CASE STUDY No 1 - BOLIVIA‟S NATIONAL FOREST
CERTIFICATION WORKING GROUP –
BOLIVIAN COUNCIL FOR VOLUNTARY FOREST CERTIFICATION (CFV)
During the past five years in Bolivia, significant institutional and legislative efforts have been
invested to promote sustainable forest management and forest certification. Currently, Bolivia
has the largest area of certified natural forest in the tropics. The following case study briefly
analyses the main factors that allowed Bolivia to take a lead in this increasingly important field.
The study describes the process in creating a National Working Group for forest certification in
Bolivia, and the development of local certification standards according to the internationally
recognised Principles and Criteria of the Forest Stewardship Council.
2.0 NATIONAL FOREST RESOURCES
Bolivia is a land-locked South American country encompassing a total area of 1,098,581 sq km,
48% of which is covered by forest (Robbins et al. 1995). Most of the forests occur in the
lowlands east and north-east of the Andes, and range from humid evergreen forests in the north
to dry deciduous forests in the south.
These diverse forest types harbour a significant portion of the country‘s rich flora, which is
estimated at about 20,000 species (Moraes and Beck 1992), as well as much of the country's
faunal diversity. Bolivia is one of the richest countries of the world with a vertebrate fauna
containing at least 319 species of mammals, 1,358 of birds, more than 220 of reptiles, 123 of
amphibians, and about 500 of fish (Ergueta and Morales 1996).
Indigenous groups in the northern Santa Cruz region rely on this rich biological diversity as
subsistence resources, utilising for example some 498 plant and 29 animal species (FAN-WCS,
1994), while timber companies concentrated until recently on the extraction and export of a few
valuable species, such as mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), "oak" (Amburana cearensis) and
"cedar" (Cedrela odorata) (López 1993).
According to figures from the forest industry, the potential sustained production of timber in
Bolivian forest is estimated at about 20 million cubic meters per year (see Tables 1 and 3 in
Appendix). This potential represents 18% of current tropical timber (logs) production in the world
(CFB 2001). Nevertheless, only a small portion of this potential is currently utilised. Annual
timber extraction is around 0.5 million cubic meters (Superintendencia Forestal 2000). About
40% of this production is exported and 60% is consumed within the domestic market (Viehbeck
pers. comm.). Export value of forest products in 1999 was US $109 million. About 68% of export
value corresponds to wood products and 32% to non-timber products, especially brazil nuts
(28%) (CIFOR/BOL 2000).
The annual deforestation rate in Bolivia averages 168.000 hectares (MDSMA 1995). Direct
threats causing deforestation include medium- and large-scale commercial agriculture, slash
and burn farming by subsistence peasants and large-scale cattle ranching in the lowlands
(Pacheco, 1998). Selective and mismanaged logging operations have been an indirect cause of
degradation and deforestation over last decades, since loggers have extracted almost all the
valuable trees and abandoned the devalued forestlands to farmers and ranchers (Jack 1999,
In Bolivia, the Government legally owns all forests including forests on private land, thus virtually
all property rights are technically in public hands (Jack 1999). A 1996 Forestry Law introduced
important changes in the forest regime, including a new institutional structure, new regulations
to enforce sustainable forest management practices, a forestland tax system, and a new
distribution of woodland use rights.
The Government also recently enacted the Supreme Decree No. 26075, declaring a Permanent
Production Forest Land Area, which encompasses 41.2 million hectares. About 26% of this area
is allocated for protection. Timber harvesting with sustainable forest management practices are
permitted in 30.5 million hectares (FAO-PAFBOL 2001). Currently, there is about 5.3 million
hectares of forest concessions granted to 84 timber companies (Superintendencia Forestal
2001). Local Social Groups (ASL's) are also being granted concessions in Municipal forests.
The Law dictates that timber extraction for commercial purposes requires forest management
planning not only in forest concessions, but also in private and community woodlands.
3.0 FOREST CERTIFICATION IN BOLIVIA
During last five years, voluntary forest certification has become an increasingly attractive option
for forest enterprises in Bolivia. As a result, 30 formal evaluation processes have been carried
out by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-accredited certification bodies in forest management
operations and wood processing plants in Bolivia. At the time of writing, nine Forestry
Management certificates have been awarded to forest management operations encompassing
985,260 hectares (see Table 5 in Appendix), which is the largest area of natural forest with FSC
certification in a tropical country. Moreover, Chain of Custody (CoC) certificates have also been
granted to 11 processing plants (see Table 6 in Appendix), which export a range of certified
products including garden furniture, flooring, doors and other products world-wide.
3.1 Factors that contributed to Forest Certification Development in Bolivia -
Certification has also become an increasingly important issue among public and private
institutions involved in forestry in Bolivia. Forest Certification in Bolivia has been influenced by
several factors including: new forest legislation, institutional initiatives, increasing market
demand for certified products and potential non-market benefits from certification. The following
section describes how these factors have contributed to the progress of forest certification in
3.2 Influence of new forest legislation - The largest single factor that has contributed to
the success of certification in Bolivia was the 1996 Forestry Law which essentially requires all
forest managers to practice sustainable forest management (Jack 1999). There is a significant
degree of compatibility between technical requirements in the new legislation1 and those
specified in certification standards (See CFV 1998, MDSP 1999). This compatibility has
facilitated certification for many forest operations in Bolivia as certification is currently seen as a
relatively small step away for law-abiding companies. Certification is also an incentive to comply
with the law (Jack 1999). Moreover, forest legislation provides an incentive for certification by
exempting FSC certified operations from periodical forest audits required by the Government
(BOLFOR 1997, MDSP 2001).
