or at significantly discounted

rates (also see Azevedo and Freitas, 2003), and printing a booklet specifically aimed at

informing community members about certification (the booklet is available in Portuguese

at http://www.imaflora.org/arquivos/cartilhacomunidades.pdf). The FSC has also

developed, as mentioned, new Small and Low Intensity Managed Forests (SLIMF)

Streamlined Certification Procedures and FSC-Brazil has composed new SLIMF forest

certification standards--which representatives of CFEs, NGOs, and governmental

organizations helped to develop (FSC Brazil, 2004).

The results of this study show that application of the SLIMF Procedures in Peixoto

may have reduced the perceived importance of the negative aspects of certification for









the local association and its support organization. However, the results cannot be

divorced from the fact that Peixoto also had a smaller scale and lower intensity operation

than Porto Dias. Nonetheless, expanded efforts to streamline the certification process,

such as certification standards specifically for SLIMF operations, may be key to

achieving widespread FSC certification of CFEs globally. See Humphries (2005) for

detailed analysis of the certification process in the two communities involved in this

study.

While many non-economic benefits of certification were perceived to be important,

the economic benefits proved very important. In fact, higher prices for wood related to

access to the certified market may be the only way for these operations to achieve

economic viability given the disadvantages they face of unfavorable economies of scale

(i.e., high cost per unit volume), distance from major markets, and stiff competition with

illegal wood. On the other hand, the difficulty of meeting the certification standards

(especially those concerning documentation and monitoring) and paying certification fees

may doom these CFEs to indefinite dependence on support organizations. Time will tell

if the process can be simplified enough to make the standards and costs manageable for

local associations, or if a permanent relationship with support organizations will be

acceptable. Moreover, new models may emerge to address these problems and/or new

solutions for obtaining good prices for wood may be found.

This study revealed differences in perceptions between the local associations and

their support organizations. Differences in perspectives on the importance of the positive

versus the negative aspects of certification could lead to conflict between local

associations and support organizations over whether or not to make certification a









priority. Support organizations may not want to commit to securing funding and

providing technical assistance to meet certification standards if they do not think the

positive aspects outweigh the negative ones.

This study also revealed significant differences between CFE operations in the

perception of negative and positive aspects of certification, likely due to the different

contexts under which the CFEs are operating. Accommodating differences among CFEs

in livelihood and land tenure systems, motivations for implementing timber management,

and types of management regimes will likely continue to be a challenge for the FSC and

certifiers. Our study provides some insight into how these differences might affect

operations and their perceptions of certification. Differences in CFEs' perceptions of

economic costs and benefits could also complicate cooperative efforts in wood sales or

cost sharing. However, no evidence of these types of conflicts was found in this study.

Two important enabling conditions distinguish the CFEs in this study from other

CFEs globally, and perhaps have contributed to their success, especially with regard to

economic benefits. First, both operations in this study were members of the Community

Forest Producer Group, which as of August 2004 included at least eight local associations

with certified and non-certified CFEs in Acre, as well as several non-governmental and

federal and state organizations. The Group benefited its members in three principal ways

(Francisco de Assis Correa Silva, personal communication): 1) it provided a forum to

discuss certification, including the process, costs, and benefits; 2) it provided a platform

for the members to confront problems or propose change as a group, for example in

dealing with IBAMA, the federal agency that approves forest management plans; and 3)









most importantly, it facilitated wood sales to ten members of the Brazilian Buyers Group,

a consortium of buyers of certified wood in Sao Paulo.

According to the manejadores and their principal support organizations, both the

Porto Dias and Peixoto operations had difficulties selling wood in the local and national

markets prior to this Sao Paulo connection. The proliferation of illegal wood drives

down local wood prices (Freitas, 2004) and previous buyers had refused to pay for wood

received (EMBRAPA, APRUMA, CTA, ASPD, personal communications). In contrast,

the buyers in Sao Paulo had become regular customers, purchasing the majority of the

harvest from Porto Dias and Peixoto in 2003, and additionally from several other

communities in 2004. Although they were paying the same price for the certified

sawnwood as the going rate in Sao Paulo for non-certified sawnwood (about R$ 800 or

US$ 338 per cubic meter) (EMBRAPA, CTA, personal communications), this was at

least 400% more than the standard price a community could receive in the local market

(between R$ 100 200 or US$ 42 85 per cubic meter) (EMBRAPA, CTA, personal

communications). In addition, these buyers accepted the lesser known species and small

quantities that communities offered, and were reportedly more forgiving than the industry

norm with regard to quality (CTA, personal communication).

