Sustainable Non-timber Forest Products Will Appear in Kyrgyzstan
The Kyrgyz Association of Forests and Land Users (KAFLU) obtained FSC certification for the smallholders to develop the sustainable use of natural resources and entrepreneurial activities in forestry and land use in Central Asia. This is a unique case on the local market as it includes not only FCS-certified forest products or fair trade or pesticides refusal, but all of these components that enable to produce organic products from sustainable managing forests.
The FSC certification program for NTFP was launched in Kyzyl-Unkur, Kara-Aliminsk and Toskol-Altinsk forest units in 2015. The FSC certification and sustainable forest management were promoted in the region by KAFLU. This project was supported by FSC CIS Regional Office, FSC Smallholder Fund, WWF-Russia, NEPCon, independent consultants and other stakeholders.
“WWF-Russia supports this project as this is the first real step towards the development of FSC certification in Central Asia and it is strategically important for the formation of an environmentally responsible forest sector in the CIS. Certification of walnut forests in this region will create a precedent for the entire region, as – for the first time in CIS – a certified site will not provide wood, but food and non-timber products. We suppose that the first FSC certificate for NTFPs will attract other regional NTFPs producers’ and consumers’ interest to FSC certification and provide additional economic incentives for them to manage Asian forest, which have significant environmental and social value, in a sustainable way,” says Nikolay Shmatkov, WWF-Russia Forest Program Director.
It has taken considerable effort since 2015 to obtain the first FSC forest management NTFP certificate in the region as there was no FSC standard in Central Asia before. First thet temporary FSC standard for Kyrgyzstan was developed by NEPCon experts, and then the training system for leaseholders was launched with active support of consultant.
“This project is crucial for Central Asia and Caucasus countries as an example of a great learning experience and improves access to certification in the region. This is truly a success story as there are no nearby markets with high demand and a few years ago there was no awareness among the general public, business and government. The way members have been involved in this project has been truly inspirational and FSC CIS Regional Office has supported wherever possible and will facilitate further process development. We hope this first experience will help to be a fruitful start of FSC certification for smallholders with focus on these products and ecosystem services,” says Mariam Mattila, Regional Market Development Manager for CIS Countries.
Headline photo: (с) Sovetbek Kenzhebaev
All the photos are provided by FSC CIS Regional Office.