Forest legislation has also created some conditions that made certification more attractive to
forest companies as a marketing tool for lesser-known wood species. The new per-hectare
For instance, new regulations require forest operators to carry out forest inventories, management plans and annual harvesting
plans. Moreover, concessionaires cannot log riverine strips (from 10 m at each bank in non-erosive streams, up to 100 m in rivers
with erosion-prone or flooded banks), wetlands, or steep (> 45%) slopes, and may optionally set apart up to 30 % of the concession
for protection purposes without paying the per hectare fee for these areas. Landowners must also protect river banks, slopes and
wetlands which are considered permanent "ecological easements" and must be delimited in each "property ordering plan"(Rumiz y
forest tax2 and the requirement of restricting annual harvesting to only 1/20 of the total area 3
induced timber companies to reduce the size of forest concessions, to explore the use of a
broader range of wood species, and to look for marketing tools, such as certification, to
introduce alternative wood species in international markets.
3.3 Institutional promotion of certification - To a large extent, certification is thriving in
Bolivia because it has received significant backing from an array of institutions. Indeed, this is
one of the key lessons learned by the Bolivian experience: certification stands to gain a great
deal from a firm legal and institutional foundation (Jack, 1999). The following section describes
the role played by key institutions to promote FSC forest certification in Bolivia.
3.4 The BOLFOR Project - The role of the Sustainable Forest Management Project
(BOLFOR4) was fundamental as an initial incentive and further development of forest
certification in Bolivia. BOLFOR has actively participated in building the technical foundation of
the Forestry Law, which provided favourable conditions for certification (Lizarraga and
Helbingen cited by Jack 1999). In October 1994, BOLFOR also sponsored the creation of the
national FSC Working Group, the Bolivian Council for the Voluntary Forest Certification (CFV)
(Markopoulos 1998). BOLFOR also provided technical assistance to forestry enterprises
seeking certification in developing and implementing sophisticated forestry management
systems and developing international markets for certified woods, with a particular focus on
lesser-known species. In addition, BOLFOR has lent credibility to the certification movement
among a broad range of government, environmental and industry players in Bolivia (Jack 1999).
3.5 The Bolivian Council for the Voluntary Forest Certification (CFV) - The CFV was
created in 1995 as a non-profit civil association, to serve as institutional structure for
voluntary forest certification in Bolivia. It serves to develop national certification standards
according to the FSC Principles and Criteria, and monitoring its adoption and compliance.
The CFV also has the responsibility to solve conflicts over interpretation of the certification
standards and provide a dispute and resolution mechanism, as well as provide information
and technical assistance on certification issues at national and international levels. In
January 1998, the CFV was officially recognised by FSC as a Working Group.
According to an institutional study carried out by Jack5 in 1998, the CFV‘s contributions to the
success of certification in Bolivia have been threefold. First and most concretely, the CFV
provided an institutional platform for the development of national standards for wood
certification, and is currently doing the same for standards for Brazil nuts, the most important
non-timber forest product in the Bolivian Amazon. The CFV will continue to play an important
role in the certification of all these products by providing a forum for resolving conflicts and
revising national certification standards. Second, the CFV has served as an information
clearinghouse; they have organised workshops on everything from markets for certified timber
to the potential for certification in indigenous communities. Finally, like BOLFOR, the CFV has
done much to legitimise the idea of certification by creating a solid institutional backing for the
idea. (Jack, 1999).
Before the forestry Law, Bolivian concessionaires had to pay a stumpage fee based on the quantity of wood they extracted each
year. The Law introduced an area-based tax system, which dictates that forest managers must pay US$1 per hectare under
Regulations require that forest managers divide total forest area by the cutting cycle to determine the annual harvesting area. The
minimum cutting cycle is 20 years.
BOLFOR is US$20 million project that began in 1993 with funding from the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) and the PL480 Program under in agreement with Bolivian Ministry for Sustainable Development
and Environment (MDSMA). More information about BOLFOR can be found in the Web site
As a fellow of Thomas Watson Foundation, Jack analyzed efforts to promote sustainable forest management in several Latin
American countries, including Bolivia. His main findings about CFV are included in a paper titled "Certificación y Manejo Forestal
Sostenible en Bolivia”.
3.6 The CIMAR/Smart Wood Certification Program - This program was created in
1996 as part of the Smart Wood Network6, established by the Rainforest Alliance and
several independent non-profit organisations to promote and implement forest product
certification world-wide. The Centre for Research and Renewable Natural Resources
Management (CIMAR) is affiliated to the Gabriel Rene Moreno University (UAGRM). CIMAR
and Smart Wood (which is a FSC-accredited certification body) signed an agreement
designating CIMAR as Smart Wood‘s Bolivian representative. Thus, while CIMAR itself lacks
FSC endorsement, they were able to act under Smart Wood‘s umbrella (Jack, 1999).
From 1996 to early 2001, the CIMAR/Smart Wood Program has been in charge of the
organisation and execution of formal evaluations of forest operations applying for
certification in Bolivia. Evaluation teams are normally formed by Bolivian specialists with a
foreign team leader. Evaluation reports are sent to Smart Wood headquarters in USA for
further peer review and additional evaluation. This agreement has permitted Smart Wood to
build in-country capacity and reduce the costs of certification services, monitoring of certified
operations, as well as establish closer contact with potential applicants, and to facilitate
easier access to information. Until April 2001, all certified forests operations in Bolivia have
been evaluated using the CIMAR/Smartwood Program.
In addition to certification services, the CIMAR/Smart Wood Program has conducted workshops
aimed at educating a broad range of people on certification issues. These promotional activities
were enhanced with the execution of another CIMAR‘s certification project7 funded by the Dutch
government, aimed to facilitate the access of indigenous communities, local social groups
(ASL‘s) and timber companies to forest certification (CIMAR, 1999).