This type of arrangement could diminish many of the constraints CFEs have

traditionally encountered in their relationships with wood products markets, such as

distance to certified markets and limited capital, production capacity, processing

technology, and marketing skills (Aguilar, 2000; Bass et al., 2001; Quevedo, in press).

Similar efforts at organizing the different actors in community-based forestry are also

underway in Mexico (Fonseca, in press) and Guatemala (Carrera et al., in press).









Fonseca (in press) reports that an alliance of 12 CFEs in Mexico has helped to market

members' products, offered aggregated volumes of products for sale, and created new

product designs.

In this study, though some of the manejadores and representatives of the principal

support organizations argued the price should be higher and cautioned against assuming

this marketing arrangement would last forever, most agreed that the higher prices and

access to the Sdo Paulo market represented major benefits of certification for the local

associations. Of course, it remains to be seen if the added market benefits of certification

will outweigh the economic costs and other negative aspects of certification in the future

for the local associations in Porto Dias and Peixoto, especially when they must pay for

certification themselves. Indeed, for many CFEs studied to date, due to an inability to

attain and maintain market benefits related to certification (Irvine, 1999; Bass et al.,

2001; Molnar, 2003), the added economic benefits of certification do not exceed the

costs. The Peten region of Guatemala, where very few FSC chain-of-custody certified

operations exist, is a good example (Soza, 2003; FSC, 2005b; Carrera et al., in press).

Fonseca (in press) reports some CFEs in Mexico are questioning the value of certification

for this reason.

Another relatively unique enabling condition for the communities in this study is

the high level of support for community forestry and certification by the state government

of Acre. Bass et al. (2001) reported that government involvement in the certification of

CFEs studied has been minimal due to disinterest in community forestry. In contrast, the

current government of Acre has ambitious goals for augmenting the number of CFEs in

the state and is both offering technical assistance and paying for some of them to get






39


certified through the FSC system (Marcelo Fernandes, personal communication; Carlos

Ovidio Duarte Rocha, personal communication). Strong governmental support of

community forestry and certification has also helped foment the certification of CFEs in

Mexico (Fonseca, in press) and Guatemala (Soza, 2003), the countries with the highest

numbers of certified CFEs (FSC, 2005a).














CHAPTER 3
IMPROVING THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS FOR COMMUNITY-BASED
FOREST OPERATIONS: STAKEHOLDER REFLECTIONS FROM THE BRAZILIAN
AMAZON

Introduction

While Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification is being promoted by non-

governmental organizations (NGOs), governments, and donors as a way to encourage and

recognize sustainable community-based forest enterprises (CFEs), as well as improve

market access for their products (MMA and Gov. of Acre, 1999; WWF, 2002; Carrera et

al., in press), few CFEs have been certified to date. The large difference in the number of

certified industrial versus community-based operations has been credited to the fact that

certification was not originally intended for small, non-industrial operations (Bass et al.,

2001; Butterfield et al., 2005). Several researchers have identified aspects of the

certification process that are particularly challenging for CFEs, and have recommended

changes (see Irvine, 1999; Bass et al., 2001; Thornber and Markopoulos, 2001).

However, very few studies have captured the reflections and recommendations directly

from the actors involved in certified operations (see WWF et al., 2001, for an exception).

This article aims to present suggestions for improvement to the FSC certification process

for CFEs as identified by local actors involved in three certified CFEs in Acre, Brazil. It

also presents innovative ways in which various actors in Brazil are striving to make

certification more accessible and profitable for CFEs.

The FSC is a non-governmental, not-for-profit, international, membership-based

organization whose Principles and Criteria for Forest Stewardship are used as the basis









for independent, third-party certification of forest management operations around the

world. As of May 2005, a total of 698 FSC certificates had been issued for operations in

66 countries that cover over 50 million hectares of public, private, and communal lands

(FSC, 2005b). Yet, community-based forest enterprises (CFEs) are a small part of this

total--there are 89 FSC-certified CFEs, representing only 12.7% of the total number of

enterprises and 4.2% of the total area certified (FSC, 2005b).

