FSC in Asia Pacific: Best practices for forest management

Asia Pacific is home to some of the world’s most diverse and important forests. With our strong and growing presence in the region, FSC is helping to preserve Asia’s forests and ensure positive environmental, social and economic impacts for thousands of ecosystems and billions of people.

Indonesia_Sungai Ratah

National Forest Stewardship Standards

National Forest Stewardship Standards (NFSS)

FSC’s forest management (FM) certification affirms that a forest is managed in a way that preserves biological diversity and benefits the lives of local people and workers, while ensuring that the forests also remains economically viable. There are ten principles to which any forest operation must adhere before it can receive FM certification; these cover a broad range of issues, from maintaining high conservation value to community relations and workers’ rights to monitoring environmental and social impacts.

FSC’s National Forest Stewardship Standards (NFSSs) have been developed for individual countries based on our globally-consistent International Principles and Criteria. The NFSSs help allow industry players adopt practical, actionable and responsible forest management practices that allow them to fulfil the growing market demand for certified forest products. 

NFSSs are developed through a collaborative and consultative process that is, owned and managed by between six and nine in-country representatives in a chamber-balanced structure of economic, social and environmental perspectives, who are supported by FSC staff members. These individuals form a country’s Standard Development Group (SDG) which ensures that FSC’s Principles and Criteria are upheld through relevant, country-specific indicators and verifiers – ensuring bottom-up, grassroots input at the country level while maintaining globally-consistent standards. To understand more, please click here

Currently, there are 12 SDGs in the Asia Pacific region, including Australia, China (Chinese only), India, Indonesia, Japan (Japanese only), Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam; with Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Sri Lanka in the preparation stages of forming SDGs. Before a country’s NFSS is put in place, an Interim National Standard (INS) acts as a vehicle for forest managers to enter the FSC system and join ethical and responsible forest trade.

As of early 2022, AustraliaChina, India, IndonesiaJapanMalaysiaNepalNew ZealandPapua New Guinea, and Vietnam have an NFSS in place.

To find out how you can get involved in developing an NFSS for your country, please contact the FSC Asia Pacific Regional Team or your local FSC representative.


Regional Forest Stewardship Standard for Smallholders

Regional Forest Stewardship Standard for Smallholders (RFSS)

Smallholders in the Asia-Pacific region manage very small portions of land, typically less than 20 hectares. Often serving as a primary source of income, these small tracts of land generally comprise agricultural land interspersed with some forested areas. Smallholders often experience a high rate of poverty and low levels of education, creating complications when they wish to access the FSC system.

To support those who wish to join our system, FSC has developed a Regional Forest Stewardship Standard (RFSS) for Smallholders specifically for the Asia-Pacific region. The RFSS focuses on the requirements that best address the risks inherent in the region. 

The RFSS and its self-assessment checklist were field-tested in India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam with the support of certification bodies working in these countries, with the participating auditors needing to know the local language, culture, and forestry context. The field test results helped to improve the regional standard and verify its comprehensibility.

Work began on the RFSS in 2018, with the field tests completed in September and October 2019. In November 2019, the project team launched a public consultation to gather worldwide stakeholder input on the RFSS, with a second consultation conducted in mid-2020. The RFSS was conditionally approved in December 2020. To read more about the RFSS, please click here.


For more information on the project in the Asia Pacific region, please contact Thesis Budiarto, FSC Asia Pacific Policy Manager and topic lead for the regional simplified standard at t.budiarto@fsc.org