The Quang Tri Smallholder Forest Group has become the first group of small forest owners in Vietnam to receive the internationally recognized standard for responsible forest management.
Spanning 118 forest households living across five villages in central province of Quang Tri, the group collectively achieved the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificate for 317 hectares of acacia.
The model demonstrated by the Quang Tri farmers shows that group certification was an effective solution for both Vietnam's forests communities and the country's burgeoning furniture industry, the World Wildlife Fund said in a press release.
The certification process is a part of WWF's Linking Trade Demand and Sustainable Forest Management project, which aims to provide market linkages between production forests in Vietnam and the growing number of international companies with responsible purchasing policies.
The vast majority of Vietnam's 2.5 million hectares of plantation forests are managed by forest smallholders, most of them poor rural households.
The fund said the demand for increasing demand for FSC certified wood from Vietnamese furniture exporting companies has increased dramatically since the late 90s, and almost entirely met by expensive imports from overseas.
Vietnam's strategy is to have 30 percent of the country's 4.48 million hectares of production forests receive relevant FSC certification over the next decade.