The FSC certification process clearly has significant shortcomings for communities

and small-scale enterprises. The "certification process" refers to the set of steps that

operations complete to obtain and maintain certification, as well as the procedures used

by the certifiers during their evaluation of operations. Typically the process includes an

initial visit to the operation by the certifiers, also known as a "scoping visit." This is

followed by a full-scale assessment of the operation to determine to what extent it

complies with the standards for certification, and corrective action requests (also known

as pre-conditions, conditions, and recommendations) are given to the operation, as

applicable. Annual audits are conducted for the following four years to monitor

compliance with the corrective action requests, after which a complete re-assessment is

performed.

In recognition of the need to address the challenges of certification for smaller

operations, the FSC has developed the Small and Low Intensity Managed Forests

(SLIMF) Streamlined Procedures for Certification (see FSC, 2005c), and donors are

subsidizing the costs of certification for communities. However, if the FSC is going to

find widespread application among these types of operations, further adjustments to the









certification process and standards must be made, without compromising the integrity of

the FSC label.

Brazil, a leader in certified industrial operations in Latin America, is intent on

increasing its number of certified CFEs. With only seven certified CFEs, it trails behind

Mexico and Guatemala in the number of certified CFEs in Latin America (FSC, 2005a).

Given Brazil's vast Amazonian forests and the fact that it has over 300 forest

management plans involving communities in the country (Amaral and Amaral Neto,

2005), this ranking seems unimpressive. However, certification has been outlined as a

priority in a collaborative initiative of the federal and state governments, business sector,

and civil society--known as the "Positive Agenda for the Amazon"--aimed at reducing

deforestation and improving income in the Amazon basin (MMA, 2000).

Furthermore, the state government of Acre, in Brazil's western Amazon region, has

embraced FSC certification of CFEs as part of its state policy of forest-based

development with the expectation that certified forest products will be more competitive

in national and international markets (MMA and Government of Acre, 1999). Acre

currently leads the country in certified CFEs with four certificates, two of which were the

first to be issued in the country. The support offered from the state government and

donors [such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and a national program called

ProManejo] to local associations for obtaining certification and the recent success of the

certified CFEs in Acre in accessing national markets have encouraged additional

communities to pursue certification.

However, even with this support, Brazilian CFEs have faced significant challenges

in obtaining and retaining certification. In Chapter 2 it was revealed that the









manejadores and support organizations from two certified CFEs participating in this

research rated elements of the certification process among the most important negative

aspects of certification. This chapter aims to provide a forum to share the observations

and suggestions of community members, principal support organizations, and a donor

involved in three certified CFEs in Acre, Brazil (including the two from Chapter 2), on

how the certification process for CFEs could be improved. The specific objective is to

identify process recommendations from these actors. As pilot operations, these CFEs are

important references for other CFEs in the Amazon region, as well as the rest of the

globe.

Study Area

Acre is the birthplace of the extractive reserve concept. Born out of the highly

publicized rubber tapper struggle for the forests which sustained their livelihoods, this

land use strategy institutionalizes collective resource management areas for non-

indigenous populations, and assigns management responsibilities to local people who

have a long-term stake in maintenance of the resource base. Generally, traditional forest

use in Acre focused solely on non-timber products, and because of the historical struggle

to prevent forest felling, management for timber production has been a controversial

proposal in the state (Azevedo and Freitas, 2003). When a handful of community-based

timber management projects was initiated by state governmental agencies and non-

governmental organizations in Acre in the 1990s, they were met with much resistance.

However, the persistence of the self-proclaimed state "Forest Government" is gradually

changing societal perspectives on timber management.

The popular governor, who is a forester, has embraced small-scale, sustainable

timber production as part of a larger forest-based development plan, the aim of which is









to improve the management and commercialization of a variety of forest products to

diversify and improve income and help make standing forests more attractive than

alternative land uses (Kainer et al., 2003). He has stated that the end goal is to turn Acre

into a global example of sustainable development based on the rational use of tropical

forests (estadao.com.br, 2001), and has described certification as key to reaching this end

(A Tribuna, 2003; Pagina 20, 2003).

