SFF Project Summary

Project Title: Toward small forest grower FCS certification the development of an online forest and farm record system
Grant No.: 11/048

Contact Details

Name of Applicant Group: New Zealand Farm Forestry Association
Contact Person: Patrick Milne
Address: 75 Raddens Road
Christchurch 7692
Telephone 1: 03 3126599
Telephone 2:
Email: patrick@cypress.co.nz

Project Details

Status: In Progress
SFF Funding: 150,000
Total Project Funding: 215,000
Proposed Start Date: Jul-11
Proposed Finish Date: Jul-14
Region: National
Sector: Forestry
Sub-sector: Farm Forestry
Topic: Business sutainability
decision management and support
post harvest management

Project description

Environmental Certification has not been widely adopted by the Small Forest Grower as it is prohibitively expensive and excessively complicated. This project will address both these issues through the development and implementation of an easily accessible FSC Group Certification Scheme. Group Schemes are promoted by FSC for Small Forest Growers, those with less than 1000ha, through the use of a SLIMF Standard (Small Low Intensity Managed Forests Standard).

The issue/opportunity

The issue: Currently in NZ, FSC environmental certification is prohibitively expensive and excessively complicated for the majority of Small Forest Growers. This has resulted in very few Small Forest Growers obtaining FSC Certification. FSC International recognises that the Small Forest Grower is disadvantaged with its regular National Environmental Certification Standard and as such allows countries to develop their own specific small grower or SLIMF Standard.

The opportunity: Over the last eighteen months New Zealand has developed a SLIMF Standard which has been incorporated into a Draft NZ National Plantation Standard. The latter is now with FSC International for ratification. An opportunity now exists for The New Zealand Farm Forestry Association to develop a Group Certification Scheme for its members based on the SLIMF component of the new NZ National Plantation Standard. The development of a low cost, easily understood and practical FSC Group Certification Scheme will ensure NZ Small Forest Growers have the opportunity to access key export and domestic markets.

The context/background

Environmental certification is a strategic market access issue for the New Zealand Forest sector – with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification the most popular and widely accepted certification process for forest products in use today. . To date the Small Forest Grower has not had a realistic certification opportunity and as such is at risk of being excluded from many future markets. Future expectations are that FSC Certified forest growers will retain market access and market share. It also seems likely that there will be restrictions on market access and or discounting of forest products that are not FSC Certified - this has already happened, albeit sporadically, in a number of regions in New Zealand resulting in a loss of revenue for the non certified forest grower and in particular the small forest grower.


This project will consist of four sub-projects:

Throughout the project Dr Chris Goulding will regularly provide an auditors perspective on developments to ensure that the Group Scheme and its components are able to be audited and verified satisfactorily.

Latest Update

Very good progress has been made over the past four months in the development of this record system with the objectives of this SFF project have mostly been completed. Version 1 of an online forest & farm record system has been developed which will allow users to record the fundamentals of their forest management plan which underpins FSC Certification. This online application (record system) is currently still in a beta version (pre-deployment) while last minute glitches are dealt with – however it’s envisaged that it will be deployed in the very near future


This project is back on track and rapid progress has been made following a revision during November / December 2012. Over the last three months, Scion’s business analysts and software developers have developed a completely new ‘front end’ to the MyLand framework which now stores the baseline information required for FSC certification. This allows the user to:


Much has happened with this project since my June report and discussions it in Wellington. Scion has now agreed to support this project for the next 3 years by providing access to software licenses, web hosting & data storage and software support – and in addition it will contribute upwards of $90k towards software development. The reason for Scion supporting this project is that they see it adding to the functionality of MyLand – I think it is a ‘win win’ situation for both the NZFFA & Scion


Progress towards development of this software has continued to be very good. While the project is relatively straight forward, it has become apparent that it is somewhat larger than originally envisaged. With this in mind the project management committee have put a ‘temporary hold’ on further development of it pending a review of its scope.


While it’s still very early days for this project, progress on it has been very good. An early decision was made to contract Atlas Technology Ltd as the lead software developer. Work to date has concentrated on developing a ‘decision tree’ format to implement the National Plantation Standard into a web-based decision support tool