Resource Details

Indigenous community-based forestry in the Bolivian lowlands: some basic challenges for certification (Perspectivas para la certificación forestal comunitaria en comunidades indígenas de las tierras bajas de Bolivia)

Literature: Journal Articles

De Pourcq, K., Thomas, E. & Van Damme, P. 2009, "Indigenous community-based forestry in the Bolivian lowlands: some basic challenges for certification", International Forestry Review, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 12-26.

Contact Info

Corresponding Author:


  • Department of Third World Studies, Ghent University, Universiteitstraat 8, 9000 Gent, Belgium
  • Laboratory of Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture and Ethnobotany, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, 9000 Gent, Belgium


International Forestry Review

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  • This article reviews timber certification for community forestry activities in Bolivia. The authors present the primary conditions for certification as: 1) socio-economic stability (transparency); 2) economic viability (the primary problem being that certification usually does not result in a direct economic benefit); 3) community understanding of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification process.
  • Bolivia competes with Brasil as world leader in natural tropical forest certification, but most certified area is industrial concession. Recent years have seen a trend of FSC certified forests being comprised of large forestry companies - community forest operations have trouble obtaining certification and usually need significant assistance from NGOs or donors.  
  • Conclusions were drawn from the literature and from case studies in community forest operations in Bolivia, where two community forests recently lost their FSC certification status. Difficulties surrounding certification of community forestry operations (CFOs) include:
    • Costs of certification (evaluations and audits) are high ($2,000-$8,000)
    • Certified community forest operations rarely obtain a price premium (if present, premiums are usually captured by retailers higher up in the supply chain and not the suppliers)
    • Environmentally conscious markets are usually not in the home country of the CFOs, but rather in the US and Europe
    • Requirements of international markets for certified timber products are very demanding (certified wood AND high quality, reliable supply)
    • Certified CFOs are often characterized by a constrained information flow (CFOs by nature contain many members / timber providers, and it is sometimes difficult for local people to understand the technical requirements of certification
    • CFOs risk donor dependence, because they are often needed to shoulder the high certification costs 

Geographical Region

  • Andean Region
  • Ecosystems

  • Tropical Wet Forest
  • Country

  • Bolivia
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