4.0 OTHER INSTITUTIONAL INITIATIVES
Besides BOLFOR, CFV and the CIMAR/Smart Wood Program, which played a major role in the
promotion of forest certification in Bolivia, other institutional initiatives that have devoted efforts
in the forest certification include:
4.1 WWF Bolivia
Since 1998, the Bolivian office of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has been
implementing a project funded by WWF Sweden to promote FSC forest certification in Latin
American communities. The project offers technical assistance in forest management,
marketing and organisational strengthening to community forest operations considering
certification. Financial support to partially cover evaluation costs by certification bodies is also
provided by this project to eligible applicants. In January 2001, WWF-Bolivia also co-ordinated a
Latin American workshop on community forest management, which took place in Santa Cruz.
4.2 The “Green Labelling” Project
The Green Labelling Project (Proyecto Sello Verde) began in 1993, with the participation of the
organisation the Indigenous Confederation of the Bolivian East, Chaco and Amazon (CIDOB),
and the support of the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV). The Green Labelling
Project was designed to promote the idea and, ultimately practice, of certification among
CIDOB‘s indigenous members organisations (Markopoulos, 1998).
The implementation of this project led to the certification of the Lomerío Community Forest
Management Project in 1996, which is owned and managed by 25 Indigenous Chiquitanos
communities, under the direction of their communal organisation CICOL (Inter-communal
More information about the SmartWood network can be find at the Web page: http://www.smartwood.org/network/index.html
The project ―Forest Certification as a tool to promote the forest management in Bolivia‖ funded by the Dutch Government was
linked to the CIMAR/Smart Wood certification Program by the same coordination. However, both the Project and the Program
finished operating by May 2001.
Peasant Central of Eastern Lomerío). Technical and financial support for this endeavour was
provided by the non-governmental organisation APCOB (Support for the Peasants-Indigenous
People of Eastern Bolivia) and latterly by the BOLFOR Project (Markopoulos, 1998; Semo,
1999). The Lomerío Project was the first forest operation that received FSC certification in
Bolivia. As a pioneer case, it has been the subject of several studies to better understand the
possibilities of commercial forest management and certification in community forestry (Semo,
The total area of certified forest under the Lomerío Project is 53,000 ha. The Lomerío Project
Community Forest Management Project forest managers are indigenous communities and are
the actual FSC certificate holders. The Lomerío Project is a vertically-integrated forest
enterprise which started in the mid 1980's and was designed to both generate material benefits
to 25 Chiquitano communities and secure legal recognition for indigenous territorial claims.
There are several opportunities and limitations that have been learned from the Lomerío Project
that communities may wish to consider before pursuing FSC certification. FSC certification
constitutes a significant challenge for the communities and the organisations that support them.
For example, communities unlike private enterprise have to simultaneously satisfy subsistence
and other social and cultural needs, as well as produce wood and /or non-timber forest products
Non-market benefits seemed to be particularly significant for the Lomerío Community Forest
Management Project. Markopoulos (1998) indicates that in the case of Lomerio certification has
promoted the redefinition of community roles and responsibilities in forest management and
enterprise administration, with greater emphasis placed on active community participation in
decision-making. Certification has also tended strongly to promote improvements in people's
livelihoods and relations, which has thrown light on the wider implications of a development role
The forest enterprise of Lomerío has also been an effective strategy to assure access to a
larger area of territorial occupancy (De Vries, 1998). Certification has helped Lomerío
communities in the process of gaining recognition of their legal rights to traditional land.
(Quevedo, 1998; GTF, 1999). Moreover, the certification of Lomerío has given an important
boost to forest management by indigenous groups in Bolivia as a whole. Not only the
Chiquitanos shown themselves as pioneers in sustainable forest management, but also the
experience gained at Lomerío should benefit other indigenous forest enterprises being
developed in lowland Bolivia (Markopoulos, 1998).
However, there is still a long way to go before indigenous communities are actively involved in
the standards development in Bolivia. The participation of the Social Chamber in Standards
Committees is weak in indigenous representation, and this is partly because their strategies for
land claiming seem to be more focussed on direct political pressure (such as marches and
protests) than in using commercial forest management and certification as a tool to demonstrate
the use of their land to Government Officials. There is also a lack of resources to cover their
travel expenses to meetings. Workings Groups such as CFV need to visit communities and
inform them about potential benefits as well as requirements of forest certification.
4.3 The Bolivian Amazon Forest Management Program (PROMAB) - PROMAB is an
initiative funded by the Dutch Government, which been helping CFV in co-ordinating the
standards committee for brazil nuts certification since 1998. The Program is based in the city of
Riberalta in northern Bolivia, where the production of brazil nuts is the main source of income
for the local population.
4.4 Market influence - The growing demand for certified forest products world-wide has
been the most important incentive for seeking certification in Bolivia, not only because
certification raised expectations about price premiums paid for certified wood in Europe and the
United States, but also because firms are looking for new market access opportunities.
As mentioned earlier, the new Bolivian legislation provided incentives for timber companies to
reduce the size of forest concessions, to explore the use of a broader range of wood species
and to look for marketing tools - such as certification - to introduce alternative wood species into
international markets. This trend to diversify species was reinforced by the increasing scarcity of
mahogany in Bolivian forest, due to overexploitation for more than 20 years (Rumiz y Aguilar,
Whereas logging companies previously harvested two or three species, they are now harvesting
ten or more and frequently leaving the formerly over-harvested species untouched. Finding
markets for these new species presents major challenges, since many are new to domestic and
international buyers alike. According to the managers and marketing specialists interviewed by
Jack (1999), buyers of certified wood are more likely to be open to new species and to products
that find creative uses for what was formerly considered waste-wood. Even if consumers will not
pay a premium, profit-seeking firms are expected to opt for certification to gain market share
and access to new markets (Jack, 1999).
Moreover, some timber companies see certification not only as tool to open new marketing
opportunities, but also as a strategy to maintain market access or to avoid loosing markets in
the future, since they anticipate certification will become a future requirement for exporting
timber (GTF, 1999).