This research focuses on three pilot CFEs in Acre: Porto Dias and Peixoto, which

attained certification in 2002 and 2003, respectively (IMAFLORA, 2005), and Sao Luis

do Remanso, which at the time of the study had not yet completed the certification

process (Andre G. de Freitas, personal communication). These operations were chosen

because they were among the first CFEs to obtain certification in Acre. In addition,

while all three operations participate in the local community forestry producers group,

they differ notably regarding their livelihood systems, principal support organizations,

and experiences with the certification process.

All three communities are located within settlement models that fall under the

purview of the National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA). Porto

Dias and Sao Luis do Remanso are designated as "agroextractive settlement projects," or

PAEs, which is a settlement model based on extractivism of forest products, while

Peixoto is a "colonization settlement project," or PDA, which is a settlement model based

on agricultural colonization (Cunha dos Santos, 2002; Stone, 2003).

The local associations in Porto Dias, ASPD (Association of Rubber Tappers of

Porto Dias), and Sao Luis do Remanso, ASSER (Association of Rubber Tappers of Sao

Luis do Remanso), are working with CTA (Center for Amazonian Workers), a local









conservation and development organization, as their principal support organization, and

APRUMA (Association of Rural Producers in Forestry and Agriculture) in Peixoto works

with EMBRAPA (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation), a national research

institute, as its principal support organization. All three associations' timber management

operations were certified by IMAFLORA (Institute of Forestry and Agricultural

Management and Certification) based on the FSC-approved Standards for Amazon dry

land forests. However, APRUMA's operation, which involves small forest management

units (approximately 40 hectares per household) and was originally designed as a

reduced-impact timber operation, was evaluated using the FSC's new SLIMF

Streamlined Procedures for Certification.

Methodology

Data for the three certified CFEs were collected through face-to-face, structured

interviews (Bernard, 2002), conducted from June to August 2005. Respondents included

community members participating in the CFEs (hereafter referred to as manejadores), the

principal support organization for each operation (the outside organization that has

played the most significant role in each community's forestry operation), and a donor

who has supported the certification of these operations. Interviews were conducted with

76% of the manejadores in Peixoto and 87% in Porto Dias. Those not interviewed were

unavailable for personal reasons, except one individual who refused to participate. In

Sdo Luis do Remanso, interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of six

manejadores from a total often who were managing for timber. This sampling scheme

was selected due to time constraints of the researcher and availability and accessibility of

the manejadores.









Regarding the principal support organizations, interviews were conducted with

three representatives of EMBRAPA (which works with the operation in Peixoto) and

three representatives of CTA (which supports the operations in Porto Dias and Sdo Luis

do Remanso). Finally, one representative was interviewed from a donor organization,

WWF, which has directly or indirectly assisted all of the certified CFEs in the state.

The structured interviews focused on how to improve the certification process for

CFEs, and centered on the following questions: 1) What were the most positive aspects of

the certification process? 2) What could the FSC, certifiers, principal support

organizations, local associations, and others do to improve the certification process for

CFEs? 3) What would you change about your CFE's experience with the certification

process if given the chance? and 4) What advice would you give other communities

considering certification?

Results

What Were the Most Positive Aspects of the Certification Process?

The most positive aspect of the certification process named by the manejadores

from all three operations was the learning that occurred during the certifiers'1 visits.

Specific issues about which the manejadores reported having learned from the certifiers

include refuse management, stream protection, the use of protective clothing for timber

harvesting and processing, and the forest management and chain-of-custody requirements

for certification. One manejador also stated that the certifiers sometimes bring



1 Since IMAFLORA is the only certifying organization the manejadores and principal support
organizations have worked with, they often referred specifically to this organization during
interviews. However, I have replaced certifierr" for IMAFLORA because the recommendations
for improving the process are relevant to all certifying bodies. Also, the term certifierss" refers
both to the certifying bodies, like IMAFLORA, and the professionals they hire to perform
certification assessments and annual audits of operations.









information about potential buyers. In addition, five manejadores pointed out that just as

they learned from the certifiers, the certifiers also learned from them. One explained that

this was important because the certifiers normally work with companies, but through

certifying CFEs they are becoming more familiar with this operation type. Finally,

another manejador said, "I like [the certification process] because we get to be known

and to know other people."

