Certification of community-based forest enterprises (CFEs): Limits of the Brazilian experiences
The Brazilian Amazon is one of the world's largest tropical forests. It supplies more than 80 % of Brazil's timber production and makes this nation the second largest producer of tropical wood. The forestry sector is of major importance in terms of economic production and employment creation. However, the Brazilian Amazon is also known for its high deforestation rate and for its rather unsustainably managed timber resources, a fact which puts in the balance the long-term future of the forestry sector in the region. Since the mid-1990s, with strong support from World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the number of tropical forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has significantly increased. This is especially true for projects sponsored by large scale companies. The number of community-based forest management projects has also increased. Certification of community-based forest enterprises (CFEs) was initially a goal for the sponsors and community members. Certification is viewed as a way to reach alternative timber markets. In Brazil, the state of Acre has the highest concentration of CFEs certified by FSC. Most of them have been implemented with the support of environmental NGOs and public funds. Environmental NGOs strongly defend the advantages of certification for communities; however, in reality, this option is not that advantageous. Despite all the efforts, the number of participants in each project remains low. Why is this occurring? In this paper, we analyze the underlying motives of a few individual's participation in CFEs certification projects. We aim to present and discuss some factors that shape the success of CFEs and their later certification. The results are based on surveys conducted in two certified CFEs in the state of Acre.