4.5 Potential non-markets benefits.- Certification is also seen a source of potential non-
market benefits for different stakeholders. For instance, in late 1999, certified forest operations
that have been consulted about non-market benefits said that certification improved their public
image and raised international recognition about the good job there were doing in forest
management. (GTF, 1999). This is especially important for the local timber industry, whose
image has been traditionally associated with forest destruction in the past. Nowadays the
Bolivian Forest Chamber (CFB) promotes the fact that Bolivia is in the vanguard of tropical
countries in total certified area. Moreover, CFB is now looking for financial support for a project
aimed to assist some 40 timber companies to obtain certification in Bolivia (A. Bowles, pers.
Other potential benefits that have been associated to forest certification include an improved
position to attract potential investors and more technical assistance from public and private
institutions for forest management practices and marketing (GTF 1999).
5.0 THE CREATION OF THE BOLIVIAN WORKING GROUP
The following section provides a brief description of the process involved in establishing the
Bolivian Working Group, and developing national certification standards.
5.1 The Original Organising Committee
In October 1994, the Bolivian Government issued a summons for a national meeting to discuss
the feasibility and advisability of encouraging a process of voluntary forest certification8. The
meeting was attended by 75 representatives from public and private organisations involved in
ecological, social and economic forestry issues. The meeting concluded that independent forest
certification should be encouraged, in accordance with the philosophy and the Principles and
In early 1994, the BOLFOR project hired Richard Donovan, then a forestry consultant, to come to Bolivia and recommend
strategies for promoting forest certification. His visit culminated with the 1994 meeting that launched the comité impulsor, or the
organizing committee charged with designing and implementing a national certification system (Jack, 1999).
Criteria of the FSC. The meeting also established a committee to promote forest certification,
which later designated an Organising Committee9 for forest certification (CFV, 1998).
From the beginning, the Organising Committee focused on two activities: (i) selecting a
Standards Committee; and (ii) developing an autonomous institution responsible for overseeing
the development of national certification standards and for serving as a focal point for
information about certification (Jack, 1999).
5.2 The Bolivian Council for Voluntary Forest Certification (CFV)
In early 1995, with the financial and logistical support of BOLFOR, the Organising Committee
transformed itself into the first Board of Directors of an autonomous non-profit organisation
called the Bolivian Council for Voluntary Certification (commonly referred to by its Spanish
acronym CFV). CFV was created as a non-profit civil association, with the mission of promoting
environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically viable forest management in
Bolivia, according to the FSC Principles and Criteria. CFV was created with the following
institutional objectives (for more detail see CFV Statutes in the Appendix):
To develop national certification standards, in accordance with the FSC principles and criteria.
To monitor and oversee the application and fulfilment of the certification standards in the
To guarantee the credibility of the Bolivian Voluntary Forest Certification System.
To be a link between the public sector and civil society in the field of voluntary forest
To help local producers in the marketing of certified forest products.
To provide technical assistance and training in topics related to forest certification.
To promote sustainable forest management and certification
Formally recognised as a FSC Working Group in 1997, the CFV replicates the structure of FSC,
meaning it is governed by a board of nine directors composed of equal numbers of
environmentalists, logging companies, and social interest representatives. The CFV
membership elects a Board of Directors at annual meetings. It is run from a head office in the
city of Santa Cruz by an Executive Director and one full time administrative assistant. The CFV
has currently 150 members with environmental, social and economic interests, including
individuals, a range of institutions, and timber companies.
During its six years in operation, CFV has received important financial support from several
donors, including the BOLFOR Project, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation,
German Agency for Technical Co-operation (GTZ), W. Alton Jones Foundation, Forest
Stewardship Council (FSC), WWF-Bolivia, and the Dutch Government.
6.0 DEVELOPING NATIONAL CERTIFICATION STANDARDS
This section presents general procedures as well as key achievements and difficulties faced
during the development process of the National Forest Certification Standards.
6.1 The Importance of National Standards
The development of national certification standards in Bolivia is significant for several reasons.
First, the resulting national standards are sensitive to local social, economic and ecological
realities in a way that the externally generated standards could never be. Second, the process
was an important mechanism for cultivating the support of logging companies, local
communities and environmental advocates for the notion of certification. The participatory
nature of the standards development process brought representatives from each of these
The members of the Organizing Committee were: John Nittler, Amado Olivera, Víctor Chuvé, Lincoln Quevedo, Rudy Guzman
and Mario Escalier.
groups to the negotiating table and gave them partial ownership of the certification idea. Thus,
the development of national standards transformed certification from something imposed from
without to something uniquely Bolivian. Finally, and more broadly, the process itself provided an
important space for normally divergent interests to achieve consensus about the highest and
best use of Bolivia‘s forest resources (Jack, 1999).
6.2 Achievements of the National Working Group
From 1994 to 1998 CFV focused on the development of National Standards for Certification of
Forest Management of Wood Products in Lowland Bolivia. These standards were officially
endorsed by FSC in early 1999, making Bolivia the first country to address standards
endorsement preconditions in the FSC system. (Vallejo, 2000). From early 1998 CFV has also
devoted efforts to develop national Standards for Certification of Forest Management of Brazil
nuts (Bertholletia excelsa), which is the most important non-timber forest product in the Bolivian
Amazon. The final draft of standards for brazil nuts is currently being submitted to FSC for
6.3 General procedures of the Working Group
The general procedure for developing standards in Bolivia can be divided into three stages:
First stage: Creation of the Standards Committee
In the case of the Standards Committee for wood products, it was formed by the original
Organising Committee, in October 1994. Members of the Organising Committee nominated
candidates for the Standards Committee on the basis of their professional reputation, with the
idea that much of the credibility of the standards would flow from the credibility of the Committee
members. The Committee included foresters, wildlife ecologists, anthropologists, sociologists,
and managers of timber companies with significant experience in their fields10 In keeping with
FSC requirements for national standards processes, the composition of the Standards
Committee was designed to insure that the interests of all those effected by certification were
represented (Jack, 1999).