One representative of EMBRAPA highlighted the use of the FSC's new SLIMF

Streamlined Certification Procedures for the certification of Peixoto's operation as a

positive innovation in the certification process. He described the development and use of

these new procedures as "a great step." A representative of CTA said that certifiers'

observations and suggestions during the certification assessment and annual audits had

already led to improvements in the management planning and execution for the Porto

Dias and Sdo Luis do Remanso operations.

What Could the FSC, Certifiers, Principal Support Organizations, Local
Associations, and Others Do to Improve the Certification Process for CFEs?

Focusing on FSC and the certifiers, manejadores emphasized two areas for

improvement. First, they called on the FSC and certifiers to simplify the certification

process for CFEs. One manejador from Porto Dias specifically recommended that

certifiers simplify the language used in their communications with the communities and

that the FSC and certifiers eliminate standards that are inappropriate for smaller, less

intensive CFEs. Two manejadores, one each from Porto Dias and Peixoto, made specific

suggestions to reduce the required documentation and minimize bureaucracy in order to

reduce the requisite work load. Secondly, several manejadores recommended that the

certifiers make adjustments in how they interact with the communities. Specifically, a









manejador recommended that the certifiers speak with all of the manejadores during

visits, and not assume that one of them can speak for the rest. Furthermore, he suggested

that the certifiers work with the manejadores more as collaborators, instead of acting as

policing agents. He hypothesized that this would inspire the manejadores to open up

more and improve communication between them and the certifiers. Finally, several

manejadores in Porto Dias and Sdo Luis do Remanso expressed interest in having more

time to converse with the certifiers. One manejador from Porto Dias suggested that

continuous contact with and motivation by certifiers would improve the certification

process. Similarly, another Porto Dias manejador speculated that a greater presence by

the certifiers would increase the manejadores' compliance with the certification

standards.

Manejadores also reflected on what they could do to improve the process. One in

Peixoto emphasized the importance of good organization of the local association in

maintaining certification. He stated that his local association, APRUMA, should stay on

top of things in general and be sure to do everything correctly, "because," he said, "we

have to have everything in order to maintain certification." He further stated that

certification would be easier for APRUMA if all of the manejadores communicated and

debated more on certification. The rest (or majority) of the manejadores reported that the

process was fine or otherwise did not comment on how the process could be improved.

While the representatives of EMBRAPA did not make any suggestions for

improving the certification process, the CTA representatives made several centered on

FSC standards, the certification process, and capacity building. They recommended that

the FSC and certifiers develop less burdensome certification standards specifically for









CFEs. They advocated that certifiers first prioritize the standards most important for

CFEs, and treat the rest as recommendations. They also requested that they then

systematize the standards, especially those regarding monitoring, to simplify required

documentation. One representative specifically emphasized the need to simplify the

chain-of-custody requirements (which necessitate detailed documentation of logs and

sawn products), noting that they are too cumbersome for most CFEs.

Regarding the certification process, the CTA representatives recommended that the

certifiers: (1) simplify the technical language used during visits to the CFEs and in their

reports and (2) assess CFEs based on the capacity of the local association, not the support

organization. CTA believed that many of the conditions the Porto Dias CFE received

were beyond the capacity of the local association and increased the association's

dependence on outside assistance, especially for research. Upon successfully completing

the certification process, a CTA representative also suggested that plaques issued to

Brazilian operations should be in Portuguese.

CTA representatives recommended that the FSC and/or certifiers implement more

training, targeting several groups. First, professionals hired by certifiers to conduct field

assessments and annual audits need adequate instruction and applied experience before

working with CFEs. The CTA representatives were critical of the certifiers used in the

initial assessment of the Porto Dias operation for having limited experience with

communities. Second, local associations need more training to understand certification

standards and requirements. It is not enough to take copies of the standards to the field,

explained one CTA representative; rather, the FSC and certifiers should utilize videos









and posters. Third, training is needed [presumably for the manejadores and principal

support organizations] on how to market certified products.

