PEFC endorses national requirements for Trees outside Forests (ToF) certification in Netherlands and India; certification plays a key role in rural development, food security, poverty reduction

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October 9, 2023 (press release) –

Our national members for the Netherlands and India are the first to achieve PEFC endorsement for their national requirements for Trees outside Forests (ToF) certification.

That means that in the two countries, people and organizations with trees growing outside of forests can now achieve PEFC certification of their sustainable management practices.

While the definition of trees outside forests is similar around the world, their occurrence and function vary widely, calling for requirements that are tailored to national needs.

"Having the possibility to work with trees outside forests in certification allows even more potential to reflect the particular national context,” said Hubert Inhaizer, Technical Officer at PEFC International.

“Our Dutch colleagues emphasized society's need for environmental and social services of these areas in their requirements. India demonstrates that a self-standing certification system is relevant for trees outside forest in their country, ready to supply raw materials to global supply chains. I'm very proud to have these examples as pioneers within the PEFC alliance and we are looking forward to further national standards."

“In the Netherlands, half of the trees are standing outside of forests. In urban areas not many people go to the forest, so trees outside of forests are extremely important for them,” explained Marten de Groot, National Secretary of PEFC Netherlands.

“They are important from a community perspective, for cleaning and cooling the air, filtering water, and providing wood. Trees outside Forests certification can increase the number and diversity of trees and help intensify the relationship of people with trees.”

“In India, trees outside forests resources play a vital role in the timber production sector, contributing significantly to meeting the country's wood fibre needs. Currently, ToF resources are estimated to fulfil more than 85% of the industrial wood requirements,” said Abhilasha Guleria, Assistant Director of NCCF, our national member for India.

“A significant portion of the timber production from ToF resources comes from marginal and small landholders.”

Trees outside Forests certification was one of the innovative developments of the 2018 PEFC Sustainable Forest Management standard, and is now put into practice with the endorsements of the first national requirements.

Trees outside forests around the world

Trees outside forests are immensely important for rural communities around the world. Millions of people rely on this resource to provide them with food, materials, and their livelihoods. If managed sustainably, they can contribute to rural development, food security and reduced poverty – vital Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


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