The process for developing Standards for Brazil nuts started with a workshop in the city of
Riberalta11 in February 1998. During this workshop a Committee for Brazil Nut Standards was
formed. The criteria to select members were similar to that of selection for wood product
standards. Entry of new member is decided by the CFV Board.
Second stage: Defining a conceptual framework for the standards and developing the first draft
In the case of the standards for wood, BOLFOR contracted Antonio Andaluz, an environmental
Lawyer, to develop a conceptual framework for the process and facilitate the first few meetings
of the Standards Committee. The following principles were proposed as part of the conceptual
framework for the Bolivian standards. These principles have proven essential to eventual
compromise regarding the final form of the standards.
Principle of legality, which states that the "essential goal" of certification is to promote
full compliance with national laws and international agreements.
Principle of gradual change, which admits that good forest management will be
achieved over time and by way of a gradual process.
„Precautionary Principle‟, which dictates that forest managers cannot invoke scientific
uncertainty in order to perpetuate activities believed to have grave or irreversible
For a list of current Committee members for brazil nuts and Wood products see Tables 4A and 4B in the Appendix.
Riberalta is the main industrial and exporter center of shelled Brazil nuts in Northern Bolivia.
Principle of best available technology, which requires that logging companies use
"the most environmentally recommendable technologies," within the limits of
In March 1995, the Standards Committee met for two days in Santa Cruz, and came up with a
first draft of the national standards. The first draft was important because it allowed the
Standards Committee to adopt the conceptual framework that has guided the entire process of
standards development in Bolivia. Specifically, this draft established that logging must be
environmental appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable. The move to state it
formally and explicitly in the indicators helped to establish and to disseminate these key notions
in Bolivia. Finally, this first draft was significant because it generated a great deal of feedback,
much of it critical, from reviewers in Bolivia and around the world (Jack, 1999).
Third stage: developing final drafts
The Standards Committees have consistently worked to formulate subsequent draft of the
standards following the FSC guidelines (―FSC Guidelines for the development of national /
regional standards for forest management‖). The general procedure to get the final draft
includes the following:
a)Every draft was distributed to forest companies, scientists, environmentalists, advocates
of social causes in Bolivia, and experts in other countries. Comments received were
discussed by the Committees and revisions to the standards were made where
b)Advanced versions were field tested by certification bodies. Results of field test were
taken in account for next drafts.
c)Harmonisation process with other certification standards in Amazonian countries was
explored, before presenting the final draft to the CFV Board for approval.
d)CFV Board of Directors monitored the process and approved the final draft before it was
sent to the FSC for endorsement.
e)The Standards Committee held meetings to address FSC preconditions and conditions to
6.4 Achieving Consensus between Committee Members
All decisions in Standards Committee meetings were achieved by consensus. This is probably
one of the things that worked best with Standards Committees. The following factors contributed
to reach consensus:
The neutral but highly knowledgeable facilitator structured a sound conceptual framework
for the process, and created an atmosphere of negotiation.
The participation of scientists gave rise to basic vision of how to manage forests. This
scientific consensus was largely immune to attack from economic interests, who did not
have access to scientific arguments to bolster their position. Thus, to some extent the
job of the standards committee was seen as simply articulating a body of applied
CFV served as neutral environments dedicated to sustainable forestry. This meant that the
process‘ organisers did not have a vested interest in anything other than its success. In
the eyes of one committee member at least, this environment fostered co-operation and
All those involved started with the premise that certification would ultimately be in their best
interests. To the representatives of indigenous people, certification offered recognition
and a place at the negotiating table. To businesspeople, certification offered the
prospect of markets. To environmentalists, certification represented a way of promoting
good forestry, and therefore a way of checking deforestation.
The professionalism of participants led to fewer clashes based on pure self-interest. In
other words, the committee members did not see the standards process as a forum for
self-advancement or posturing.
All participants in the process shared a willingness to try to understand the reality of their
The FSC Principles & Criteria also provided a clear framework for the process, and set firm
parameters for minimum acceptable levels of environmental impact and corporate
responsibility. This was especially evident in the case or certification standards for wood
products. In this case, the Committee did not achieve significant progress, until early
1997, when the Standards Committee restructured the standards to conform with the
FSC Principles & Criteria. Members of the Standards Committee report that this
restructuring was necessary in order to ensure eventual FSC approval of the norms
6.5 Main difficulties during standards development and solutions found
According to Richard Mancilla, a member of the Standards Committee, one of the main
problems during the initial Committee meetings was the lack of common understanding
or perception on the concept of ―sustainable forest management‖. The further adoption
of FSC Principles & Criteria and the Forestry Law as framework helped reduce the
debate on this issue and permitted the Committee to focus on building local indicators
and adapting the FSC Principles & Criteria to local conditions (Mancilla, pers. comm.).
Although social interests were represented mainly by social scientists, weak participation of
grass root organisations, indigenous representatives and small holders has been always
a problem. As a result, some weaknesses in the standards were identified regarding
small-scale operations (GTF, 1999). Possible explanations for reduced participation in
the social chamber ranges include lack of understanding or interest on forest
management issues, difficulties to deal with the rather highly specialised terminology of
the standards and lack of logistical support to assist to the meetings, especially for those
representatives who do not live in the city of Santa Cruz or Riberalta. There is a clear
need to strengthen the Social Chambers in Standards Committees, but no support could
be found to improve on this.