The representative of WWF added several recommendations for improving the

certification process. He stated that if local certifiers were available, ideally in the same

state, it could significantly reduce the fees paid to the certifiers. As of August 2004,

employees of IMAFLORA, which is based near So Paulo, are conducting the initial

assessments and annual audits of the operations in Acre. If a local office could be opened

or professionals from the state were used as certifiers, savings in transportation costs per

assessment or audit alone could reach US$2,000. He further recommended that the

FSC's new SLIMF Streamlined Certification Procedures be consistently used by

certifiers when working with CFEs in the future to further reduce costs. He also noted

that high quality technical assistance is necessary for communities to become certified.

He contended that training local people to provide technical assistance is constructive,

but the need for additional assistance from outside, highly trained silviculturalists will

likely persist. Finally, he also cited improved government funding, fiscal incentives, and

credit opportunities for community-based operations as positive developments that will

help these operations with certification.

What Would You Change About Your CFE's Experience with the Certification
Process if Given the Chance?

One manejador in Porto Dias stated that if he could change anything about the first

time the operation was assessed for certification, the manejadores would have had more

internal discussions about certification. He also noted that the manejadores should have

discussed at greater length with IMAFLORA concerns about the operation and their

lengthy history of taking care of the forest, rationalizing that this might have reduced the









conditions the operation received. One manejador in Peixoto said the change he would

make would be that everyone in the community would be involved in certification and

they would pursue certification for all products that have an environmental impact (only a

very small percentage of residents of this large settlement area participate in the certified

forest management operation).

One EMBRAPA representative suggested that the costs of certifying the CFEs

could have been shared with the wood buyers. One also added that the cooperation

between the two sub-groups of manejadores involved in the project in Peixoto could have

been better during the certification process.

What Advice Would You Give Other Communities Considering Certification?

For CFEs contemplating certification, the manejadores in APRUMA emphasized

the importance of having a consolidated local association, including good organization,

maintaining respect among the members, and investing in the training of members to

more effectively benefit from certification. Being well informed about certification was

cited by manejadores from all three communities as important preparation for

certification, and specific suggestions included: (1) the FSC and certifiers should visit

communities to explain certification in detail, (2) interested associations should

participate in meetings with certifiers, and (3) association members should visit other

certified CFEs, especially when certifiers are present in these established operations. In

addition, a manejador from Peixoto recommended that upon gaining access to the

certification standards, associations should strive to bring their management into full

compliance. Once a CFE is engaged in the certification process, one manejador from

Porto Dias underscored the importance of discussing with the certifiers any concerns they

may have in order to minimize pre-conditions and conditions. Finally, one manejador in









Peixoto recommended that other CFEs persist in their efforts to get certified because it is

a great opportunity.

Two of the EMBRAPA representatives suggested that communities interested in

certification should foremost improve their organization. Another stressed that

certification is not for everyone, and for an association to get certified, they must make it

a priority. The representatives of CTA emphasized that community members understand

the costs and benefits of certification, the purpose of certification, what it implies, and the

steps in the certification process. They also emphasized that communities, prepared with

all of this information, should participate in the decision to become certified or not. One

explained that, in contrast, the manejadores in Porto Dias entered into the certification

process without understanding what they were getting into.

Discussion and Conclusions

Recommendations to the FSC and Certifiers

In this study, the manejadores and support organizations identified several ways in

which the FSC and certifiers could improve the certification process for CFEs. First, they

suggested a simplification of certification standards. WWF et al. (2001) report that

certification standards are excessively bureaucratic in general, and that their focus on

timber and industrial level operations is inappropriate for CFEs Further, Markopoulos

(2003) and Carrera et al. (in press) cite examples of communities having trouble

complying with excessively demanding standards and sometimes impractical requests

while constrained by limited technical and/or financial capacity.

Secondly, manejadores and their support organizations also noted that certifiers

should be better prepared to work with local communities. Alatorre (2003, in Fonseca, in

press) highlighted a lack of qualified professionals to implement community-focused









certification assessments and annual audits as one of the most important roadblocks for

CFE certification in Mexico. Likewise, Markopoulos (2003) and Carrera et al. (in press)

report specific cases of certifiers demonstrating a lack of understanding of local

conditions under which CFEs function, and being too subjective in their evaluations of

these operations.

