FSC Portugal is represented by the Associação para uma Gestão Florestal Responsável (AGFR), an organisation created in 2007 with the sole objective of providing local representation and regulating the FSC forest certification scheme in Portugal. Nowadays, it has 2 full time staff members, working on the Normative framework, business development, communication and training.
© FSC PortugalPortugal has more than 390,000 ha of FSC-certified forest, representing around 12% of the forest area in the country. Due to the property regime (around 400,000 forest owners and 6.5million holdings), the focus for FSC Portugal is engagement with smallholders, which represent the majority of the ownership pattern.
In the last two years, a variety of workshops have been held with more to come. These have been providing information for smallholders, covering such topics as: good practices on soil preparation, High Conservation Values, and work and safety conditions of forestry operations.
This presence on the ground has been shown to be fundamental in the development and engagement of the stakeholders with the system.
Considering that responsible forest management should be promoted and valued, FSC Portugal has also directed its work towards consumer awareness, through partnerships and new TSP clients.
© FSC PortugalA more recent project has been with Alentejo Regional Winegrowing Commission, promoting FSC through the use of certified material in their own products. These include: cork stoppers, paper labels, wood barrels, board, and wood boxes. The project also covers the promotion of FSC within the producers and bottlers, in the scope of the Sustainability Plan developed for the region.
There is also a campaign with a coffee brand using sugar packages (printed on FSC paper) to communicate the importance of responsible forest management and the use of FSC-certified products. A project to be developed in the next few years is the evaluation of the impact of FSC certification on a national level in its environmental, economic and social aspects.
Other areas for development include:
- fostering a more effective communication of the benefits of forest certification;
- assessing the resilience to fires, exotic species, pests and diseases;
- evaluating the conservation of habitats and the conditions of fauna and flora;
- estimating productivity; and
- assessing the impact on climate change.
© FSC PortugalFurthermore, FSC Portugal is continuing to work to:
- ensure contact with central administration/government by encouraging commitment to FSC certification in areas under their management;
- maintain the promotion of FSC certification with smallholder groups, working together with FSC International to adapt the system to national circumstances;
- strengthen the link with FSC International, consolidating the recognition of FSC Portugal as a national partner with a high level of participation in the international debate, both in the global strategic guidelines and in the revision of FSC rules and tools;
- increase the visibility of the FSC brand in important target markets or with high potential for the Portuguese forest;
- promote the communication of the FSC brand with civil society and the final consumer, stimulating new communication channels;
- maintain a regular process of recruiting new members, promoting balance in the representation of the three chambers (environmental, economic and social);
- maintain the use of the TC 145 as a platform par excellence for the standardisation of forest management within FSC Portugal, increasing the synergies and taking advantage of resources already existing within the scope of the activity of this Technical Commission for Standardisation;
- promote, in partnership, education and awareness initiatives with a view to increasing responsible citizenship.
Recently FSC Portugal published a new version of National Forest Stewardship Standard, in accordance with new FSC International Generic Indicators and an application for approval of the National Risk Assessment for Controlled Wood was the last achievement in terms of the Normative Framework.
If you would like to know more about FSC Portugal, please visit www.pt.fsc.org
A version of this article appeared originally in the May/June 2018 edition of Forest Matters.