The Standards Committee grappled with the appropriate level of detail to include in the
standards that relate to forestry management practices. Some (new) participants found
difficulties in differentiating ‗Criteria‘ from ‗Indicators‘ or determining the practical
implications of certain indicators. Increasing field experience through practical training
improved performance in individual members. Harmonisation meetings with other
National Initiatives have also permitted a fruitful exchange of experience and better
understanding on technical aspects of indicators building. Closer guidance from FSC
Secretariat was also useful.
Sometimes the response from the public to the drafts distributed for comments was low.
Organising workshops for public consultation has improved the feedback.
In the case of Bolivian Standards for wood products, harmonisation process with other
standards in Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador has been stopped for lack of funding.
FSC Principle 9 has become a particularly difficult issue in Standards Committee meetings,
because the concepts involved in this Principle and the implications for forest
management are not well understood.
7.0 CONCLUSIONS AND LESSONS LEARNED
Based on the experiences of the Bolivian Working Group, the following lessons were learned:
Harmonise certification with Forestry Laws. Events in Bolivia suggest that certification
works best as a compliment to, not a substitute for, sound regulation. Nothing in Bolivia
suggests that the economic incentives offered by certification would be sufficient to
compel a large number of profit-seeking firms to re-engineer their forestry practices.
When the Law and the market ask for the same thing, however, firms begin to take
Make certification „local‟. Making certification ‗local‘ means developing and customising a
national certification standard and gaining ownership of it. Local standards and local
certification capacity make for a certification system attuned to local ecological,
economic and social realities. When developing a local standard, look for an unbiased
institutional basis, a skilled neutral facilitator, and highly qualified committee members.
Find institutional backing for the certification in order to gain credibility, to distribute
information, and perhaps most importantly, to co-ordinate the search for markets for
Win the support of all players (environmentalists, loggers, and communities) for the
certification idea by showing how certified forestry serves their interests (if indeed it
Consider non-market benefits - The case of Lomerío Forest Management Project shows
that certification can bring several non- market benefits to community forest enterprises,
despite facing several limitations including weak economies of scale, lack of managerial
skills, and limited capacity to bear market risks. Close co-ordination of FSC Working
Groups with other institutions interested in community forestry issues can help to better
identify opportunities and limitations of certification to local communities and to design
more appropriate strategies to approach them and to promote their involvement in
Understanding the amount of time required - Developing Bolivian certification standards
for timber-yielding management operations has been a six year process. Although
standards were endorsed by FSC, the role of CFV still continues to be important to
comply with FSC conditions and recommendations to improve the standards, including a
harmonisation process with Brazilian, Peruvian, Colombian and Ecuadorian standards.
Periodic revision and adjustment of standards will also be an important activity for the
Bolivian Working Group as well as developing certification standards for non-timber
forest products. However, lack of funding has become an increasing binding constraint
to carry out these and other activities.
Promote forest certification as a win-win alternative to existing unsustainable practices
- The success of certification as a conservation tool hinges on its ability to promote
sustainable forest management as an alternative to deforestation for cultivation and
ranching. If sustainable forest management is to truly conserve forests, it must be
economically viable and ecologically sustainable. While sustainable forest management
has historically had difficulties on both counts, experiences in Bolivia suggest that
certification may indeed have something valuable to offer.
The adoption of FSC Principles & Criteria and forestry legislation as a framework
helped reduce debate over issues related to forest management and permits the group
to focus on building local indicators while adapting the FSC Principles & Criteria to local
conditions (Mancilla, pers. comm.). It also helped with the revision process and eventual
approval by the FSC Secretariat.
Develop a long term funding strategy - High dependence on short-term financial
donations made it difficult to carry out medium and short term planning. It is necessary to
find effective strategies to assure sustained financing for FSC Working Groups such as
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES
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Final). BOLFOR. Documento técnico No. 13/95. Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Bolivia. Documento
BOLFOR. 1997. Reglamento de la Nueva Ley Forestal (D.S. No. 24453, del 21 de Diciembre de
1996). Ed. El Pais. Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
Cámara Forestal de Bolivia. 2001. Plan Estratégico para el Desarrollo del Sector Forestal de
Bolivia. Proyecto CFB-01/99. Prepared by: STCP Engenharia de Projetos Ltda. Curitiba/PR -
CFV. 1998. Estándares Para la Certificación del Manejo Forestal de Productos
Maderables en la Tierras Bajas de Bolivia. Consejo Boliviano para la Certificación
Forestal Voluntaria. Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
CIMAR. 1999. Certificación Forestal. Boletín Informativo del programa de Certificación Forestal
CIMAR/Smart Wood. Año1. Dic. 1999. Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
Ergueta, P. and C. de Morales (eds.) 1996. Libro rojo de los vertebrados de Bolivia. Centro de
Datos para la Conservación, La Paz, Bolivia.
FAN-WCS. 1994. Plan de manejo Reserva Vida Silvestre Ríos Blanco y Negro. Fundación
Amigos de la Naturaleza and Wildlife Conservation Society, Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
FAO-PAFBOL, 2001. Boletín informativo. Proyecto "Apoyo a la coordinación e implementación
del Plan de Acción Forestal para Bolivia". Boletín N°1. Enero-Marzo de 2001. La Paz, Bolivia.
GTF. 1999. Oportunidades y limitaciones para la certificación forestal de empresas indígenas,
ASL’s y pequeños productores campesinos. Grupo de Trabajo Forestal con Pueblos Indígenas
(GTF). Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
Jack, D. 1999. Certificación y Manejo Forestal Sostenible en Bolivia. BOLFOR. Documento
técnico 79/1999. Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
Lizarraga, I., and Helbingen, A. 1998. El proceso social de formulación de la Ley Forestal de
Bolivia. Bogor: CIFOR.
López, J. 1993. Recursos forestales de Bolivia y su aprovechamiento. Cooperación Técnica
Holandesa, La Paz, Bolivia.