Thirdly, certifiers need to be more accessible to the manejadores. WWF et al.

(2001) and Soza (2003) have highlighted the importance of improving the flow of

information to communities on certification. In our study, manejadores noted multiple

times that they were not communicating effectively with the certifiers, lamenting that

there was not enough time for discussing certification standards and conditions. In a

complementary way, several manejadores felt that more time spent with the certifiers

would also be of great benefit to the certifiers themselves.

Indeed, when asked what they liked best about the certification process, both

manejadores and their principal support organizations emphasized that they valued the

learning process the most. They appreciated receiving feedback from certifiers on

management practices and other aspects of the timber operations, and suggestions for

improvement. Similarly, they recommended that FSC and the certifiers provide more

training on certification and marketing to the communities and their principal support

organizations. They want to learn more. Madrid and Chapela (2003) report that

communities in Oaxaca and Durango, Mexico noted that they pursued certification to

improve their timber management operations to learn.

Recommendations to Communities

The manejadores and principal support organizations provided multiple

suggestions to other CFEs interested in pursuing certification. Both groups highlighted









the importance of having a well-organized local association. Madrid and Chapela (2003)

emphasized the value of such social capital for communities interested in certification. In

once again highlighting the importance of communication between communities and the

certifying bodies, both manejadores and their support organizations recommended that

other communities seeking certification should be well-informed on certification

standards and processes. Furthermore, manejadores urged community members to

discuss the certifiers' concerns directly with them to minimize corrective action requests.

Being well-informed and well-prepared was also highlighted by Thornber and

Markopoulos (2001) so that communities could specifically minimize financial costs and

risk.

Advances in Brazil

Brazil has made increasing its number of certified CFEs a priority. In addition to

national, regional, and local support to help communities to organize, meet certification

standards, and cover costs, Brazil has made several other important strides. First, three

certifying organizations have opened national offices in the country. Their presence

helps cut costs and involves more local professionals in the certification of Brazilian

operations. In addition, one of these certifying organizations, IMAFLORA, specializes in

certifying CFEs and has taken several notable steps to make the certification process

more accessible to small-scale operations (Andre Freitas, personal communication). The

measures include creating the Social Fund for Certification through which part of the

certification fees paid by industrial operations is used to offset the costs of certification

for communities, forming a Volunteer Auditors Bank of professionals who work as

certifiers at a reduced cost, and developing a booklet specifically for communities on

certification.









Second, the FSC-Brazil office has nearly completed the development of

certification standards specifically for Small and Low Intensity Managed Forests. These

were developed with input from representatives of CFEs, NGOs, and governmental

organizations (FSC Brazil, 2004).

Finally, several ways to assist in the marketing of certified forest products are being

innovated in Brazil. Brazil will host its second international FSC Certified Products

Trade Fair in 2006, which will also double as the first Latin American FSC Certified

Products Trade Fair. The first Trade Fair presented special opportunities for

representatives of the certified CFEs in Brazil to meet with buyers of certified products,

and the second promises to do so as well (CTA, personal communication). In Acre, in

particular, strong state government support for certification and marketing of CFE

products has been forthcoming. Acre is home to the Community Forest Producers Group,

which was formed in 2002 to help market the products of the CFEs in Acre, and helped

the certified CFEs in the state gain access to the Sdo Paulo market in 2003 and 2004.

It is hoped that the recommendations provided in this study will help inform the

FSC and certifiers' continued efforts to improve the certification process for CFEs in

Brazil as well as the rest of the globe. A wider application of certification in CFEs stands

to benefit communities, forests, and consumers.














CHAPTER 4
CONCLUSIONS

My research examined the perspectives of community members, principal support

organizations, and other stakeholders involved in certified community-based forest

enterprises (CFEs) in western Brazil on the negative and positive aspects of certification,

the relative importance of these aspects, and why the perspectives differed among

informants. It also identified specific suggestions from these actors on how the

certification process could be improved for CFEs. Two communities were involved in

the study of the contrasting aspects, and three communities (the same two plus a third)

were involved in the study of the certification process.

