Regional Forest Stewardship Standard for Smallholders

Regional Forest Stewardship Standard for Smallholders (RFSS)

Smallholders in the Asia-Pacific region typically manage a very small portion of land, typically less than 20 hectares, which serves as one of their main sources of income. Small portions include agricultural land interspersed with some forest areas. A high rate of poverty combined with low levels of education make it very complex for these smallholders to access the FSC system.

To support them, FSC is developing a regional forest stewardship standard for smallholders to implement in the Asia-Pacific region. This standard has been devised to focus on the requirements that are most relevant to address the risks in the region. An easy-to-read version of the standard will also be developed, to facilitate its understanding. 

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

The field tests were completed in September and October 2019. In November 2019 the project team launched a public consultation to gather worldwide stakeholder input on the regional standard, aiming to submit a finalised version of the standard and associated tools to the FSC policy and standards committee in early 2020.

To read more about the regional standard, 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