Markopoulos, M. 1998. The impacts of certification on community forest enterprises: a case
study of the Lomerío Community Forest Management Project, Bolivia. IIED-Oxford Institute.
MDSMA. 1995. Mapa Forestal. Memoria Explicativa. Ministerio de Desarrollo Sostenible y
Medio Ambiente. Secretaría de Recursos Naturales. La Paz, Bolivia.
MDSP. 1999. Normas Técnicas para la elaboración de instrumentos de manejo forestal
en propiedades privadas o concesiones con superficies mayores a 200 hectáreas
(Resolución Ministerial No. 249/99). Ministerio de Desarrollo Sostenible y Planificación.
Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
MDSP. 2001. Resolución Ministerial No. 008/2001. Ministerio de Desarrollo Sostenible y
Planificación. La Paz, Bolivia.
Moraes, M., and S. Beck. 1992. Diversidad Florística de Bolivia, Pages 73-111 in M. Marconi,
Ed. Conservación de la Diversidad Biológica en Bolivia. Centro de Datos para la Conservación,
La Paz, Bolivia
Pacheco, Pablo. 1998. Estilos de Desarrollo, Deforestación y Degradación del los Bosques en
las Tierras Bajas de Bolivia. CIFOR-CEDLA-TIERRA. producción CID, serie 2. Bosques y
Sociedad No. 2. La Paz, Bolivia.
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Boliviano para la Certificación Forestal Voluntaria (CFV). Año 2, No. 1. Junio 1998.
Robbins, E.; R. Kenny, and W.F. Hyde. 1995. Concesiones forestales y la Política Industrial
Forestal en Bolivia. BOLFOR, Santa Cruz. Documento Técnico 11/95.
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conservation in transition. (in press.)
Semo, P. 1999. Reactivando el Proyecto Sello Verde. Boletín informativo del Consejo Boliviano
para la Certificación Forestal Voluntaria (CFV). Año 2. No. 2. Diciembre 1999. Santa Cruz,
SIFOR/BOL. 2000. Estadísticas de Exportación de Productos Forestales-Gestión 1999.
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Superintendencia Forestal. 2001.Estado actual por departamento de las concesiones forestales
en tierras fiscales, al 31 de Diciembre de 2000. Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.
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Table 1. Potential Timber (logs) Sustained Production in Bolivia
PRODUCER AREA STOCK TOTAL MAI** SUSTAINED
REGION (million of (m3/ha) STOCK (m3/ha/year PRODUCTION
hectares) (millions of m3 ) (millions of m3/year)
Amazonia 6.1 15.4 93.9 1 6.1
Preandino- 2.8 20.4 57.1 1 2.8
Guarayos 2.9 14.7 42.6 1 2.9
Choré 1.1 25.0 27.5 1 1.1
Chiquitania 4.4 14.8 65.1 1 4.4
Bajo Paraguá 2.7 11.4 30.8 1 2.7
TOTAL 20.0 15.9 317.0 --- 20.0
* Main commercial species only
** Mean Annual Increment
Source: Cámara Forestal de Bolivia (CFB), 2001.
Table 2. Forest Types in Bolivia
REGION GENERAL FOREST TYPE FOREST AREA (million of
Amazon Tropical lowland moist and seasonal 22.2
Chiquitania Tropical mid-altitude 7.5
Chaco Tropical lowland dry 10.1
Andina Tropical high altitude 13.7
Source: (Jack 1999)
Table 3. Wood Stocks in Permanent Production Forest in Bolivia (Dbh> 20 cm)
Producer Region Area E1 E2 E3 E4 E5 E6 Total
(Natural Forests) (million of m3/ha m3/ha m3/ha m3/ha m3/ha m3/ha m3/ha
Amazon 8.80 2.13 21.92 16.70 14.45 33.72 26.62 115.54
Chiquitania 6.30 3.55 23.63 7.92 0.64 7.20 0.45 43.39
Guarayos 4.20 0.45 24.99 10.42 3.03 6.04 2.23 47.16
Amazonic Preandino 4.10 2.18 30.62 14.76 7.77 15.77 5.99 77.09
Bajo Paraguá 3.80 1.20 16.84 9.67 6.30 11.17 5.71 50.89
Choré 1.60 0.68 43.55 18.81 12.79 8.35 4.34 88.52
Total 28.80 --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Source: Cámara Forestal de Bolivia. (Bolivian Forestry Chamber, 2001).
E1= Very Valuable species E2 = Valuable species E3= Low value species
E2= Species with potential value E5= Unknown value species E5 = Non timber species
Table 4. Members of the Bolivian Standards Committees
4A.- National Standards for Certification of Brazil Nuts Forest Management.
Gerardo Amutari (Social Chamber) Federación de Campesinos (Peasants Federation in Northern
Julio Aue (Economic Chamber) Cámara de Exportadores del Noroeste (Norwest Exporters
Rafael Balderrama (Economic Chamber) Amzonas-Manutata (One of the biggest Brazil nuts exporter
enterprise in Riberalta)
Jorge Beltrán (Economic Chamber) Independent consultant (worked in Amazonas – Manutata
René Boot (Environmental Chamber) Programa Manejo de Bosques de la Amazonia Boliviana
(PROMAB). (Forest Management Program of the Bolivian
Oscar Chavez (Economic Chamber) Asociación de Beneficiadoras de Almendra del Noroeste
(ABAN)- (Norwesthern Brasil nuts Processing Plants
Néstor Cortez (Social Chamber) Federación de Zafreros. (Brazil nuts Harvesters Federation)
Boris Durán (Economic Chamber) Servicio Holandés de Cooperación Técnica (SNV-Riberalta)
(Dutch Technnical Cooperation Service in Riberalta)
Jhon Leigue (Environmental Chamber) PROMAB
Oscar Llanque (Environmental Chamber) PROMAB - Universidad Técnica del Beni (UTB)
Samaria Murakami (Environmental PROMAB
Nelsy Piluy (Social Chamber) Federación de Fabriles ( Brasil nuts Industrial Workers
Casta Quete de Soza (Social Chamber) Federación de Fabriles ( Brasil nuts Industrial Workers
Jose Luis Santivañez (Environmental Museo de Historia Natural (Natural History Museum)
José Torrico (Environmental Chamber) Universidad Técnica del Beni (local State University in
Jaap Wever (Economic Chamber) SNV-Cooperativa Agroindustrial el Campesino (SNV &
Peasants Agroindustrial Cooperative in Riberalta)
Dora Zuazo (Social Chamber) Federación de Zafreros (Brasil nuts Harvesters Federation)
Bolivian Standards Committee
4B.- National Standards for Certification of Timber-Yielding Forest Management.