The positive aspects identified were similar across all informants, but the negative

ones varied greatly. While a wide range of negative aspects were identified, not all of

them were perceived to be important. The types of aspects that were perceived to be the

most important (or negative) pertained to the certification process and the economic

expenditures of certification. The specific aspects of most concern were certification

fees, increased dependence of communities on outside assistance, and elements of the

certification process itself. In contrast to the negative aspects, almost all of the positive

ones identified were perceived to be important. Overall, the types of positive aspects that

were perceived to be most important were economic and social. The most important

specific positive aspects overall were access to new markets, better prices, and

recognition of the CFEs.









There were two notable differences in the perceptions of these contrasting aspects

among the actors in the two CFEs involved in this part of the study. First, the principal

support organizations typically scored the negative aspects higher and the positive

aspects lower than the community members, perhaps because the support organizations

feel a greater burden of responsibility for the certification process while it is the

community members who receive more of the benefits. Second, the actors in one

community typically scored both the negative and the positive aspects higher than their

counterparts in the other community. This is likely related to the fact that the community

with the higher scores both had more difficulty with the certification process (and thus

typically scored the negative aspects higher) and perceived a greater range of positive

aspects to be more important. The latter is likely due to differences between the two

communities in livelihood strategies, motivations for implementing timber management,

and the influence of support organizations.

The informants interviewed agreed that the positive aspects of certification

outweighed the negative ones, and that they would recommend it to other communities.

Indeed, the economic benefits of certification being realized were perceived to be very

important. In fact, the higher price the CFEs are receiving due to new access to certified

wood markets in Sdo Paulo may be key to the economic viability of these operations

given the plethora of disadvantages, such as size and isolation, they otherwise face. At

the same time, the maintenance of market benefits may ultimately require indefinite

dependence of the CFEs on outside support due to the high costs of certification and

challenges of standards compliance. However, the FSC and certifiers are making

substantial efforts to render the process less cumbersome and expensive (e.g., the Small









and Low Impact Managed Forests Streamlined Certification Procedures), and Brazil is a

leader in this endeavor.

The recommendations made by the actors in all three communities of ways in

which the FSC and certifiers should improve the certification process for CFEs included

(1) simplify the certification standards and process for CFEs, (2) better prepare certifiers

to work with local communities, and (3) be more accessible to community members,

including the provision of more training on certification and marketing to communities

and their principal support organizations. The principal recommendations for other CFEs

interested in certification were (1) to have a well-organized local association, (2) to be

well-informed on certification, and (3) to discuss the certifiers' concerns with them to

minimize corrective action requests.

It is important to note two important enabling conditions that distinguish the CFEs

in this study from other CFEs globally, and perhaps have contributed to their success,

especially with regard to economic benefits: (1) membership in a regional producers

group, and (2) strong political, technical, and financial support from the state

government. If these conditions were to change, or if the differences in perspectives

revealed in this study among the actors in the CFEs were to lead to conflict, these CFEs

could encounter more difficulty in maintaining certification and access to higher price

markets.

Although as of August 2004 Brazil had only seven certified CFE operations,

widespread support and dedication exists in the FSC-Brazil office, certifiers, the national

and state governments, and non-governmental organizations to increase this number.









Therefore, the three certified CFEs examined in this study serve as important references

for the rest of the Brazilian Amazon, as well as the globe.

The specific negative and positive aspects perceived by the actors in the operations

in this study, reasons behind the differences in perceptions, and the conditions that have

enabled these operations to achieve relative success help to improve our understanding of

the application of certification in CFEs. In addition, the recommendations from these

pilot CFEs may help improve the certification process in Brazil and the rest of the globe.

A wider application of certification in CFEs stands to benefit communities, forests, and

consumers.
















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Shoana Humphries was born in Grass Valley, California, in 1974. She moved

around quite a bit during her childhood, and graduated from high school in Anniston,

Alabama. Shoana received her Bachelor of Science degree in natural resource

conservation from the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of

Florida. Before returning to the University of Florida to complete a Master of Science

degree in community forest management, Shoana worked for three years in forest

certification in the Southeastern United States and three years in community development

and conservation in Bolivia and Peru.