Forest Certification in Guatemala

Submission date
Carrera, F.
Stoian, D.
Campios, J.J.
Morales, J.
Pinelo, G.
Book Chapter
Version number

The forest certification process in Guatemala has largely been confined to the forest concessions in the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR), representing 95% of the country's certified forest area. Forest certification in Guatemala is unique in that certification in accordance with the scheme of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is mandatory for both communities and industrial groups to obtain and maintain forest concessions in the MBR. Unlike other countries where forest certification has almost exclusively been advanced in a joint effort between non-governmental organizations, development projects and the private sector, the case of Guatemala shows the important role state agencies can play as agents backing the process. Despite initial resistance, the National Council for Protected Areas (CONAP) as the state agency in charge of the Maya Biosphere Reserve permitted forest management in the MBR provided that it would be subjected to FSC certification. Sixteen forest management units covering close to half a million hectares of broadleaved forests have since been certified, including 10 community concessions, 4 cooperatives or Municipal Ejidos and 2 industrial concessions. In addition, two forest plantations outside the MBR have been certified. Notwithstanding the considerable progress towards sustainable forest management in Petén, economic benefits as returns to certification investments have generally not lived up to expectations. Moreover, forest certification has yet to gain momentum outside the Maya Biosphere Reserve where the process is voluntary. This requires a concerted effort between the various stakeholders involved, thorough cost- benefit analysis in each individual case, and the development of integrated supply chains of certified forest products. Towards this end, it is suggested to set up learning alliances between key actors in the certification process, such as managers from certified management units and processing plants, non-governmental and governmental organizations, certification and accreditation bodies, donor agencies, research institutions, and business development service providers.

Subject Keywords
Forests, Certification
Forest Type
Natural Forest
Forest Zone
Effective date
Review year
Alternative Strategy
Alternative Type
Pest Type
Alternative Trial
Coverage Country
Active Ingredient