Nils Hager WWF-Bolivia
John Nittler Sustainable Forest Management Project (BOLFOR)
Lincoln Quevedo Museo de Historia Natural (Natural History Museum)
Damián Rumiz WCS & Natural History Museum
Eduardo Sandoval Superintendencia Forestal (Forest Superintendency)
René Boot Programa Manejo de Bosques de la Amazonia Boliviana
(PROMAB). (Forest Management Program of the Bolivian
William Cordero Sustainable Forest Management Project (BOLFOR)
Bonifacio Mostacedo (BOLFOR) Sustainable Forest Management Project (BOLFOR)
José Carlos Herrera (BOLFOR) Sustainable Forest Management Project (BOLFOR)
Leónidas Vega Independent consultant
Juan Pablo Baldivieso Pando Sustainable Forest Management Project(PANFOR)
Rodolfo Peralta (PANFOR) Pando Sustainable Forest Management Project(PANFOR)
Richard Mancilla (BOLFOR). Sustainable Forest Management Project (BOLFOR)
Mario Arrien Independen consultant
Plácido Semo Independent consultant
Rosario León FAO-FTTP
Roberto Balza Independent consultant
Víctor Chuvé Apoyo al Campesino del Oriente de Bolivia (APCOB)
(Support to the Peasant of eastern Bolivian
Amado Olivera Apoyo al Campesino del Oriente de Bolivia (APCOB)
(Support to the Peasant of eastern Bolivian
Bernardo Rozo Independent Consultant
Pablo Antelo Timber Enterprise La Chonta
Alberto Arce Timber Enterprise CIMAL
Freddy Peña Smartwood
Fernando Velarde Wood Furniture Enterprise (IMR)
Gerd Resnikowski Amazonic Development Center (CADEFOR)
Damir Matkovic PROMABOSQUE- National Forestry Chamber.
Table 5. Certified Forest Management Operations in Bolivia
EMPRESA CERTIFIED FOREST DEPARTA AREA CERTIFICATE CONTACT
MANAGEMENT - (Ha) NUMBER
CICOL/ APCOB Tierras Comunitaria de Santa Cruz 53,000 SW/ FM-CoC-010 Dr. Jurgen Riester
Origen(TCO) – Lomerío Tel: 591-3-542119
CIMAL e IMR Concesiones San Santa Cruz 154,494 SW/ FM-CoC-036 Sr. Cristóbal Roda
Velasco Miguel y Velasco Tel: 591-3- 460404
La Chonta Ltda Concesión Lago Rey Santa Cruz 120,000 SW / FM-CoC-050 Pablo Antelo
La Chonta Ltda Concesión La chonta Santa Cruz 100,000 SW / FM-CoC-093 Pablo Antelo
Amazonic Propiedad Privada Santa Cruz 30,000 SW / FM-CoC-058 Ing. William Rojas
Amazonic Tel: 591-3-470567
San Luis SRL Concesión San Luis Beni 60,588 SW / FM-CoC-116 Roque Torrez,
Tel: 591- 3-476264
CINMA -San Concesiones Cerro Santa Cruz 119,200 SW / FM-CoC-086 Roberto Sainz
Martín SRL Pelado y Velasco Tel: 591- 3-421259
CINMA Ltda Concesión Pando 166,228 SW / FM-CoC-123 Roberto Sainz
CINMA –Pando Tel: 591- 3-421259
CIMAL e IMR Concesiones Lago Verde Santa Cruz 181,750 SW / FM-CoC-142 Fernando Velarde
Guarayos y CIMAL Guarayos Tel: 591-3- 460404
Table 6. Bolivian Enterprises with Chain of Custody Certification
ENTERPRISE CITY CERTIFICATE CONTACT
JOLYKA Bolivia SRL Cochabamba SW-COC-021 Lic. Lydia Vrsalovic
Industria de Muebles Roda (IMR) Santa Cruz SW-COC-034 Ing. Fernando Velarde
Tel: ++591- 3-463805
CIMAL Ltda. Santa Cruz SW-COC-060 Franciso Xavier Roda
Tel: ++591- 3-463805
BOLHOLZ S.A. La Paz SW-COC-197 Ing. Alfredo Illanes
Evergreen Bolivia SRL*** Santa Cruz SW-COC-300 Ing. Pablo Antelo
Empresa Agroindustrial Santa Cruz SW-COC-284 email@example.com
La Chonta Ltda Tel: 591-3-421213
Ultratech Doors (UTD) Cochabamba SW-COC-277 Lic. Jeanette Martínez
Aserradero San Martín SRL Santa Cruz SW-COC-304 Roberto Sainz
Tel: 591- 3-421259
Muebles Hurtado Santa Cruz SW-COC-409 Alfonso Ugalde
Carpintería Don Fernando Santa Cruz SW-COC-488
Tecnocarpintería San Pedro Santa Cruz SW-COC-508 Juan José Ric Rivera